Lesson #4: Selecting Lettering


Students will be able to:
"Treat" text as image
Use type creatively and expressively
Design lettering in the spirit of their symbols
Different font styles from magazines & newspapers, pencils, New York Times, Teen Magazines, reproductions of posters with fonts, design sketchbooks
Display fonts from magazines and newspapers. Let's take a look at how designers use lettering.
  • What type of magazine/newspaper is this? ( New York Times or Time magazine, for example)
  • How would you describe the style of the lettering for the title? What does it look like?
  • How is it different from the lettering used for the title of this magazine? ( Seventeen, for example)
  • Would the lettering of the New York Times be appropriate for the Teen magazine? Why?
  • What is meant by a "font"?
  • Why are there so many fonts on your computer to choose from?
  • Why might you want to change the way text looks?
  • What type of lettering would you use for a Valentine's Day card?
Distribute several words and several different styles of lettering. Each table should get the same set of words and lettering styles. Challenge students to work together to place a word next to the appropriate letter style. Glue the pairs on a piece of paper. Discuss the decisions made. Possible words could be: romantic, expensive, goofy, delicate, strong, feminine, young. Make sure the students have some obvious letter styles that would match the words you give them. These words should be printed by hand, to allow the students to select from a wider variety of styles. Ask one person from each table to post their chart. Briefly discuss the results of the game, and why some tables may have made different choices. (Artists can interpret words and styles differently - there is no one correct answer.)
Challenge students to change the style of their text to express the spirit of their theme. They can use collaged materials, handmade text, or text from magazines. Display samples to choose from: drawn by hand; produced mechanically: stenciled or transferred, designed and cut out from a variety of papers; collaged from newspapers or magazine in their sketchbooks.
  • What can you vary when doing this? ( style, size, spacing, placement, and repetition)
Show the World advertisement from the NYC Public Library http://www.summerreading.org/ and discuss how the designer has used text and image.
At home or in school, use your computer to study different fonts. Print out several that you think would work well in your poster and bring them in for our next class. Print them large enough so that you can easily see the details that make them different from other styles. (Community and Cultural Resources)