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Design That's Easy as A-B-C

When most people think of design elements, individual letters aren't the first things that come to mind. Sure, selecting an appropriate typeface to complement the overall look or feel of a design is essential. But letters themselves (and the words they create) tend to be more the domain of literary artists.

If you stop to think about it, though, letters truly are visual elements. By themselves, each represents a particular sound or group of sounds. Grouped together, they represent various thoughts and ideas. Even more to the point, though, each letter has its own unique set of shapes. The S, for instance, has its sweeping curves, and the A has its crisp lines and angled peak.

With that in mind, can an entire design focus around a single letter form? Can an individual letter represent an entire idea on its own? Could the letter V, for instance, become a visual metaphor for anxiety? Or the letter X somehow display order? Take a look at the designs pictured here, and see for yourself. As you'll see, each is based around a single letter form, which has been used to convey the desired emotion or idea.

So, the next time you find yourself facing a blank screen, with no idea how to proceed, remember these words... and, more importantly, the letters used to make them.




Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem Solving
by Richard and Judith Wilde

REVIEW
A stimulating, hands-on course in creative thinking, Visual Literacy gets right down to specific design problems and offers viable solutions to them. Nineteen challenging assignments and over one thousand pieces of solution art executed by the authors' students are presented. Each visual problem shows the actual assignment sheet given to the students and includes an analysis of the problem's underlying intent, addressing principles such as framal reference, negative-positive relationships, cropping techniques, and other important issues.


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