fonts and colors

Assignment Overview

Printable version of the assignment: wolff-font-color-assignment.pdf

Tufte (2006), Lupton (2004), and Gage (1999) make clear that the architectural components of texts (letters, words, colors) are meaningful when considered in the context of their use. Too often, however, font and color are overlooked in our pursuit of creating a larger meaningful text filled with sentences, paragraphs, pages, and images.  The fonts and colors we choose can, however, hold significant meanings and make important arguments about the author, the text, and the nature of composition, such as when David Carson published an article on Bryan Ferry in Zapf Dingbat. A clip about that from the outstanding font documentary, Helvetica:

Fonts and colors can be leveraged to create meaning.

This assignment is going to engage the idea of leveraging fonts and color to create meaning by asking each of us to design a font using FontStruct and a color palate using Kuler. The font and color palette should be designed to convey particular meanings. They also need to be readable so they can be used in our final presentations.

A key portion of this assignment is to document the development of the font and color palette, and to think about how that process contributed to the resulting final product. Please keep all sketches, drafts, screen shots, and other artifacts relating to their development. Scan them into the computer so they can be used for your final presentation.

Assignment Details

  • Create accounts at FontStruct and Kuler
  • Read through the tutorials and FAQs
  • Create pencil sketches of your font, labeling the letters in ways consistent with Lupton’s discussion of the anatomy of letters (pp. 34 – 35)
  • Design, name, and save your font and color palette (color palette can be informed by a photograph you have taken)
  • Make your font and color palette public
  • Write a blog post in which you introduce and link to your font and color palette, summarize the ideas that informed their development, and discuss what meaning they hold (please refer to Lupton and Gage)
  • Include screen shots of the font and color palette in the blog post
  • Install your font on your computer
  • Present font and color palette to class
  • Hand in Word copy of your blog post (including images) composed using your font.

Due Dates

4/12 4/19: Blog post due
4/13 4/20: Presentation to class


Sample color palette, Hitch, created by Bill:

Color palette informed by this photo that Bill took:

LJH Hinge

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