November 15 Grid pages 187-199; Reading Presentation; Quiz #9; Discussion about Grids.

Grids and Font Design

Helvetica (2007) 

November 17 Design Activity #9: Font Creation.


* Read: Why you Should Make Your Own Font & take a look at Masi Font

*Use your handwriting to create a guide. Use graph paper or a template.

*Go to Metafonts – or Font Forge — where you will create a custom typeface.

  • Baseline: Where all the letters sit. Think of this like a shelf where the bottom of each letter should rest.
  • Overhang: Rounded bottoms of letters like O and B which dip just below the baseline.
  • X-Height: A line delineating the height of most lowercase letters(notably the letter “x”).
  • Cap Height: A line delineating the height of most capital letters.
  • Ascender Height: Often resting above the cap height, the ascender height limits the very tip of lowercase letters such as “k”.
  • Descender Height: The length of descending marks from characters like “y” and “q”.

font.jpg*Base your typeface design as closely as possible to your own handwriting. Adjust your custom font with the  sliders on the left. See how the sliders change the font in real time. Pay attention to ascenders, cap heights, overshoot, descenders, and contrasts.

*Once you’ve designed your typeface, download it to your computer as a standard .otf (Open Type Font) file, which you can open in apps (like Photoshop or Word) or on the web. Give it a try and document your results.

*Document the creative process of your font creation in your post for this week. Be sure to discuss your handwriting sample and how it relates to your finished product.


  • While designing your “font” think about how the form (grid) helps you align elements in relation to each other.
  • How does the grid unify the design?
  • How does the underlying grid effect scale and placement?

*Write a descriptive blog post about your experience answering the questions above. Include: 1)  5+ clear and engaging images (photographs, screenshots) or a video of your work from the day’s design related activities and 2) a 100+ word write-up, video, or sound file (think short podcast) of what you achieved (or what you were working toward) from a design thinking perspective. Use vocabulary, concepts and ideas from the week’s material. The blog post is due Sunday by midnight.