Mr. Michael Delahunt

Graphic Design 1 & 2
The 1st
Designing with Type" Assignment:
Design Your Name

A letterform is "The particular set of shapes seen in each individual letter of our alphabet, every one of them having characteristics that distinguish it from all the others in order to retain legibility."

The letterform of every "R" for instance must be different in a very particular way from every "P."

Type is

"In typography, a letterform produced electronically or photographically, most often with a computer. Before computers took over this function in the late twentieth century, type was a small block of metal or wood bearing a raised letter or character on the upper end that leaves a printed impression when inked and pressed on paper. This heritage has given us a huge vocabulary of terms we use in reference to type."


A typeface or font is

"the design of a full set of letterforms, numerals, punctuations and other characters unified by consistent visual qualities."

Typefaces are frequently grouped as of various distinctive kinds: as serif, sans serif, script and decorative.

Modifications in a typeface can create design variety while retaining the essential visual character of the face. These include variations in weight (light, medium, bold), width (condensed, regular, extended), and angle (roman or upright, and Italic), and other elaborations (outline, shadowed, decorative, etc.)



Historical typefaces:




see thumbnail to leftDaniel Hopfer (German , c. 1470-1536), Alphabet of Capital Roman letters with metaphorical ornaments, 15th-16th century, etching, 15.6 x 22.6 cm (image) inches, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA. See ornament.




see thumbnail to rightWilliam Morris (English, 1834-1896), Initial Letters, c. 1840s, designed for Love is Enough, a book printed by Morris' Kelmscott Press, each letter 45 x 45 mm, U of Florida.



see thumbnail to leftEric Gill (English, 1882-1940), Inscription 'Ex Divina Pulchritudine', 1926, Hoptonwood stone relief, 30.6 x 45.7 x 3.8 cm, Tate Gallery, London. This Latin inscription of capital letters is an aphorism meaning, "The beauty of God is the cause of the being of all that is."






see thumbnail to right16 capital letters of a late 20th century font.




Contemporary examples:



see thumbnail to rightCommonworld, letters that are distressed and partly missing. Available from See implied and lacuna.





see thumbnail to leftModell Envelo, a font with a jittery high-tech mood. Available from





see thumbnail to rightSnowgoose Back Front, a two-color font suggesting a European chilly mood. Available from





see thumbnail to leftYokkmokk, a nearly illegible font with a playful science-fiction flavor. Available from



Resources concerning typography:



Along with visuals (drawings, photographs, diagrams, patterns, textures, etc.), type is a major ingredient in graphic design. Type can also be the visual itself, and can express the entire message. By designing the type to look cramped, to follow a curve, to break apart in some way, or to take on any of a zillion other characteristics can help to communicate a message in much more than a stricly verbal way.




Your assignment is to type your first and last name in a variety of ways, arriving finally at three designs that visually convey your personality:


Deadline: end of class January 25.
Print these two pages. Label them with your full name and class period on the front side of each page, and hand them in by the end of class Friday, January 25. One fifth of the points you can earn are for turning an assignment in by its deadline.





 Return to Graphic Design Course



ArtLex has thousands of articles about art terms used in art production, art criticism, art history, aesthetics, and art education. I created ArtLex for my students, to help them increase their understanding of art concepts, readings, writings, and conversations. Some of the hyperlinks found on the pages about my elementary art program will take you to ArtLex articles about terms on these pages.


I have taught art at three elementary schools in the Paradise Valley Unified School district (northeastern Phoenix and north Scottsdale) from 1986-. I began publishing information about my classes on the Web in 1995. I taught at Pinnacle High School during the 2001-2002 school year, and posted these lessons that year. I will maintain them as time permits.



Please send your comments to

Copyright © 2001 -Michael Delahunt, M.F.A.