Font Workshop at Dryden Elementary

I had a blast visiting Aziza Ejaz's 5th grade art classes at Dryden Elementary School today. I have always been fascinated by letters and fonts and how much information can be conveyed by the design of letters as well as the meaning of the words themselves. In order to get the kids excited about fonts I led them through this fun and simple exercise (you should try it too!). Aziza took these photos and you can also see them and photos of many other awesome projects she's doing with her kids here.

Pick a 5-letter word. This could be your first or last name, your favorite animal, or a word that you think sounds silly. You can even choose a 4-letter word and include a !, ?, #, or some other punctuation.

Font #1: Calligraphy

The first letter is writen using calligraphy. The simplest way to do this is to just write the letter in and then decorate with some curlycues, little cross bars, thick vertical lines, or any other ornaments you can dream of.


Font #2: Blackletter

The second letter is written in Blackletter, the first printed "font" invented by Gutenberg to print the first bibles that weren't handwritten To do this use the side of an inch-long piece of chalk or charcoal and write your letter while holding the chalk at a 45° angle to the paper.


Font #3: Times New Roman

Everyone knows this font. Times New Roman is a great example of a modern serif font exemplified by less ornamentation and a smaller difference in thickness between the vertical and horizontal lines. More of the letters also now resemble our modern characters. To draw this font simply write the letter, add a little extra weight to the vertical lines, and then add the serifs to the ends of your lines.


Font #4: Sans Serif

As typesetting moved into the modern era, and especially with the onset of computers, a demand for simpler, less decorative fonts grew. Helvetica was designed in Switzerland to meet this demand and is now the most used font in the world. It is characterized by a more consistent line weight and reminds us of simple block lettering.


Font #5: Get Creative!

For the last letter get creative. Use your favorite font of the four above or just make it up as you go! Make it drippy, spiked, scribbled, circular, tall and narrow, or short and fat. Whatever suits your fancy!