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Have you ever let your students go rogue in the font panel? If so, chances are you’ve been bombarded with some of the most hated fonts of all time. Comic Sans, Papyrus, and Curlz anyone?
Although your students may not think about it, the font they use can play a huge role in how a paper, design, or work of art is perceived. If you have a background in graphic design, you might naturally geek out about type. But, this isn’t always the case for our students. Today we’ll look at how to change that.
Typography is everywhere. It’s used on this page, on your social media feeds, in books, in advertising, and countless other places. Furthermore, the way characters or letters are designed plays a big part in the message we receive. In short, fonts express emotions and moods.
Try out this “Fonts Have Feelings” activity to show your students why font choices matter.
Are you looking for even more engaging instructional strategies? If so, take a peek at the AOE course, Instructional Strategies for Art Teachers. You’ll leave the course with skills to help deliver your message more effectively, refine your demonstrations, and perfect your teaching language.
Have you ever seen a word where the “c” and “l” are a little too close together, making the letter look like a “d” (cl=d)? Have you ever read a piece of text that looks like it’s squished together, leaving you with a headache? Bad spacing can make text difficult to read in more ways than one.
Teaching your students about the importance of kerning and tracking will help prevent these issues.
Kerning and tracking are both important when trying to produce easy to read text.
An excellent way for students to practice identifying the right amount of spacing between characters is by playing the “Kerntype Kerning Game.” The mission of the game is to achieve readable and pleasant text.
The moment your students discover an open source font database like DaFont, they become addicted to downloading new and exciting type. So why not teach them to create their own? There are many ways to create fonts. However, for beginning students, many of those programs can feel overwhelming. Instead, introduce your students to the Fontstruct website. On this website, students can easily create an extensive font alphabet that can be downloaded for use.
Once your students begin exploring and understanding the world of typography, they’ll want to take their designs off the computer and into their artwork. An exciting method to try is foil printing.
You can try out the technique by following these steps and checking out this video.
If your students use a program like Photoshop, the ability to transform and manipulate text is endless. From making letters look like they’re on fire to making them glow, there is something for all of your students to explore.
The concept of transforming text to look like what it spells is known as iconicity. One example would be making the word “glow” look like it was actually glowing. Iconicity is the perfect way for students to explore text effects. Start by having students select a word. The goal is to make the word look like what it says. To get your students started on over 100 different text effects to explore in Photoshop check out these tutorials.
Typography is an essential part of the design process and should be taught alongside other graphic design skills. Entering the world of fonts and typefaces with beginners might seem daunting, but trying out these five activities will help your students learn to love typography!
What is your favorite way to teach typography concepts to your students?
What do you find challenging about teaching typography?