Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA  
  View Project
School Directory

Project. Typefaces from Found Objects

Purpose. To encourage students to apply what they have learned over their first semester of typography.

Assignment. In the Ohio University graphic design program, sophomore students enroll in a typography course that covers the very basic aspects: type classification, anatomy of letterforms, typeface selection, simple grid layouts of one and then two columns with required text and images. The students also have opportunities to work with type in expressive ways through letter compositions, visual semantics etc. The course offers a solid foundation in the principles of type with (hopefully) a respect and affection for the letterforms. This final project required that they had a knowledge of the consistency and variation of forms and proportions of letters.

At the end of the semester, the students had one week in class and then one on their own before submitting this assignment in lieu of a final exam. They were asked to develop a typeface (26 letters) using found objects. These could be made from man-made objects i.e. paper clips (all the same kind of paper clips) or from natural objects i.e. sea shells (keeping the sizes similar). The alphabet should contain only one kind of item.

Format. The 26 letters are photographed and placed in a formatted poster 11 x 17 inches in black and white, or color.

Time. Two 3-hour classes plus exam week (without classes)

Typefaces from Found Objects

Sherry Blankenship. Associate Professor and Chair of Graphic Design at Ohio University, teaches graphic design in both the BFA and MFA programs. She has also taught graphic design in New Zealand, Lebanon, Qatar, India and Zimbabwe and has presented workshops and lectures in a variety of other countries. She is currently writing/designing a book and website on Mark Cleverley, a New Zealand designer.

Ryan Lewis. MFA Graphic Design Graduate Assistant at Ohio University. Ryan Lewis is now an Assistant Professor of Art in Graphic Design at The Gwen Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University where he teaches Color for Graphic Design, Special Topics in Books and Packaging, and Advanced Problems in Graphic Design. He previously taught courses in Typography and Graphic Design Principles at the Ohio University School of Art + Design where he received his MFA in Graphic Design. In professional practice, Ryan has worked as a web designer for the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University and as a print and web designer for the software division of the Fortune 500 company Henry Schein, Inc.


Return to top