VDES15738 Project 1: Letterform Construction, Classification and Use

PROJECT BRIEF: Students are to explore the influence of the human hand on letter construction, type anatomy, type classification and type selection to gain a greater under-standing of letterforms and their impact on a design. This project provides a foundation for thoughtful typeface selection in interaction design projects.


The following image is a scan of the variations of calligraphy that were practiced in order to achieve the final version of “Hamburgefonstiv”.

Personally, I found that the letter “f” was the most difficult letter to write, in addition to experiencing some slight difficulty with the letter “g”. The strokes of the stem on the “H” are inconsistent because I struggled to maintain continuous pen pressure while writing.


The following image is a comparison of the initial scan of “Hamburgefonstiv”, the outlined letterforms constructed in Adobe Illustrator and the filled-in letterforms.

The feedback that I received regarding my initial attempt to design the letterforms was positive and there were very minimal changes that needed to be made.

The following image is a comparison between the initial filled-in letterforms and the revised letterforms.


While looking through the available word options in the project brief, the words “balance” and “mirror” caught my attention. I immediately associated “balance” with small caps, sans serif fonts and modernism, while “mirror” made me think of reflections of words.

In the variations for “balance”, I experimented a lot with letter spacing, as well as font weights. Trade Gothic Extended and Acumin Variable Concept were appropriate fonts for this word, so I tried many designs with them and adjusted the tracking. For “mirror”, I experimented with various shades of text colour, ranging from black to dark gray to light gray, as well as the concept of mirroring to reflect the chosen word.

The final design that I chose to set as my expressive type design was the second variation for “balance”.


Overall, I thought that this was a very interesting project because it was the first time that I was doing something like this. I had never used calligraphy to create my own mini font based on my writing, nor had I really thought about how type could be used to add meaning. The process of actually designing the letterforms in Illustrator was tedious but definitely worth it in the end because I was able to create something that I was happy with. Unless you specialize in typography and font design, you never really think about how fonts are used to make readability easier or to express an emotion – we just see letters as letters and that’s all.