Creative Workshop #2: Easy as ABC

To exercise my creative muscle, I am completing creative exercises from David Sherwin’s Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills.


 #2: Easy as ABC

Design a typeface that will be composed from elements in the world around you. Assemble your twenty-six-character alphabet using only found objects or environments. Letters may be documented through collage, photography, photocopying, digital illustration, and other appropriate mediums. (120 min)


The weekend that I chose to tackle this challenge, I was also scheduled for two five-hour bus rides. Given that I couldn’t bring many things with me and also had virtually no mobility, the options for this project were limited.

But what about paper? Easy to carry, and possible to arrange and manipulate in close quarters. The only origami I know is the classic paper crane, but it sounded like fun to experiment and see what I could come up with. I had a few basic requirements:

  • Start with a square sheet
  • No cutting or tearing
  • No gluing or taping

I blew the 120 min time limit out of the water (no need to say by how much), because it turns out that transforming squares into abstract letters with no plan requires a lot of trial and error. It also turns out that supplying a bunch of paper and issuing the task of creating abstract letters is a great way to occupy and bond with a creative 10-year-old. My 10-year-old helper gave me a big creative boost, and she is solely responsible for the ‘k’ and for making the ‘a’ as cute as it is.

An origami alphabet of lowercased letters:

2alphabet4

2alphabet2

Fortunately, a lot of letters utilized the same shapes. ‘b,’ ‘d,’ ‘p,’ and ‘q.’ ‘e’ and ‘g.’ ‘u’ and ‘n.’ And ‘m’ and ‘w.’

‘x’ was a killer, and my favorite is ‘j’ (but I could be biased).

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