Type as Image: Research

I started this project with a little difficulty as I had no idea what direction I should take. After looking through some of previous semester’s students’ work, I realised that this project was tricky as it was not solely typography, but rather creating type as an image.

I started the ball rolling by reading up and doing research 
on typography as well as searching for examples and 
inspiration online - from Instagram and Pinterest.

John Foster – Dirty Fingernails

“We can all choose the same font for a project, but we could never draw identical typography”

Keeping a Diary by Sagmeister Inc. 

  • Instalment series are called, ” Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far”
  • Sagmeister adapted what had been a still photography exercise into a short movie

Having Guts Always Works Out For Me by Sagmeister Inc.

  • “This time we built the typography in wildly different ways and locations”
  • Showed the before and after effect in photos
  • Explored various mediums and were experimental

Temporary Type by Oded Ezer

  • Used industrial conditional air fillers
  • Looks as if they were made out of ashes or dust
  • “I’m testing the intersection between typography and art” – they have the same meaning but not a medium for direct communication

Flight of the Conchords by Subpop Records

  • Pop Art 1970s style
  • Hand drawn illustrations
  • A surreal landscape of shapes and colours
Ina Saltz – Typography Essentials (design principles when working with typography)

– some points that I felt were interesting and have not never really thought about before –

1) Using Letter as Form

  • each letter is a shape unto itself
  • series as an illustration
  • can be expressive when used alone

2) Emphasis using weight

  • when you stay within the same type family and vary the weight of the family member
  • it can create contrast and more emphasis on certain alphabets
  • can signal shift in hierarchy

3) High Contrast in Reverse

  • reversing or “dropping out” may be a good effect but it must be done with care and at small sizes
  • those that have at least a moderate stroke weight, with little or medium contrast between thicks and thins – work best with reversed-out type

4) Deconstructed Type

  • can be used as an ornament, as navigation on devices and as pattern

I mostly draw my inspiration from Instagram accounts and Pinterest. Here are some accounts and artists that I’ve come across.

I’ve always been a fan of @artsyalexx. Although her typography works are simple, the colours that she use are very eye catching and easy to relate to. Her works are trendy and very attractive with the younger crowd. I really like the way her fonts always vary in terms of style as well as size in the alphabets. She digitally draws these artworks.

I’ve been following @stefankunz for a while. He turns encouraging words and phrases into typography art pieces. He doesn’t just draw these words on regular paper, but instead he draws them on shoes and even laptops. Any surface can be his canvas!

I chanced upon @goodtype while researching for inspiration. This Instagram account consists of so many great typography examples and has allowed me to look at the variety of letter forms and ways to play around with form and style.

Jing Zhang is an illustrator who has done an alphabet series. She takes a single alphabet and manipulates it. Its almost as if she creates a world out of one alphabet.

Raganath Krishnamani is an illustrator that also occasionally plays with alphabets. Similar to Jing Zhang, he also manipulates letters, adding elements to them so they look like they are a world/building of their own. His other illustrations are also usually quite dark with lots of shadows.


After doing research and looking at many different artworks, I was more certain of the art direction that I wanted to follow. I decided to go with illustrations as I thought that illustrations will be the best way to portray my ideas and thought process across.

See my next post for my process and final compositions!

Leave a Reply