Type in the environment project
Typography 1

The 26 letterforms of the Roman alphabet and and 10 Hindu-Arabic numbers have become icons in their own right. Each is totally familiar and can be rendered in almost an infinite number of ways. Observant designers often spot how natural and man-made structures can communicate enough visual cues for the viewer to recognize an alphabetic letterform. This project is to develop a collection of photographs of letters as found in nature and in man-made structures. It is an exercise in observing the environment and seeing possibilities.

Seek or notice how letterform cues can be found in environments that were not intended to convey letterforms. Explore what elements are necessary to convey a letter - shape, line, angle, composition. Look at negative spaces, shadows, patterns, texture, and architectural elements for letterforms. Photograph those that clearly convey a letter (a high resolution camera will provide better images - you can check one out from the VRL). Develop a complete set of the alphabet from images found in nature and in manufactured structures. Mount them all neatly in a poster layout or download them and compose the poster on a computer. Compose the presentation to most effectively communicate the images. Include a thematic appropriate title for the poster.

• Do not arrange objects to make a letter or number. The characters must be formed without your input.
• No image can be of an intended letterform or number.
• Do not use the same visual image for more than 1 character (like the M and W).
• Do not rotate or change the orientation of an image. If necessary, you may rotate it slightly to improve alignment.
• You can crop the images, but don’t stretch or manipulate them in Photoshop.
• Color of photographs: open - B&W or full color.
• Poster size: 18" x 24".
• Paper color, paper weight, layout composition, title format: open and reasonably appropriate.

Print info
The maximum print size in the computer lab is 11 x 17. These posters need to be larger than that so you will need to take your file off-campus.
Staples can print 18 x 24 for about $20. Allow 2 hours in case they are backed up so you don't miss the deadline of 3:30 on Monday. You must save your file as a pdf or a jpg for Staples to open it. Take a flash drive or cd.

• Each of 26 letterforms and 10 numerals clearly conveyed
• Unique and unusual sources for the letters
• Consistent theme, composition, or content in the photos
• Neat and well-designed poster presentation

• Understand visual cues of alphabetic characters
• Learn to see and observe design elements in the environment
• See the world with a new perspective
• Practice producing professional presentations
• Provide inspiration and influence

Letter-Photo website
Alphabet Pix website


Images by Clinton Fields, 2006

Note: The layout does not have to mimic the following - they're just examples.