Inspired by the 2012 Harley Gallery touring exhibition Signs for Sounds: Contemporary Letterforming and Calligraphy.

This activity is suitable for all ages and can be simplified or extended to suit your child/children.

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Colouring pencils
  • Pencil Letter stencils (if you have them)

What is Typography?

Typography is the art of arranging letters to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. For example a warning sign, the name of a shop or lettering on websites. Typography looks at the style of lettering, the size and space between letters. Here are some examples:

Making Letters (20-30 minutes)

1. Before your child starts to create their own name they need to practice some basic ways to make letters. Lettering is usually called Typography.

2. Ask your child to practice drawing the letter styles. If you have younger children, encourage them to first draw the marks bigger and then smaller. They could also have a go at naming them such as a circle, square etc.

3. Now make up a letter using different marks, this could be using dots, dashes, crosses, lines or any other marks.

Younger children may only manage drawing one or two symbols, ask them to choose their favourite to draw.

4. Now try bubble writing

Bubble Writing example

Can you add any marks inside the bubble writing or add some colour to the letters?

5. Turn a letter into something else. Think about what a letter could become, can it be an animal, an object or a toy. If you have younger children, encourage them to choose a letter style they like the best and try that. Or assist by sketching out the letters for them and then ask them to fill in with marks or colour.

Design your Name (45 minutes)

1. Now your child has explored and experimented with different ways to make letters its time for them to design their name. Using the different letter styles ask them to design their name. If your child has a long name it could just be their initials instead. If you have letter stencils you can also use these in the design. They can use one letter style or a variety. Remember to keep it simple and choose a small colour palette to finish off the design.

For younger children, they can just do the first letter of their name or if you have the wooden or plastic letters use them to draw around.

A fun way to start this is to ask your child to spell out their name using objects, toys or building blocks.

Here are some examples for inspiration:

Extension Activities

• Find out more about typography online, can you find any artists that use lettering as their inspiration? Can you create your name in their style?

• Make a sign for your bedroom door with instructions and rules who can enter.

• Do you have a pet, why not make a sign with their name on for where they live or sleep.