Assignment: talk through fonts

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For our first assignment in my GRC 41 class, the instructor asked us to create an expressive word for each of 10 words. No images, no color. Black and white only. And as an added challenge: We could only use the Helvetica family of fonts, with any weight or variation within the typeface. We designed the words on 10 different 8.5 by 11 inch artboards, so we were encouraged to think big. I saw the assignment as “talking through fonts,” and I thought it was a great way to get the class started on the first night.

I’ve always loved fonts, so I particularly enjoyed this assignment. It reminded me of when I first started designing, as a typesetter at the old Fresno Bee Neighbors publications in 1994-95. We literally had only a dozen fonts, and the advertising reps were always pushing us to deliver “something different.” That was a great crash course for me in stretching my font use, and this assignment plugged me back into that time.

Footnote: Check out this Helvetica blog for some laughs.