Type + Image: Modular Type

Second Wave by WeWorkForThem
Second Wave by WeWorkForThem

Your objective for this project is to design a creative and expressive typeface from three basic shapes. Of course, all letterform design is modular, in a way. Once you have a stem, curves, transitions, and the like, you can use those parts and pieces to create an entire typeface. That’s exactly what you are going to do, but with just a few shapes. Often, we think of the bauhaus and their heavily geometric and modular ideas. Here’s a link to a great looking workshop on modular type.


  1. You will begin by drawing your modules on graph paper. Try out a few different combinations of shapes. Try a circle, square, and quarter-circle. That would yield a typeface like Josef Albers’s Kombination Schrift above. Then maybe try some less geometric, more organic shapes. Then mix the two styles together to get something new and interesting.
  2. Then test your design by designing a series of letters and numbers with those modules. You might instinctively start out with A, B, C, etc. But that isn’t really the best way to go. Instead, start out with A, E, N, S, G, and 2.
  3. Next, transfer your final selection of modules to clean, white paper and carefully cut them out. Use the cut out shapes to create upper-case A through Z, and 0 through 9. Trace the shapes with pencil and fill in with marker on white paper.
  4. Scan the results of your tracing and markering and digitize in Illustrator.
  5. When that is finished, design a poster promoting your new typeface, featuring A-Z, 0-9, the name of the typeface,  and your name set in that typeface. Put you name and class on the back of the boards.


  • Design with your hands
  • Design a typographic system
  • Implement a creative typographic solution
  • Analyze typographic design processes


Tue Oct 31
Draw shapes (modules) on graph paper
Test by designing characters with those modules on graph paper
Thr Nov 02
Develop letterforms
Tue Nov 7
Start re-drawing in Illustrator
Thr Nov 9
Refine letterforms / Start designing promo poster
Tue Nov 14
Refine poster
Thr Nov 16
Project Due


• 15” x 20” board with promotional composition featuring A-Z, 0-9, name of typeface, and your name
• Project Notebook






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