Building Letterforms From Scratch
now we're going to be talking about how to make letters of your very own for this exercise. You're going to use your paper and any writing utensils you prefer. I tend to like a pencil for this one. Now we're going to learn how to make some letters of our very own. We're gonna do a couple of simple exercises that can teach you how to think about letters more as shapes for this exercise. You'll just need a pencil and a paper or any sort of other writing utensil you prefer. So to start out, I want you to do a couple of different exercises. The first exercise is is what I call the A to be exercise. And we're just gonna we're gonna take a line and we're gonna draw it in five different ways. So we're going to draw a point from A to B. And then we're gonna draw that five times. When did they fall on their 5? And what I'm gonna ask you to do is draw a line from point A to B in in five unique ways. Right? So the first one would just be a simple line, right? Or if we could do something more crea...
tive. Um And then the second one, what's another way? We could draw a line, we can do it sort of curved. Yeah. Or we could do another one that is maybe more of a zigzag. Or we can do another one that's made up of a bunch of links that are being held together or we can do one that's a bunch of dots. Now we can still say that each one of these is a line and it's structurally holds up that way. Yet they all look pretty unique. The cool thing about this is that letters are really the same thing. They're just a bunch of dots and lines going from one point to another. Right? So if we take the A. From common association, we can see that as 1.0.1234 and five. So I'm gonna draw a line from A to B. And I'm gonna draw another line from A to B. That is maybe a little bit more interesting. And then I'm gonna draw my third one. So see I could have easily made this line straight, right? And and that's the day that we all kind of know, but that's a little bit boring. And again, you're kind of not really thinking outside the box. So I really just want you to think in this term. So I really just want you to think in these terms of sort of just like stretching what a line could be. So I could just as easily curve those lines in like that and maybe make the line cut across right. Or my line up here could overshoot the dot. And then this line could come up and maybe the line in the center instead would just sort of float in the middle, right? All these A's look super different to me. And I could just I could easily see bringing them into illustrator and making something that's a little bit more tight. Um but the point of this exercise is really just to get you thinking about letters is not so strict, right? Because we have all these rules around typography and the way that we write things and it can be a little bit intimidating. But if you just break them out into simple lines, it just gets a lot easier to think about these shapes. Okay, so you can do the same thing with shapes right? Instead of just lying. So if I go from A to B. A to B. A to B5 times and instead of a line I say let's draw a rectangle for me to be. So these are simple rectangle. Here's your rectangle that maybe has a little bit of curve to it and ends up being a little bit wider at the bottom than it was at the top. Maybe there's a rectangle that it gets really narrow at the end. Maybe there's one that bulges out quite a bit and maybe there's one with rounded corners. So you can still say that all of these are kind of the same thing. And if you apply that again to our a with their four different points, you can you can start to think in the same way. So let's just say that this is a rectangle here and that this one is more of an oval and that in the center, I'm going to draw a circle. Right, so again, this is super different from anything I drew with just a line. It's different from anything that I've seen, you know, digitally sort of recreated. Uh so this is again just to get you thinking outside of the box in terms of creating these shapes, I could just as easily combine the two exercises to and create a rectangle that goes up like this and instead of another shape, I'll combine it with the line and maybe even put a little serif at the bottom there. So all of these are super different. And again, I just encourage you to push the envelope with what you think that crossbar on and they could look like it could be made out of anything you want. It could be a jellyfish, right? So just make whatever you want. Um and the only real constraints to this, the only hard and fast rule is that it needs to be legible as the shape you're trying to create. Otherwise, you're good to go. I've been able to think of all sorts of interesting letter forms while using this technique. Letters are just commonly accepted symbols that we can translate into sounds and concepts. You've probably been writing letters by hand since you were a toddler. So I encourage you to use your existing knowledge to draw these familiar symbols just with different shapes, curves, patterns or other graphic effects. The only hard and fast rule with this exploration is that the letters need to be recognizable and legible enough to be read by our audience.