Design Cross-Training Exercises, #1: DIY Type

Dig into the first of 10 design exercises featured in the Summer issue of HOW Magazine and share your creations on Twitter or Instagram with #DesignXTraining. 


Design Exercises: DIY Type

Time limit: 60 minutes

You probably know a designer with a typeface obsession. You may be that designer, scrolling endlessly through well-made typefaces online and finding the thinnest of excuses to use one in a project. If you can’t find the typeface you need, you can always make it yourself. But what if you were asked to craft a custom typeface, and were limited to just a few shapes to construct it?

You’ve been asked to create a typeface to help promote a conference for the Maker Movement, which is for do-it-yourself inventors, designers, makers, artists, hackers and tinkerers. Your client handed you a box of items and wants you to use their shapes as the basis for the typeface.

Click to download the image as a pdf

Take a look at the items here, and create a typeface whose letterforms are constructed solely from their shapes. You can use multiple items across any number of letterforms, but you can’t have a single letterform made solely from multiples of one item.

BUILD ON THIS

Ask someone to fill a box with at least 12 random items and give it to you. Make a second typeface from the shapes of those items.

CROSS-TRAIN

Incorporate half of the letterforms from your first typeface with half from the second.


In the Summer issue of HOW, David & Mary Sherwin present a series of 10 essential design exercises to keep your creativity agile, energetic and powerful. Each one is paired with skill-building next steps and creative cross-training activities to help you work out different parts of your brain. Why is creative cross-training important? As Sherwin writes,

“Cross-training taught me a different sort of discipline as a designer. You can work on improving specific skills that come up as part of projects: Arranging elements in a page spread, crafting a compelling identity or icon, laying out a responsive website, or animating graphics for a video. But your biggest gains will come from design cross-training—moving through a variety of different design exercises that help you build and extend your skills.”

Keep an eye out at howdesign.com/xtraining for more exciting design exercises, and check out all of them in HOW Magazine!

COMMENT