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Pick two letters of the alphabet. Use your initials if you like. Create nine 3×3 inch compositions where you combine the two letters in a dynamic way. Explore scale, repetition, and rotation within the composition, but be careful to not stretch, squish or otherwise distort the original forms. Each design should employ two unique typefaces, and be made a single vector form with whites cut from it (using the Pathfinder tool).

above designs by: Shinhei Kang, Sofya Karash, Ryan LeCluyse, Michelle Stidham and Nick Brooks



Here are a few ads in the vertical half-page format. I made the first for a modular typeface I designed, and quickly modiļ¬ed some former student work for the others (Shinhei Kang and Ryan LeCluyse, respectively).


From your highly pixelated beginnings, create refined vector outlines in Illustrator. The above examples were designed by former student Ece Ciper. Explore diagonals and curves, snap to grids, and remember that the fewer points on a path will yield the smoothest profile. Below is a sample “S” I made showing potentially ideal placements for points around a letterform.



Here are some images for your interest/inspiration. The images are by (clockwise from top left: Denis Brown, Brody Neuenschwander, Monica Dengo, Brody again, and myself).

And here’s a humorous one from an actual gravestone (just to reiterate yours need not be erudite or grave):


Button Alphabet

Here is an alphabet made from our letter exercises with my grandmother’s buttons. Nicely done all… and hopefully the experience will have been to the benefit of your forthcoming designs.