Type + Image: Typographic Rhythm

F. T. Marinetti
F. T. Marinetti • via RIT

Just as music has rhythm, so to does typography. Good type has soul, feeling, emotion, beat, tempo. Type can be happy or sad, meaningful or silly, disturbing or inspirational. A good song effects you in some way, so should good typography. It can be fast paced or slow paced, upbeat or melancholy. Learning to understand the rhythm of type is essential to a graphic designer.

You will each be given a song. There are many styles available. Listen to the lyrics.

Your task is to interpret the feel of the song using typography. It can have visual meaning, but this must be accomplished with type. Using only lyrics from the song, typeset and choose typefaces that seem fitting. Use as much of the lyrics as is necessary to achieve the feeling you wish to convey. Use color, texture, letterspacing, weight, leading, point size, etc. freely to help convey the message. The basic rules of typography such as horizontal scale, baseline, alignment, etc. are of no concern for this assignment. BE CREATIVE. Think of yourself as a visual conductor.

• to increase your ability as a planner and form giver
• to develop an awareness of the relationship between design and meaning
• to increase and improve the quality idea generation (quality & quantity)
• to increase conceptual skills
• to increase your understanding and appreciation for the subtleties of typography

You will be required to maintain thorough documentation of your process throughout this and all assignments in this class. Keep a collection of everything pertaining to this project (research, sketches, thumbnails, copies, etc.) and bring it to each class meeting. This collection will be turned in at the completion of this assignment and will be part of your final grade.

• one 15″ x 20″ print
• one process notebook
• The finished print will be a 15″ x 20″ print mounted on foam core

Project Timeline

8/31 Begin Project. Listen to songs. Research. Start sketching.
9/05 Print lyrics / Look for typographic cues.
9/07 Develop 3 concepts in Illustrator
9/12 Critique digital comp (3 hi-res PDFs) / Continue with best concept
9/14 Implement changes from critique
9/19 Refine concepts
9/21 Project Due – 15″ x 20″ FLUSH MOUNTED ON FOAM CORE ✭

These are the songs:

  1. Search and Destroy – The Stooges
  2. Uncontrollable Urge – Devo
  3. Crapa Pelada – Quartetto Cetra (English translation)
  4. Motörhead – Ace of Spades
  5. Dent May – Don’t Let Them
  6. Elvis Costello –  I Want You
  7. Nick Lowe – I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
  8. Public Enemy – Fight the Power
  9. Willy Wonka – Wondrous Boat Ride
  10. The Mooney Suzuki – Electric Sweat
  11. Rollins Band  – Do It! (Pink Faries cover)
  12. Guided By Voices – Hold On Hope
  13. R.E.M. – It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
  14. Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945
  15. Portishead – Wandering Star


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