What's Your Typography?

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11830

When we think of art, we usually picture pictures, paintings, and sculptures. We may overlook art that we look at every day: typestyles, or fonts. Learn how expressive and artistic letters can be!


Visual Arts

Fine Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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What is the coolest font of all? Is it:

font examples

Our eyes take in countless letters, words, and sentences per day.

Even for people who do not consider themselves readers, the demands of modern life and the realities of the Internet mean that we are in some ways reading more frequently than ever. Each of the letters our eyes take in is like a tiny work of art. Yes, it's true! There are people who work hard and with great inspiration to create new ways of printing the written word, a form of art known as typography.

These kinds of artists, known as typographers, are the ones who create fonts, the different styles of letters. Most of us know the word "font" from our favorite word processor. It is sometimes fun to play with fonts and discover the many forms our typed words can take!

Let's play with fonts for a bit.

  1. Browse a website that stores hundreds of interesting fonts. Use the website, Dafont.com, a clearinghouse for all kinds of fonts, many of which you can download and install for free. As you browse, keep your eyes open for fonts that would be good for each of the following. Be sure to choose a different font for each:

    • Which font would you use for a school report?
    • Which font would you use for a birthday party banner?
    • Which font would you use for a wedding invitation?
    • Which font would you use for a computer advertisement?
    • Which font would you use for a heavy metal album cover?
    • Which font would you use for a mystery novel?
    • Which font would you use for a pirate movie poster?
  1. Then, find six or seven other fonts you think are pretty cool.
  2. For each, write down the feelings, mood, or ideas it invokes, and what you would use it for.
  3. Browse through the collection of fonts until you find one you would like to select as an answer to the questions above. Write down the name of the font, trying to imitate its style by hand.

Share your ideas with your parent or teacher, then reflect on the following questions and discuss:

  • Why are certain fonts associated with certain moods, genres, or concepts?
  • Why would a teacher or professor expect reports written in only a simple font like Times New Roman?
  • In what ways can typography the designing of new fonts be considered a form of visual art?

Graphic artists who obsess over creating new fonts, also known as typographers, are continually trying to come up with newer, more innovative ways to express the written word.

In the Got It? section, see how other artists take inspiration from some of those fonts and incorporate them into their artistic designs.

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