Creative Challenge: DIY Typography

As a fun way to improve my design skills, I purchased a book by David Sherwin called Creative Workshop. The book includes 80 timed design challenges meant to expand your working process and support innovative ways of problem solving. I’ve had the book for a couple years, but since starting on my quest for creative motivation I knew it was time to bust it out and see if I could find some great inspiration to share. The challenges in this book are quick, averaging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and designed to give your strategies for future projects. Sounds perfect.

Today’s challenge is: Easy as ABC

Create a typeface composed from elements in your environment using either found objects to construct the letters or photographing things that already resemble letters. Avoid anything that is considered to be a traditional letterform.

I began by brainstorming some ideas, thinking about what sort of materials II had around the house that could be used to form letters. The examples from the book include using Q-tips, Jeans, and various liquids (d out dish detergent, h out of honey, etc).

Here’s what I came up with:

Ultimately, I ended up using dominoes. I really love the way this project turned out, but what was even better was the process. It was quick, it got me thinking, and it got me using my hands. Taking the time to stack and arrange the dominoes was meditative and I found myself coming up with other ideas while I worked. As an added bonus, my 3 year old was able to participate and it turned into a learning experience for both of us.


I hope this motivates you to create your own DIY Typography. This was so much fun, it’s definitely an exercise I will be doing again.



For some similarly awesome, and incredibly strange typography art check out Ari Weinkle’s squirming letter forms made from animal appendages here.

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