We are moving along in the Graphic Design 101 Series. You can catch up on any posts you have missed, or jump right in with us as we explore the amazing world of Typography! This is absolutely my favorite. In college I was fascinated by the personality of letter forms and how much amazing design could be done with the basic alphabet. But remember, this series is for grades 4-8, so we'll just be scratching the surface with some fun exercises that will introduce the basics to our students.
A bit of background
Start by showing this great video on the history of typography. It covers what might normally be considered "boring" to kids, in a unique, fun and equally informative way.
"You know what, Fonts are really a lot like people!" They come in different shapes and sizes, have personality and purpose, have "body" parts, and even belong to families!
We'll look at the families first, which were already introduced in the video.
You can do fun activities with the font families, like matching upper and lowercase letters or having the students write their name to fit in each family. I've uploaded worksheets at the bottom of the post that you can print and use for your class.
I wouldn't expect the kids to memorize or be quizzed over these terms, but they are usually surprised and tickled to see how many parts are comparable to a person. It helps them to see that typography is more than just picking a crazy font that you like. There is a science to it.
Fonts with a Purpose
Lastly, look at the personality of fonts. Just like color, fonts can dramatically affect the message that your design is communicating. Fonts evoke emotions or the lack of! They can communicate professionalism, silliness, elegance, horror, old school, modern and so much more. I showed them side by side samples of designs using different fonts. I asked them which sample looked better and why. For the most part, they got it. But I think the fifth grade boys actually thought I should switch to the logo with the dripping wax font. Gotta love 'em! :)
Of course the last assignment was to have everyone design their own font. There were two steps. First, they had to write the letters in alphabetical order. Second, they had to write the sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", which, I explained, uses all of the letters of the alphabet. The kids always have a lot of fun with this. Let them get as crazy and creative as the want!
Feel free to download the worksheets and use them for any non-commercial purposes.
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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