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Customizing Type

Lesson 21 from: Symbol Design for Branding

Mitchel Hunt

Customizing Type

Lesson 21 from: Symbol Design for Branding

Mitchel Hunt

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Lesson Info

21. Customizing Type

Lesson Info

Customizing Type

let's put our abstract and pictorial symbols aside for a moment and take a look at the monogram. People are usually intimidated by altering typefaces or by creating their own. But I want to let you know now that the only way you learn anything about customizing type is by making mistakes. You need to get your hands dirty and see what works and what doesn't in order to really become masterful at this stuff and you'll never stop learning how to finesse monograms are a great place to start experimenting and to start thinking of letters as the symbols that they are. Again, you're going to need paper, a pencil, an eraser and tracing paper for this exercise. But we're actually going to start by looking for some good typefaces that we like stuff that we'd love to customize and make special enough for our own symbol to start open up your type library or visit platforms like my fonts, adobe fonts or google fonts. Adobe fonts comes with the subscription to the Adobe creative cloud. So if you're ...

using the same programs were using, then you should have access to all of the fonts in the adobe fonts library. Google fonts is an open source platform where google hosts a ton of fonts that you can use on web or to download for desktop use. So what I wanna do now is I want to find some good typefaces for these symbols. So I'm going to create a new document here, an illustrator And I'm just going to make it 8.5 by 11. It creates open it up. The first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use the type tool here and I'm just going to type out the letters in our monogram. So C. And A. And I have it in just gonna large that a little bit. I have it in all caps right here and I'm gonna duplicate that and I'm gonna re type that in lower case so that as we look through our typefaces were making sure that we can kind of see every possible iteration that we can create with that typeface. So once I have this written out, I'm going to highlight these two and I'm just going to go up to my type library here and start looking through it. So I'm gonna hit one of them and with my up and down arrow keys, I'm going to be looking through them. And again as I'm looking through I'm just sort of keeping in mind those keywords that I set and the mood that I'm trying to set for this brand. Mhm. So I kind of like this typeface here american typewriters, so I'm gonna keep that there. Uh and I'm going to select both of these and I'm gonna duplicate them so I have another set right below so that that sort of stuff stays up there as we look at other typefaces. Alright, so now I've got a good sort of range of typefaces here. They're all very different styles so that I can kind of look at them all, all the possibilities in front of me and just pick what I think might be the most appropriate for the brand. Um I like the shape of this one. I think that that's a very interesting typeface. But what I want to do now is I want to sort of bring out a couple of my selections. I'm gonna make another art board here. I'm gonna make that one in the landscape and I'm gonna bring forward my selection. So I'm gonna choose that typeface and whoops and that typeface. So we have a lowercase and uppercase and they're both very different in terms of style and I'm gonna make them large enough remember this is an 8.5 by 11 sheet so that when I print them out I am able to sort of go over them and study them a little bit closer. So now that we've got our type specimens printed out, I want to show how we can sort of find the details in them and pull and pull them out so that we can make them a little bit more interesting. So I've got here this sand saref which is any sort of sand saref has any sort of type face that doesn't have those little feet at the end of the tariffs. So this sand saref might seem a little bit simple but I'm gonna do some tracing paper just to show you where all the details might be and I'd invite you to do the same thing. So all you'll need for this is a pencil and some tracing paper. And then you printed type specimens. So laying the tracing paper over these letter forms and then tracing these again sort of like we did with the illustrating with shapes exercise. We're gonna sort of take a look at what goes behind making this sea, which again seems like a simple shape but it can be deceptive. So as I'm going along here and tracing this, I'm actually sort of recognizing all of the little curves that my hand needs to take in order to make that stroke happen. And as I'm recognizing all of those little turns, I'm actually seeing some details in here. Right? So as I get to this this curve here, I'm already noticing that this side of the sea is a lot wider than the top side here. Right? So all those little details kind of make make a typeface feel a little bit more human and a little bit more hand drawn as opposed to being entirely geometrically perfect. So it's important that we know that these details are there so that when we try to manipulate the typography ourselves, we're manipulating the right pieces of it. So same thing with the a as a trace over that I want to notice where all the details are. So once again I am noticing that these angles the corners of this thing are pretty sharp. So they don't have any sort of curve to them. They don't have any sort of serif. But I am noticing here to that the width here is not totally equal to this with which also means that this little point here is not exactly centered in the A. Which we may imagine that to be, but it's not. So again, as we're manipulating this, we're gonna have to keep that in mind because if we were to move this around, we may have to make sure that that center point stays a little bit tilted or a little bit moved to the left as it is here. So what I want to do next is I want to take these letter forms and I actually want to exaggerate some of the features that I've noticed. So again, I've noticed that this little stroke here is a little bit wider than the stroke up here. So I'm gonna take advantage of that. And as I come up to it in my retrace here, I'm going to give it a little bit of a mound and then go in there. And then I'm also just like the A. It has these sort of little sharp corners here at the ends. I'm gonna pull that out and take advantage of that. So again, just exaggerating what already exists so that I don't get too far from the original design of this typeface. And then again, once we get back down to this sort of thicker section, I'm going to make it even thicker and then come back in to the thin section here, see that see to me is already looking a lot more interesting than what we started out with and since I've made this sort of extra space, I can now embellish it a little bit if I wanted to add ornaments or whatever, I can make that look however I want. So I'm just going to add this little ornament here, which to me makes us like a little bit more custom and a little bit more unique. So if you're ever kind of struggling on trying to figure out how to make a typeface more interesting or a word mark, look a little bit more specific to a brand, just look for elements that already exist. Um you know, really dive deep into the form of the letter so that you can really understand what to pull out. In addition to that. I kind of wanted to point out that one of the best things you can do with the monogram is try to connect letters and try to sort of make it feel like it's a solid hole. Right? Um one of the best ways to do that again with the tracing paper is just to trace the letter forms. So I've got all of these interesting angles that are very geometric mhm mm But now, instead of just drawing the a I'm actually going to overlap them a little bit and see where I might be able to combine them. So one of the things I noticed here when I'm looking at both of these letters is that they look very similar in terms of shape language. Um so there's all these little angles that that appear in the sea and in the a and I noticed that as I was as I was tracing right. So I can also, I can really take advantage of that and trying to overlap them and then I'm just able to trace my a right in there. So I've traced my a in here and I've got them sort of combined. Now now I'm able to sort of remove pieces that I don't need keep all the details that I want, like this little notch that comes in here. So I think this forms sort of an interesting lockup of letters. I think that together they start to look a little bit more like shapes as opposed to just letter forms. And that's really what we're looking for when we're trying to create an interesting letter mark or or or or a monogram that looks like a symbol, right? Because it's not just looking like a letter anymore. Um In addition to that, I'm just going to sort of add some ornaments to this that that mimic the same the same shape language. So I'm just going to create a frame around it that uses the same the same sort of stroke with that we have that we see happening here. So I'm noticing that this a can very easily cut the same corner of the And what I'm gonna do is I'm going to sort of again, I'm going to create a frame that sort of draws around like that. Yeah, As I get to the top of my frame here, I'm going to keep in mind what's happening with the letters. So I'm introducing a new shape here that needs to look like it's in line with the shapes that already exist within our letters, Right? So, so as I'm getting up to this corner here, I'm noticing that as these letters turn that same type of corner, the line gets a lot thinner. So I'm just going to keep that in mind as I go here and I'm just going to replicate what I see. So this line thickness is very similar to that one. I'm gonna pull back the tracing paper to make sure that I'm using the same line thickness again, mm hmm. Mhm. And as I'm getting to this section, I'm noticing that I might actually need to make some adjustments to this a because either I can make a frame that goes around like this or I can make sure that it's that this line continues down this way and is a little bit more cleaner and runs down like that. So that's a decision that I'm making because I just think that the the form of this will be a little bit more clean. But as I do that, I'm really going to have to make sure that I change this little piece of the A. So I'm just erasing it and going off on my own here. But again, I'm going to sort of keep with the same same angles that I'm seeing already exist in the rest of the typeface. So just using the same language and just once more, I want to make sure that this width is the same as this with down here. So I'm going to copy it from a letter form and there we go. So now I have a monogram here that is a lot more solid looking. It feels like I can very easily see it made out of metal or printed onto a sign. So I know that this thing can have a lot of life to it and it's a lot more interesting. Then simply the two letters sitting next to each other. And again, I sort of did this by looking at the language that already exists and taking advantage of it

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