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WE LOVE TYPOGRAPHY Letters: most people just read them, but designers doodle, draw, sketch, kern, color, scale, plan, and make them. The words on a page or on a street sign or in a sketchbook matter to us, not just because of what they say but because of how they look. That’s probably why it’s endlessly fun to sketch typography as part of design process. Type is an essential part of any finished project, and sketches can be refined and incorporated into something bigger. But sometimes it’s just as fun to leave them alone in all their gritty glory. So let’s draw some letters.

All the work on the next pages is custom type by Carrie A. Donovan

TYPE SKETCHES Keep in mind that these are rough sketches, experiments with type. Any of them could be pushed further to create more refined pieces, but these are the “first steps” in creating custom typographic treatments.

PENS, BRUSHES, INKS, & PAINTS Another way to play with type is through experimenting with different media, like brush and ink, watercolor, and the plethora of pens every designer seems to have. Working with and sharing typography done the “old fashioned way” is invigorating and a needed break from digital work.

FROM SKETCH TO SUN PRINT Typography can lend itself to any medium, really, any medium. One medium that is very process-oriented is sun printing.

STEP 1 Sketching ideas and creating elements of the design on the computer.

STEP 2 Cutting the sun print elements out of paper. Some elements are printed based on a computer design and then cut out; others are freehand.

STEP 3 Arranging elements on light sensitive sun paper and exposing it to sunlight to create the print.

STEP 4 Rinsing the print in water. The blue color intensifies as the print dries.

FROM SKETCH TO ALBUM COVER This kids’ album cover project required a fun, hand-drawn style, so the sketches from the beginning stages needed to retain some of their grit but also look finished. Tracing paper was a great help in reworking the concepts while still keeping that hand-drawn feel.

FROM SKETCH TO SERIES Even in projects that are mostly vector illustration, sketches are a huge part of the process. It always helps to start on paper. For the drop cap series, the rough pencil sketches informed the way the letters took shape in Illustrator.

Š 2016 Carrie Donovan

It's A Process 03: Playing with Type  

This series of journals is about defining and jump-starting design process. © Carrie Donovan, 2015

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