Skip to main content

Typography Fundamentals

Lesson 1 of 13

Bonus Video with Purchase: 'Custom Letterforms - Gerard Huerta'

Ilene Strizver

Typography Fundamentals

Ilene Strizver

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

1. Bonus Video with Purchase: 'Custom Letterforms - Gerard Huerta'
Join designer Gerard Huerta in a deep dive into his vast portfolio spanning decades of clients including Johnson & Johnson, Architectural Digest, IBM, Men’s Journal, Wired Magazine, Google Wallet, and Swiss Army. Gerard walks us through his graphic design process of logos, brand identities, magazine covers, movie posters, album covers, and concept projects, demonstrating typography at its purest: Gerard draws his own lettering rather than manipulate existing typefaces.

Lesson Info

Bonus Video with Purchase: 'Custom Letterforms - Gerard Huerta'

Hello everyone and thanks for joining us today for our typecast webinar entitled, drawn, quartered and executed custom letter forms with our guest presenter gerardo huerta my name is klaus I'm a creative director and a visual storyteller and I'm going to be your co host today today's webinars sponsored by the type directors club which promotes excellence in typography they've been doing it for over sixty five years and you can learn more at t d c dot or ge it's also sponsored by a tow a studio solutions which provides unique and innovative custom color proofs camps and prototypes you can find out more about them at a to a dot com all right, I'm pleased to introduce today our presenter gerard huerta gerard is an incredibly talented designer and typography who has designed a ton off logo's brands magazine covers books and even banned identities that you're all sure to recognize he's going to walk us through his process which I think is going to be amazingly insightful and inspiring and I...

hope you find it that way as well. While gerard walks us through his presentation feel free to typing questions here in the go to webinar panel at the end as usual will answers I'm going to answer is many as time will allow during the presentation and then once gerard is wrapped up he's going to answer as many as we can fit in and then of course you're welcome to reach gerard directly. His email is right there on the screen and we'll post his info again at the end. All right, gerard it's all years. Thank you, klaus. I'd like to thank klaus and eileen stress for also the tc and a welcome everyone to drawn, quartered and executed it's. A good thing for the multiple meeting of words or this would be a very different kind of women are the first thing I'd like to show you is a piece from there we go. A piece that was done before I work digitally on part of this is to show you the process of how I work, how we work then and how it relates to how I work. Now, this is a book jacket that was done for harpercollins for jim downey and tom connor and it's significant for me because it was one of the last pieces that I think before going digital. Now you can see here we have three designs that are based on cigar bands and then sort of a victorian designed with a bunch of different kinds lettering in it, which was the one that was chosen here you see the final sketch from left to right, it's, about sixteen inches across. Here we can see it up a little bit closer now what we did that back then is we would always draw our lettering as tightly as possible on the tissue and the reason for this is you would do your tissue you would secure a piece of vellum of den riel some kind of translucent material that you've been gone and the only thing you wanted to worry about is how that week went down onto the piece of paper here we see a portion of the thinking now back then good lettering was made up of three different components the first was good design a drawing the spacing of the letter forms and the correct waiting of the letter forms the second thing was clean edges we wanted to make sure that all of the edges were very, very smooth that was kind of the mark of a good lettering designer the third thing is equal stroke wait were necessary for example on the stems of a letter and then on the hair lines of script for example or the airlines of the tony sarah okay, now if you look at how things are done now those last two components we really don't have to worry about we don't have to worry about clean edges because illustrated for example you have vector artwork unequal stroke is just you know, whatever you want to make this trump, you just type it in but the important thing is that the design and the drawing is always going to be important. A lousy drawing with clean edges and consistent strokes is still gonna be a lousy drawing and there is stamped on the book cover and then I color this so I could be able to use it in print on and when this is a mask had I chosen this mass hit because a lot of the mass hits that I've drawn over the years like time people money us we're very few characters and this one happened to be the one at the most courage twenty four plus an illustration so let's take a look at it now you can see what I work digitally I can work a lot looser this is probably looser than I usually do a scanned sketch but you get an idea you could tell kind with the letter forms but I look like now here's what I call my part for my art for it is where I do all of my cops what guidelines in my stand is in there my lettering is drawn over confident and here you see all the different variations without the scan on top of it this is a qualifying it was again drawn an illustrator to have an engraving type of field it's really kind of the symbol for the papacy this tiara the stole the cross keys and you'll fight over history. Actually, every polk has their own logo. It's, it's, thes combined elements. But they're also drawn slightly differently. And then you here you see the entire logo incompletion, let's, talk a little about reference. The art director was a b suspect came up with this idea for a band called blackjack that we use the tally ho packaging as an idea for the album cover. So it became a package of cards. Black jack happened to be a band whose lead singer was michael bolton back in the eighties. And here we see the tight pencil sketch for the cover. Now, if you look closely, you can see my guidelines, you can see forty five degree angles, all my lines, lineup center lines for little circles. What else we have here is a compass point little compass hole for all of these curves up here, you can actually see I had a a triangular design appear that I raised the replacement with this design. And then, of course, you're on the sides. We have lettering in perspective. Then on the top, we have again lettering in perspective and the state drawn in perspective and then straight on down here here's the inking for that piece it was insane. Size twelve and a half by twelve, five days, which is albums, eyes you can see here I have lettering and positive I've drawn it in negative hero drawn it in negative in perspective and I look at this and I think boy we made things difficult back then and here you see the actual package in color with the reference next year this is another piece I wanted to show you the reference for but I love the book out years ago it was never returned so be careful about loving your books out this was done for bill gold advertising and I did it in conjunction with an old office mate arrived here hyson who's an illustrator we shared an office for about twenty five years and we were schoolmates also now roger isa great airbrush illustrator he now works in photo shop and achieved the same result. This job was interesting for a number reasons. One is that we had to work on this together but we figured out a way of working on it separately and that is I eat everything it's brown here was it we sent that to a source meter had imprint the brown and then print the red or the negatives slightly offset to give us a little highlights here then all of this was airbrushed color within the letters now roger he painted this on a separate sheet of strathmore paper the reason is that we produced the first piece of art that said bronco billy wild west show with this image pasted onto it that was done actually, before the movie was shot so they could paint up big posters for the show and use the lettering on the truck that clint eastwood drove in the film. And then for this excuse me, there goes my mouse taking off again and sorry about that, okay? And then we had to peel that off. In the middle of this we had to peel off that original illustration and then pasted onto this illustration for this final. Another piece I worked on with roger is this piece for a movie called cuba. Now again, we silk screen all of the gold on here that was done as the making, as was the lettering, and it created a big piece big framework for all of the illustration inside of it that roger. Unfortunately, this piece was never used. This is more typical of my drawings now when they get scanned. If I don't have to show client there's enough information here for me to do my finishes, this is a piece for american custom this's for my friend bruce. Mark and bruce has a company where you go to his website and you have all of these harley davidson sounds that you can listen to tailpipe sounds, and what you do is remove your tailpipe you send it over to bruce he does some hocus focus to it sends it back to you and it now sounds like the sound we pick on the website so this was done for a t shirt design and then the side of a trailer here you see my illustrator file over my scan and I'm going to take you through the printing process because this was done is a silk screen the background gray would be a t shirt great seizure this white is the first printer or the opaque white eat now I'm not showing you the trap version of explain about trapping in a minute there's the white ranger there's the black ranger and the red printer and you can see here in this area have used some of the great to bleed in to create part of the tailpipe now this is trap what that means is what's white here actually gets expanded just slightly so when the red prince it will overlap and that's very key because if there's any registration or off registration the grave will leak through that's why you trapped for a flat so screen color like this and of course instructions for the printer you have to tell him what order if you trapping this is a job for the web it was done for nat trapeze on mackenzie christoph and james r g a it was done for johnson and johnson and it was a serious of icons and a logo and what I'm showing you here is the rough drawing it's done you know with a sharpie market or just sort of single stroke and I'm showing you the the finish here and they want a backtrack these were little icons that we use for the web and this logo which was given to be in a general form like this which I had to then redraw and six for the web now let's take a close look if you look here at these intersections you'll see some notching taking place I'm removing parts of the letter here here and over here the reason for that is when you reproduce it on the screen you'll see that it becomes very sharp by removing that because what you're I wants to do your eye wants to fill this in and rounded out so I take by using this process of redrawing we could get a really sharp image I used to use this technique still dio for doing watch tiles and we'll take a look at those a little later now here the icons blown up you can see the same use of notching here thes icons are in a couple of ways because you don't want the inside to be a ce heavy is the outside because this will start to get too heavy the same way here same way in this area you can see all of the notching that goes on and then finally, the final piece sharp and clear recently the type directors club sells celebrated its sixty fifth anniversary. Now what they decided to do is produce a book on they gave sixty five designers sixty five numbers to produce eight and a half by four plus for the infinity sign square root of sixty four, maybe a beetle's week and after thinking about it for a while since I really had the freedom to do pretty much anything I wanted, I decided that I would pay homage to the lettering artist that I study people like com carne aides told kristina my friend doyle young my leverage teachers work the each drunk asado shut schmidt. Now if you look at these little post it notes, I usually keep a posted note pad near my computer I have entire computer set up an entire drawing set up on the other side of the room. So when I met my computer said, I'll do a little sketches when I'm working on another job and as you see here here's a completely failed attempt drawing where aid with the eight interlocking totally alleged ble but this appear started to intrigue me. I started thinking about these artists how a couple of were in new york were very good it's been syrian lettering the others were in southern california and I thought this could be an opportunity to do something where I takes then syrian and southern california car pin striping and do some kind of crazy combination of that. So that started kind of here and here here's another rough sketch uh where I actually put this all together and I'm kind of liking what's happening the fix and fins all of this space is starting to work so I do a little pen tell drawing here no, I don't I'm not having a leading money around this just happens to show you for scale. This is about three inches across and I worked out all of these little spaces. So now it's time to scan this case into the computer here you see my line drawing, which is a single stroke over the drawing and of course we're only doing half of this because we're gonna flop it to create the other half and now let's see it without the scare. Once I have this done, I want to go in and start creating the fix and fence what I call sort of giving it a musicality the strokes will start to swell and slow down and its feet up it becomes a hairline. So I print out the piece and I take a pen tell let's start to draw on top of that to create the weights that I want to create being very careful not to have a heavy stroke cover another heavy stroke also, you see my guidelines here? I have a center line. I also have guidelines around the outside. If you notice it's not a circle, I remain true to my original sketch, which was really slightly elliptical. Maybe about a seventy five degree of list. Part of the reason for that is it feels a little more humanistic. Circles tend to be very mechanical. I loved to use circles sometimes, but it's a drawing like this off, you know, trust my judgment on using what my hand does and create this. Okay, from this point on, looking at all these lines and wondering, what can I do to make this more interesting? So I decided to give this a basket weaving effect, the idea here being that where you have a line that goes over a line, it'll go under the next one, it'll go over the next one under over and all the way around and then on the opposite side to make this less symmetrical will do the reverse. If the line here goes under, it will go over. Now they're in mind. I probably added a full day to the job just coming up with a stupid idea, because I'm gonna have to subtract all these shapes from the other ones, being careful not to delete any pieces to complete this now. Because this is on a square, I've decided I want to anchor this to the corners of the square, so I start drawing some corner pieces that looks sort of been stripey that might go well with my original design so here's some corner pieces the bottom ones are finished, this one will simply be clocked over to hear this one will be flopped over here and we'll have the complete design here it is in color, I've used a light yellow for the eight to bring it out and then slowly step back each part of it with a little bit dark color. So there it is, a homage to those I learned from there's, a logo type of national guitar museum. The national guitar museum was started by a friend, harvey newquist. It originally was a facebook page in a website, but over time, harvey has acquired many guitars from vendor gives his martin johnny winner and he's even acquired a forty five foot flying v, and the national guitar museum had become a reality and become a traveling exhibit. It started at the discovery museum, the french port it's gone to the orlando science and industry museum, louisville science museum and excusing louisville science and industry museum, where currently is held and we'll move on to richmond, virginia, to the carnegie museum and some others so let's go through the process here's some drawings, rough drawings, pencil drawings on dh. If you just kind of glanced through them, you'll see that we ended up really in this area. But we have to achieve a lot here to get to that point. So this is my arm board again. It's. Very messy. I draw things. I move him over the side. Uh, this should be very telling to you over here in the corner. That's actually, one serif multiplied by four to give me an eye, then that I could be used for the other straight strokes for these letters and some experimentation over here with angles and just playing around. And then here we're getting closer. We're still experimenting with some different things, like down here. How about using consistent line actually used a typeface here. Unbelievable. And it turns out harvey likes blue guitar. So this actually was a good thing? Because by making the tar blue, we could then make the acoustic guitar a little bit more of an orange color. So we get a nice, complimentary thing going here and the variations. And then finally, he finished logos. I do a lot of work for fairfield university for the theater department. I do about four posters a year for them and they're fun to do because they leave me lonely let me kind of do anything I want I think this has a lot to do with the fact that students used to do them and they're just happy to have somebody I think he knows what you're doing do that so these always start out with a little sketch some little image in this case I'm using the lettering it sort of highlights in the hair again I'll use some coins here to show you how small the sketches just very tidy sketch it's scan and this is my line art and illustrator oh bit of color and then final piece and then here's just a few more okay next gonna talk a little bit about alternate characters this is the old logo for architectural digest I was asked by hopkins battlement to redesign it where you work it and I came up with this sarah if sort of bracketed sarah looking thing which related a little bit to the original one but something about alternate characters one thing about doing lettering is a letter could be whatever it wants to do because it's always going to be in a fix situation as opposed to type which a letter has to work in every situation. So I decided with this particular letter the sea that when we had the tail or return that should have a little bit of wait because I had this unfortunate combination of c t and a lot of negative space here where I could take that and slightly make it swell a bit more to create a little bit of a wait there now if you look at the total logo you'll also see that the arts are different. This art has a very angle leg is what is more vertical because of the space in the nature of the spacing and it has a ligature and there you see the two logos together I got a note from john langdon of and the grand same that said that they have now redesigned logo for january of two thousand twelve and they have not used alternative characters so if you get a chance take a look at it. See what you think this is not a lettering job this is actually a monster typesetting job now the concept here the art director came up with this they were describing four different computer systems ibm sideways speicher's up and he wanted to represent them by animals and what would be in this curved area? This represents where type is going to be set and that type will be in code. Let me show you the type on the scan so you see, all of these are words tight code and I was given a big list of code and was also given very specific typefaces system typefaces that I had to use to create this artwork so we had a couple of challenges one is that you had include the entire words so if the word fell short we have to find another one to replace it and if that didn't work it was filed air to get something to sit the other thing that happened is that you wanted to create some drawing here so you would be able to get a turn for instance on the legs some shadowing here and that that was worked out with using bold face and lightweight faces for st middles of letters as in here so let's let's take that scan out so see if you switch your eyes you start to get a little bit highlighting and a little bit of play this arm goes service late goes over the rest of the body they're shadowing here and the alligator and then about six months later we added a kangaroo and here is the type setting up close so you could you can see what happened we also did a robot and did a series of interlocking hands again you can see how the shadow it starts to work in these areas where you have gold phase a little bit a highlight well we use a lighter weight okay so we've drawn we've executed what's this quarter thing we're going to talk a little bit about that along with some other stuff like layers you can see here is my layers talent you can see that all of them are shut off but the template layer here and let's look at the piece of artwork this was done for a magazine called men's journal they did a fashion spread of a bunch of guys hanging around motorcycles that this was a vital piece for that so if you look at the layers you can see about sixteen of these layers or turned on for the artwork there other layers out of the twenty eight layers that are shut off now what these lawyers represent is any time I do any work on a piece of artwork I will copy it and work on a different layer saving that original one and the reason is that you may want to use something from there later so you always say something into a different layer and hang on to it okay let's talk about quartering if you look over here in my layers palate you'll see here this highlighted one says top bevel then left devil than right bevel on bottom devil those represents these sections of the letter form which is the bell and they are colored in a different fashion to create this rendering now how do I do this it's pretty simple you copy your letter your original letter which is here you take it and put it on another layer copy it onto another layer and then you outlined the past out here, this is maybe six points, I guess you outlined the path to create a separate line around it. You've got to make sure in areas like this that you fixed that because illustrators going mechanically give you an outline here, and you want this to work for your bevel, so you have to fix their you've gotta fix these curves here because illustrated will give you a curve and then a straight, and you want to get rid of the strait and make that one complete curve. So this there's a lot of little bit of extra work, I guess, that you have chosen to maybe fixing some of your outlines. Once that's done. We're going to make these shapes in the way you make the shape is you take this mace main part of your word this past you send it to the back, you highlight both and then used to attract or minus the back that gives you this wide area going around here. Once that's done, you're going to take and draw a shape across here, you could see where that line is across here, and then around here you're going to select both those shapes and you going to divide them, and then you're gonna ungroomed that and you're gonna throw away these shapes on the outside, keeping this middle shape you now have one bell you now go over here and do the same thing and you highlight it and you divide it and ewan grouping you now have one two three shapes you do that you go all the way around and break this all up once you've completed that you start throwing all of the top devils into its own layer you draw the left devils in layer the white devils in the bottom well, nobody said of these now you khun you can put color in them to get your rendering that you want and if you look at the top level here you'll see over here that that is the coloring for the top level so you apply it and then you may have to change some angles of this heat. This happens to be zero on this particular one but you can see on the top of the l the angle has been changed. Okay, so that's what I call quarter now when I was at art center I was what was called an advertising illustration major we learned about rendering lettering perspective had drawing life, drawing all these disciplines you needed to be a good artist way learn how to use really pan squash, acrylic we learn print production and all of that contributes now to me doing pieces like this and like the last place you saw because I'm always thinking about what instructors told me about four inches cool highlights warm highlights I'm shadows how shadows affect areas that they're going in and delight easy a little bit of edge lighted here I want to show you this because this particular piece has thirty layers now this is a piece for google it was done for garrett jones calling kim and mckinsey christoph in rg et it was for a campaign called google wallet and this was the main image and google partner with people like ninety and macy's and subway s o I was able to use that advertising illustration knowledge to create these okay, I'll take a little side step here with these charges I've been doing a bunch of vintage guitar renderings like I've got about eighteen of them done and they're they're really very specific to a certain your efforts to fifty two telly sixty five precision base sixty two still a stratocaster and I've now managed to have eight of the is hanging in the national guitar museum as the decade sort of the golden decade or renaissance decade of nineteen fifty one two nineteen sixty one where the telly the strap the three thirty five les paul the jazz based the precision based all of these were designed and are still pretty much in use in the same way they were designed back then in fact a printed these up for me full size twenty four by forty eight inches and the guitars are pierre actual size on those prints okay back to letter a friend of my danny see who is a local luthier designs and builds guitars wanted eh monogram for the head stock up on his guitars it's called di g n custom guitars so here you see a siri's of rough pencil drawings monograms and here you see those put into illustrator put onto they had stock to see what they would look like and dan selected this one. So this is mother of pearl that's going to be inlaid into a veneer on the top of the head stock because these air really worked out with a sort of computer ah driven router there's a radius here it has to happen and it happens all you imagine a drill bit going around that's what you're gonna get us you're gonna get a little little circle partials circle there so we drew the artwork that way in order for it to be exactly the way that we want it. Now the thickness of this is the same as the thickness of the veneer so he could cut around this shape. This is why he chose this because the shape of simple easy to cut around it's inlaid and in the middle is still a black epoxy and then here is his love of repressed so once we did this I decided I wanted to decide a guitar so I designed this guitar did this rendering an illustrator of a guitar with features that I wanted and then blew it up to actual size here to give to dance so that he could cut this out and I gave it to him with the rendering so he could get the carving on the top and then did a beautiful job of this guitar love the guitar while this was being made though if you remember harvey nucleus the national entire museum harvey went in to see dan and he happens see my drawings and he wanted me to design a multi neck, fully playable string instrument so this is where the phantom music supposed to happen and here's the guitar we came up with it has eight next it has a ukulele neck it has a man lin neck six string bass a friendless based twelve string, a baritone and a seven string and it was originally called the paragon octagon but now is known as the rock cock so I did full size drawing and here you see the rock are being assembled to try that again and dan had to make some modifications to it for practical reasons if you could call this practical now after its completion harvie decided to do a video so we got together the rock off band and we did this video you could simply search rock cock in youtube and you can see eight gentlemen making fools of themselves well, we've got seventy thousand hits on youtube already. Well, this got shift to louisville to be in the show in the national guitar museum show and we got a little bit of publicity from new york magazine huffington post and after that used tv saw it decided to do second call ken biohazard cucaracha so here's a good biohazard from new york there's four guys in there and see one guy here one guy here still no speaking out there on dh then here so you can find this on the fuse tv website if you take a look at it and of course we have darth vader played rock our start is the bass player of course, and here he is playing in e flat for all you metal has that dropped down a half step when you play guitar, no position and of course the vato wall of sound. I've had a long association with swiss army and I've done a lot of dials for them. This was the original one and it was done for myron pollen berg, who designed the watch my new myron no mind for many years back from back in the record business to advertising, admitting that he's different jobs for him and my own called me he designed this watch it was a result of doing packaging for the fortunate group, which swiss army france used to be named and this was the original dial that we did and it was before we were digital so here you can see the artwork for the hands and artwork floor the numbers that go around and guidelines of course and then here's a kind of a prototypical calendar try dividing a circle in thirty one pieces and then if you note here the twenty one the two is much wider than the twenty or twenty to this is because you have a calendar window and each number is revealed on ly through that calendar window so we can make the nine and the eight wider when they're alone and then when they have a one next and here's an aching now in a case you see a little bit this notching upset which I'll show you a little bit later typically this is how it started how it started you would do a sketch about five to one five times the size of the actual printed style I would do them in, pen tells I could stacks them over for them to look at, use another dial one tissue over another and here's another dial that I'll take you through a process this is a finished drawing of the dial you can see there's a track on the outside and we have military numbers out here in the military numbers if you look carefully you'll see that they're fan the accesses fromthe center of watch this is important because otherwise they won't look proper e I want to explain this that you can measure all you want. You can do whatever you want and in the end, visually it has to work. So you've got to make those alterations visually to make things work, whether they measure out right or not. Let's, take one more close up. You can see a real notching effect here. This has a different reason than the web. Because we're talking about physical inc as a thickness and ankle tend to round out these areas. So by taking away, if this fills in, then we have the correct waiting. How's the letter now here are some actual printed dials and here's. A recent dial from december. I did about four of these that you can see here with color breaks, you can see different back frowns. White, black, silver and an olive color and the appropriate pms colors that go with it. And these are renderings that were used for catalog. Now again, I used that advertising illustration major here to get leather and webbing metal. That little bit of velcro here, a little bit of a certain nylon vinyl scrap. Okay, what is this? Well, this is my lettering, one class from art center. Right before starting art center, I had spent an entire summer drawing signs for a store and that's what I did day in and day out, so I was kind of into the whole thing of liberating before I started art center, but I didn't didn't really know that, and we were given assignments and worked leeches class and the assignment assignments went like this. We were to do a phrase in castle on a phrasing, but tony a phrase in news topic in a phrase and spend syrian script and what would happen is we would do a tissue filled in pencil tissue and mort leach would come around and anywhere needed to be opened up people a little d anywhere you'd be closed up, he put an x and then you could another tissue on top of that injury, and we draw with the appropriate sixes some people it took three or four to issue some people with twenty tissues it just depended on when you got it or not, this happens to be on thinking, and the way this has done is we would take that final tissue put graphite on the back that we carefully traced down the outline of the lettering we would then use aja lot once one fifty, ten points excuse me, what one seventy men point and we would carefully go around and do our careful anqing of this and then use a ruling pen to do our straits you could see here white a where I've corrected we'd use whitewashed to make the correction now what I didn't understand at the time I love letter in class it had to have been the most hated class it art center everybody hated letter and I didn't understand why this is lettering to where we would do actual type indication in pencil and we would take again take a phrase I think it's under here says torino capitals which I think refers to this using using that idea this is a current job I can tell you a lot about it because it's really not finished but wth the idea here is to take a genre of music and created in lettering create the style of lettering for that you can see here's my rough sketches which I scanned him and here the pieces not quite finished but I'll give you an idea and you can see these are not typefaces I mean you can't find these things you have to create these things you know it's typically with an are you okay you did make the same way well doing a different take on that and making the city look like they are here latin that certainly is not a typeface because everything is kind of interlocking and these air truly drawn quartered and executed we have some cornering here here here this is a cover from ryan magazine I did for bob see ya know I work with bob for many years andi needed this very quickly and that's why I could give him a sketch this rough I don't usually show sketches this rough but because it's rough there's a lot of notes along with it and here you see I threw it in the photo shop through some color into it just to get an idea of how this is gonna look and then approved we're beginning our tissue you see the tissue here a little bit tighter of all this roo roo roo needs red, orange, red or orange and you could see the lettering there theory have the guidelines for the lettering you see the image is reduced also you can see these fan lines out here which looked consistent but you can see they have a different point from where they emanate on the reason is that they all came from the same coin I wouldn't get this nice of a color changes that went around so again reacting visually to something that mechanically doesn't quite work. Okay so thinking that this was the final which it wasn't because we then had a copy change on here's the copy change I just did a pen tell drawing and threw it in here to see what happened and that's a good thing because the copy changed again come to the final at the very last minute thiss was dropped is the cover for a lego our article, but this was used as a full page illustration on the inside of the magazine a few years back, a friend of my wife's cathy got cancer and got very sick, and my wife, debbie, went out to be with her and kind of your bedside nurse until she passed away. They're very close friends from childhood, and when daddy came back after that, she decided you want to get a tattoo to come commemorate kathy. So I did this little sketch and she liked it, and so we did an illustrator do the drawing here you can see it with like guidelines and then the final tattoo, which was done by stephanie to mass debbie's upper back. Now, since we're talking about art on bodies, I wanted to show you this piece from back in the record business when I worked at cbs alvin lee, who was with a group called ten years after you can see him in the woodstock movie and al diddly doing this incredible guitar solo album leaders solo album called vampire and john bird. My boss came up with an idea that we should put a bodybuilder in a real tight shirt, and it's sort of morphed into this idea of actually just painting the logo and the shirt onto the body so roger hi sina myself we went down to the photographer studio the bottle was there and the model just happened to be lou ferrigno of the incredible hulk serious and this was before I blew his famous so we came armed with our pre cut acid tates and forested paper and airbrush can dare paintbrushes and we're trying to figure out how to do this and lose and well just sit on my knees so I sat on one knee roger sat on the other name and we began blue and create his artwork even down to you can see the airbrush shadows here down here so it looked like a shirt well and we finished them about lunchtime and the rep asked us out to lunch so we went luca knockoff because lou was all painted up decides he brought six huge cans of tuna after lunch so we had a nice glass of wine a cobb salad with no eggs and we came back and lewis sitting there with six empty cans of tuna and paint is dripping down his body lu is a good sport so and he went took a shower we repainted lou we got him under the hot lights and got a few shots off before they started dripping okay, so here I am fresh face twenty two years old just graduated from art center just got married just moved to new york after never going farther east and las vegas new york was going broke on dh I founded the pavement for about two months and finally landed problem the best job in art school graduate could get album's id at cbs records my bosses were john bird and and leave and I can't tell you what great fun thatjob wass all these albums have lettering on them lettering that I drew or illustration that I do and lettering at that time was just a give you just did lettering you there? What there was no you know, more things have lettering on him than that. Andi was a very great wonderful on experimental time and these represent album covers from different companies cbs atlantic holly door heiress stuff over here you see the first a cdc album here in the united states the second one over here you see this blue oyster cult heavy metal lettering as faras I know it's the first instance of heavy metal lettering done and even spinal tap charity their logo here's the first boston l'm done with uh roger ice in for polish here from pentagram here's a chicago album. I didn't design this lettering this lettering was designed by nick fosse yano my job was to create a thumbprint here's a full painting that I did on going on here is a nice piece that I tissue dup and if asciano put it in mother pearl rosewood and staying the steals and engraving this dictators think I ripped off ring magazine their letterhead here's the first foreigner album um this is one of my favorites illegal stills jobber came up with this idea of putting a beautiful label on a mason jar photographing it and here we have a front and back illustrated album cover I did it was a collection of groups, so what I'm saying is you could pretty much do anything you want it was really, really a great time here is a ten nugent albums I think theresa alfieri was the art director on this and I did about five ten nugent albums with this style of luxury you can see here a similarity between the willie nelson album and the ted nugent albums, but the lettering really sets it off is a completely different tone because the style of it always like doing the classical albums I don't mean any disrespect by this, but it was always good to do classical album because usually the client was dead so you could do a great job do whatever you wanted, okay? And people don't do this. This is a collection of tattoos I found on the web of a local again and you're going to do this didn't design something cool, do something nice and fluid that fits with your body straight lines don't stay straight like they turn into curb lines on your body just doesn't doesn't really work and also I want to make sure you guys check your spelling thank you mark wahlberg for sending me this I think it's hilarious make sure your spelling is correct thea other thing I want to mention is our ability to draw is unique to all of us I think it's what always gives us that kind of special solution weigh all of the computers very democratic you know anyone these days can assemble existing bonds pictures illustrations so you need let's draw let's let's dry okay and I think I am finished let's have some question gerard can you hear me? All right, I can hear you that was incredible what what an inspiration. Thanks for saving the thanks for saving the a c d c tattoos toe last you you warned me about that before in the blocks well well thank you it's one thing is difficult is sitting here in front of my computer and feeling like I'm talking to mice self oh no worries we're all here and it's really really inspirational so we've got we've got a couple of good questions and I think this this might require that you kind of like burn back to your slides to where the notches were taken out of some of the letters I think you want to go to the watches yeah maybe it doesn't matter anywhere where you did the notches because that kind of like that kind of sparked a lot of questions? Well, not a lot but a couple okay, first one let's hear yeah, the first one was how do you know how much of a shape uh how how much and what shape to make the notch? Well, it's it's sort of trial by air originally started with the swiss army stuff when we would get actual little printed dials and I could see through a loop where you have some problems that we would do a little test and finally I came up with you know, at the scale about the size of that now in terms of the web you could check yourself because simply reduce ajay back look at the screen you can see where you need to fix that unfortunate still tryingto find it that's our hangout what was I thinking? Here we go okay, yeah, so on screen you can you can do your own test on dh in most cases with four color process printing ifyou're in print it really isn't necessary because printing is pretty exact it's in those things where the ice starts to fool you with these gets so tiny or, you know, when you're looking for instance, a zoo I'm looking at my model I'm looking at light feeding it to be not reflected but actual life feeding to me so it's again it's child error I mean, I've been doing this for a long time and you know, when you do things for a long time eventually you just kind of figured some things out and you you you know you work in that in that way uh home I'd answer it yeah, I think you have it mean it's pretty much you take a notch out and then you like pushing me to take a look at it are you printed or whatever? So right? And then if someone wanted to know what technique what technique you used to remove the notch areas and they said are those removed areas template id or do you do them one by one on an individual basis? Well, this happens to be digital so what what I usually do is I draw the letter then I'll place a point here and I'll turn this point into two points and then pull the handles tau like it that nice little curve it's all it's drawing, you know, it's really drawing and reacting to it. One thing you probably learned by looking at this presentation is I'm not afraid of too many things. I mean, well, if I haven't done it before, I'll take a chance and do it and and then I'll add that to my kind of my repertoire, you know, most lettering people I think in general and these traditional every people work in black and white being able to work in the record business at the beginning allowed and having the advertising sort of illustration thing they're allowed me to throw that way and pretty much whatever I wanted to dream up I would draw I would work off so on dh then of course you know, rock cock and all these guitar things it's really it's really about just you know, being opened the situations and designing for them I really enjoy the process and I enjoyed doing things I'm enjoying doing his guitar renderings because it's just something something different it's exciting? Well, I think you've got a lot of us excited with the guitar renderings some someone asked charles nix wanted to know if we can see the layers in the strap drawing or or any of the vintage fenders you know, basically gerard, can you just post the aye aye file so we could all just yeah okay, we've been living go back here it's here okay, well, basically it's all described you don't you can read this, but you know it's because I don't have illustrated open and you guys were all sharing the screen, I can't really I can't really show you because I'm sharing the screen with you, but if you look at the layers, I have a guitar shadowed here well that's, this little thing here I have my signature that's on a layer the tuners which are out of ranger are there let's go hear the body edge like that's basically what's black here and what has this little kind of great blend then we have the burst the color verse I have wood grain texture I have this one selection is on a layer picard's picard channels knob skirts not jesse the knobs or bunch of lately they have shadows throwing shadows frets on the layer it's it's all crazy shit's crazy stuff and you're I would imagine you're using transparencies on like on those body edge light and you're just use this that it's not that actually is not this is just a very simple blend there's nothing to that this actually is transparent here I just created a basically a white shape and made a transparent it just lighten that up feel like a reflection but these this is just a hard and simple gravy in there nothing to that just a drawn shake with a grady in't same way up here the picard is just it's just they're just shaves this is this all this is is a hot dog shaped with the shadow it's really pretty simple it's the effect that you're trying to get in the context of the piece that you render for like any painter would s o surprisingly a lot of these things are very simple I mean this this whole quarter inch plug thing, you know, it's, just a simple blend. A little white highlight, and then I just drew some shapes in here and with the right value using all those, you know, all those old teachers, they're talking to me when I'm drawing this and telling me, you know, lighter, darker, warmer, cooler you're just kind of reacting to that, as you would any kind of painting. So I so I enjoy doing this. An illustrator, I thinkit's a great time, right on the there's. A couple of things you've touched on aah! And you said earlier that you'll try anything. Someone, um ah, nikita wanted to know. How do you how do you stay inspired? And where do you gain your inspiration? I think the questions started with the notion that there's a lot of hand letters out there where, you know, and how do you get inspiration and things that kind of that diversify your style. All of that, I think, comes from the assignment. Generally, someone will say, jay, you know, I need you to do this, and what I might do is throw in some twisted thing I might think of, and they'll accept it, and now I have a new, you know, a new piece. Staying inspired? I mean, this is just who I am and what I do I you know, I realized for a long time that when I'm not working I'm depressed, you know? I really like to do this. I really enjoyed doing it it's something there's just such a big part of me. I've done it since I was a child and my normal talk I talk about jon nee used to have a tv show back in the late fifties, and I used to watch that show religiously and drawn up that is his set and and drew an oil painting, you know, it's, just a part of, um, it's a part of who I am, I can I can take the most boring job have a good time. I really can't I it's just, you know, it's it's about getting from point a to point b in going through the process and and making it work. So is there any particular web destination or o r any kind of resource online that you could you could say, hey, here's one, one or two great resource is for inspiration for typographer, tze and hand letters um don't don't mean to put you know, I think it's, you know, it's interesting, because I think it's where I am in my career is that I ugh it differently when I was very young, I would you know, I would collect cigar labels and books and all these things that I would look at and I found a million books up here. I mean, old old books and all kinds of books on you know, you know, george becomes book universal penman for all kinds of scripts and but the thing is, after after a certain amount of time, all this dust in your head you don't really need to look at it, you kind of look into your brain and think about it the reference now is is kind of in my head it's not you know, it's not something I goto who look at to get its fire. I get inspired by things like, you know, dexter breaking bad and chambers that's my inspiration and just crazy tv shows that, you know, people keep pushing uh help into me to me in the end this guitar and everything I do in the end it's all the same thing it's just about drawing it's about sitting down and drawing. And you guys, if you sit down and draw a little bit and try to execute those things, you'll see that that you know, that's that's where the inspiration is putting pencil to paper because one thing that happens when you put pencil to paper and you scan that thing in about ninety percent of it is done that's the way I do it because I know what I'm going after and I unfortunately not one of these people they can go straight to the computer and start doing a drawing it's two forms of the the computer for me is an execution the drawing is the creative great well, that kind of leads me to one of the question one other question steven pay tranny wanted to know do you use tools to create those curves or do you do it all freehand ok are you talking about the old fashioned thinkings and talking okay the old fashioned way I would use anything if I needed a circle on the plate a plate was the right size and trace around a plate you know I would use anything I have you know, full sense of lips guys I have uh you know, french curves I mean, if you look at these this is made out of pieces of a lips guy do you know there's? Probably a piece there there's a piece there there's a piece there there's a piece there you know? And what you have to you have to link all those up in your thinking is very tedious very time consuming, but I guess I have a lot of patients I think that's probably the key anything my career is just you know, a lot a lot of patients for doing it and then again like you to do it so so I mean yeah, you know, to do this kind of turn him and get that right? You know, it takes patients takes time right on well, gerard, I think we're out of time now but you know, it seems like everyone just we just got a comment saying, um you are legit and I think I really man you know, I think we're all kind of feeling that way, you know, people who use type and we've you know, as designers, we we play with type sure, but you yeah, this is a great so inspiring to see that you're not just taking digital typefaces and manipulating them you're starting from from scratch in many cases the just the troop purist and it's really incredible to get insight into how you work and in the process that you go through so thank you so much for that. Oh, thank you, thank you very much, klaus I was trying to get to my last light here tio just quickly show our our sponsors yeah, sure getting getting there it alright? I get it the while you're getting there, we'll do one more question someone asks karen perry wanted to know um well, actually, it's two questions that are kind of related. How much time do you typically get tau execute? And on our kind of related note, how many hours does a masthead lettering job take these days? Okay, well, all of those air difficult to answer because every job is different if somebody wants to see three variation of mass and it's going to take a certain amount of time that somebody wants to see twenty you, you know, you have much more of a compound timeframe, um, trying to relate that, teo, you know, too say, say money, for example, you've been a job. It doesn't matter how long the job takes once once you, you know, agreed on a price because the job is only done when it's done and it's only going to be is good as you make it, and you're gonna have to live with it. One thing that I've always felt good about is that when I've done a job completed it and I felt good about it, I knew in the future I would be looking back at that and I would have to, you know, have to live with it. And I'm not really answer your question, but I'm trying to answer the question about is how much time something takes is really not important because it's going to take a much time as it needs to be finished and be correct and the right and solved the problem for client some jobs take a day, some jobs take ten days. I mean, it just it just depends on the complexity. If you had asked me about a mask at obviously something that's, four letters is a lot quicker than the one I showed you with the national catholic register, which has all those letters and illustration. You know, time is just time bond. You? No way. I spent a lot of time sitting. Now you're doing this stuff on bottom line. Is it? Sze were problems offered. We have to solve the problem for a client. Clients have a problem. They wanted to go away, and we make it go away. That's the whole day. There. Right on. Well, thank you so much. I wanted teo. Ah, eileen, if you're if you're there, um you're welcome. Teo. Chime in. Yeah, I just wanted first of all. Thanks, everyone for joining us today, for as I referred to the amazingly talented george huerta I also wanted to let you know that this webinar will be available as an on demand hopefully by monday. If you've purchased the live webinar, you will have automatic access to the on demand, but it'll also be available. If you know other people would like to purchase and view it, it will be available on the typecast page of the type studio website and I also wanted to talk to invite you to our next webinar, which will be march twenty second, two weeks from today. To hear jeff fisher of jeff fisher local motives talk about what type is your logo he's been doing this for over thirty five years. He's done some amazing work and I invite you to join us for that. I I also invite you to spread the word let's. Keep the program going if you have any comments, questions, suggestions for topics or even presenters feel free to e mail me at the influence type studio. Ah, and on that note, I want to thank everyone again. Our gerard of presenter klaus and everyone so, thanks very much, everyone. Hope you. Thank you. All right, take care. Bye bye.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Select the best typefaces for your design
  • Work efficiently with OpenType
  • Think and approach projects like a type designer
  • Identify and remedy common type crimes


Typography is an essential element of design: it should communicate your message effectively, and with purpose. Yet, even professional graphic designers can lack the “eye” and deeper understanding of type aesthetics.

In Typography Fundamentals, author, educator, and expert Ilene Strizver teaches you how to take full advantage of the power of type. You’ll learn not only the fundamentals of typographic design, but also how to “see” type through new eyes - all to make more sophisticated type choices that will open doors and set your work apart.

With your enrollment in Ilene’s class, you’ll also receive access to a webinar hosted by renowned designer Gerard Huerta.

Check out Ilene’s related course, Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning & Finessing.


This class is designed for creative professionals of all levels working with type, whether you are brand new, or just want to build on your existing knowledge and fill in the gaps. In-house design teams, web developers, motion graphic designers, recent graduates, freelancers and illustrators working with type: don’t miss your chance to learn from one of the most respected educators in the field.


Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio is a noted typographic educator, consultant, designer and writer. She specializes in all aspect of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Ilene has written and lectured extensively on type and typographic design to both students and professionals in the field. Ilene formerly was the Director of Typeface Development for International Typeface Corporation (ITC) where she developed more than 300 text and display typefaces with such respected and world-renowned type designers as Sumner Stone, Erik Spiekermann, Jill Bell, Jim Parkinson, Tim Donaldson, and the late Phill Grimshaw. She “cut her typographic teeth” by working on Upper and Lowercase (U&lc) and other type projects with such legendary icons as Ed Benguiat, Aaron Burns and Herb Lubalin. Her clients include Monotype Imaging Corporation, International Typeface Corporation (ITC), Adobe, Linotype, Time Inc., Whole Foods, Harlequin Books, Somerset Entertainment, Integrated Marketing, Parents Magazine, MeadWestvaco, Nationwide Insurance, Life is good, and Johnson & Johnson. Ilene authors the popular column TypeTalk for, as well as fy(t)i For Your Typographic Information and the Fontology series for Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She publishes the popular FREE enewsletter, All Things Typographic, and conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Ilene is an adjunct instructor at School of Visual Arts in NYC. Connect with Ilene online: | Book: Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography | Facebook | Twitter


a Creativelive Student

Ilene's courses on Typography are jam-packed with excellent information that will elevate the quality of your work in print. She knows what's current, but also what's important in long-time standards, and why. Just an incredible amount of information! you will enjoy watching, but you will want to purchase because of the sheer amount of useful content.

a Creativelive Student

This course is packed full of the answers to questions I've had at the back of my mind for a long time. Ilene teaches with great clarity, her material is well organised, and she teaches at a good pace - with a bit of humor to lighten it up. I found it really useful.


This course taught me very well about Typography. I knew almost nothing before taking it (I barely understood then the difference between Serif and Sans-Serif...). And now, I feel that I really understand a lot. It is a very good starter to learn when, how and why to use type. Plus, Ilene is a great teacher with a big sense of humor and a lot of experience in Typography. A must have for everyone who want to understand something about types and fonts.