Archive for the ‘Lettering’ Category

Chicken the Brave

October 1, 2016

I thought this would be a fun band name or kids illustrated book so I created a little hand drawn/digitally enhanced logotype. I had been looking at the fun, loose vector art of J. Otto Seibold and was enjoying his hand lettering style. After looking the letter forms over and doing a quick analysis, I jumped into sketching, followed by rounds of scanning and redrawing (both digitally in Photoshop and by hand) before vectorizing, doing some (slight) cleanup, and adding vector flourishes in Illustrator.


chicken1 initial sketch


one of several rounds of digital correction and play


scan of a hand drawn cleanup on a light printout


More Typography play

September 11, 2016

This is a lyric from a song called “Southpaw”. The song lends itself to an Art Deco feel and some Russian Constructivist design elements and colors.

In working through this piece I designed an ampersand symbol and cleaned up the “R” as well. Some of the letterforms reveal their weaknesses (the Ss look heavy and the various weights on the “Ws” are problematic. C’est la vie.


Personal Typography project

September 3, 2016

One of the things I enjoy most about designing is the ability to create something out of nothing by first creating or assembling the component parts and arranging them in a visually interesting way.

Recently I’ve been hand-drawing typefaces and I thought it would be fun to create a font and use it as the base for creating posters from phrases, song lyrics and story titles. The key concept is to utilize or modify a single, self-created typeface to create a wide range of stylistic applications.

From an initial idea I created the letterforms below. Conscious of the fact that there are many flaws (especially in the odd stroke weights in several of the letters), I nevertheless decided to push ahead, modifying and improving the letterforms as I went. The 3 designs that I’ve finished so far were a lot of fun to work on and help me “learn” the strengths and weaknesses of the letter forms and relationships.

Process- Retro Poster

July 19, 2016


Hand-lettering to Photoshop

June 21, 2016

Graphic for a visual presentation for elementary students. These are the main stages, although there were myriad intermediaries.

I began with a pencil sketched inked with sharpies. Once scanned I played around with the interaction of the letters. The slant created some dynamic interaction and minimized dead space. I printed the photoshopped sketch out, redrew the design using broad Prismacolor pens (chisel tip),  and rescanned. I realized that the “the” way out on the left forced an incorrect reading of the phrase. I threw the whole thing back into Photoshop and…voila!

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Monster Sketch

March 26, 2016

I began to write the word monster but realized I had not a lot of enough room on the page my sketchbook so I made it an entire spread. With monster sketch in I had to draw the monster. Initially just an ink wash sketch, I saw a box of Kranz and decided to add color using one of my oldest mediums.

Valentine’s Day Logo – Vector Illustration

January 16, 2016

This was a personal project. Initially I was playing with a tightly spaced script to fill in the silhouette of a pair of lips. The final vector illustration is much more uniform and less calligraphic than the initial sketches. Even though the original silhouette idea was discarded, I like the sanskrit/arabic impression. There are some trapped spaces that bother me, and there are several things I might change on a future iteration to return the impression to a more organic script design, but I think the piece stands well enough.

Technical note: It wasn’t until later that I realized that I had made more work for myself. Since I ended up going with a uniform stroke and spacing arrangment, I could have used single lines, increased the stroke size and given a rounded cap to the strokes. C’est la vie.

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Typographic Reconstruction

January 2, 2016

I like the typeface on this piece of ephemera from the turn of the century. The sample of letterforms was not complete so I used the power of digital media to do some rapid reconstruction for the upper and lower case.

My approach was to look for existing letterforms in the set that had characteristics that were likely shared by the missing letters. By recombining, flipping, and adapting this components I have arrived at a complete set that I can further improve and tweak in a vector-based program like Illustrator or Designer. In other words, the point of this stage is not to come up with completely realized letterforms (especially since the image I am working from is not ideal) but to get in the ball park for further refinement. For example, the “X” has three versions that I want to narrow down to 1 or 2, and I am not happy with how the criss-cross strokes are not continuos since I arrived at the letter by inverting two “V” shapes and shortening the arms.

Since some of the capitals had extended arms I created two versions for missing letterforms that I thought would have also had that feature. I am least satisfied with the lowercase “g”. The uppercase “L” also needs some work. From this point I will probably go into Illustrator and come up with a clean, unified version of the letterforms.

Sample Letter forms

Original Letterform samples from ephemera


Reconstructed Type samples with variations

Reconstructed Type samples with variations

Process: Retro Robot Concert Poster

August 28, 2015

Preparing for another House Concert means creating another poster and flyer. Often I start by kicking around the words “House” and “Concert”. After a few dead ends I started thinking of “Retro Space Theme” as an idea. That didn’t go the way I had hoped, but did get me thinking about robots like the one from “Lost in Space”. Initially I thought I would make a crew of character robots to hold up and interact with the type. Since I’ve done character posters in the past, I recognized their secondary value as stickers/badges/giveaway items.

I tackled the project by research “robot-ish” components. The idea was to use the symbols palette in Illustrator to “frankenstein” a variety of figures from a collection of “bits”. I spent several hours making pieces, some of which I did not end up using, but since they are stored, maybe someday I will use them.


At this point I went back to my sketchbook since the robots I had tried to assemble were uninspired. I came up with an idea to do a “musical” robot, assembled from instruments (my first poster did something like this except with a Victorian house). I had hit on the idea of making the type for the word “house” be out of wire and the word concert out of metal. I hand-built the “concert” font after a quick sketch. Having already created a brush and 1/4″ cable symbol it was just a matter of finessing the script in order to be legible and have a flowy, cable-like personality. I went to work on the concert type and added gears and sprockets, repurposing my symbols to add that industrial touch.

Robo S


typography wireframe

After the type was assembled I jumped into Photoshop and began building and importing vector graphics as needed. I had collected some vintage paper textures and distressed paper folds. I also had researched retro swatches and constructivist motifs…kind of. My first attempt was on target and I was pleased with the robot and the comedic element he played (rather than the brooding overlord I had first envisioned). There was too much wasted space, however. The names of the performers were too small. I stepped back and took a fresh look.

First Try

I was much happier with the second attempt. “House” and :”concert” were grouped more closely and more space was given to the musicians. I added some gradients behind the main text to give it more presence. Additionally, since I was able to drop the text down, more of my background “widget” wallpaper was visible. That had been made by simply selecting a number of my Illustrator symbols and turning them into silhouettes then arranging them in a grid.

Second Attempt

Below are some details. I ended up putting a halftone pattern behind the robot to bring him out better as well as redrawing the curve of his glass dome for the same reason.

detail 1 detail 2

Logo Design – Spectrum

August 18, 2015

These are a few of the sketches and black & white vectors for a proposed logo that ended up not being used.

Spectrum Sketches

spectrum B/W