Graphic Design, Practical Application:
"  The Typography Song"
The Assignment: The Typography Song (from “Design for Communication” by Elizabeth Resnick, Massachusetts College of Art)

Before Starting: Create a "lastname_song" folder on your network space. Each of your canvases will be saved into this folder when completed.

Overview: Using only typography elements and color and texture, students will create a typographic artwork based upon the lyrics of a favorite song (or poem, if a song does not seem appropriate). Typography is traditionally an area where students struggle to "be creative" and use the fonts and letters of a design as part of the design itself. This project will help students to think creatively about letters, colors, and placement of elements in their design.

Background Information:  Students will need to select a lyrical song that offers imagery and meaning to create their artwork.  Once a song is selected, the student will refer to for their exact lyrics to their song.  If you cannot locate the lyrics to your song on this website, I would recommend selecting another song.  This website is unblocked for this assignment, most other lyric websites are not.  And no, you can't just listen to the song from your iPod and write down the lyrics.   We don't have time for that.

I highly recommend acquiring the lyrics of your song and then copying and pasting the text into WORD (START MENU>RUN-  WINWORD) or a Google Doc and saving the document. From there, you can copy and paste snippets of your lyrics as needed to include in your canvas.

Required Elements of the Typography Song: 

  1. The Title and Artist of the Song should be included on the canvas.  If the student wishes to use a distinctive font set on THIS SECTION OF THE WORK ONLY (Title and Artist), they may do so.  All other text in the work must follow REQUIREMENT 2, below:
  2. Students will use ONLY ONE of the following FIVE CLASSIC FONT SETS for their typography (DO NOT USE CRAZY BLOOD-DRIPPING FONTS!):

  1. Students will include ALL lines of the lyrics of their song in their work, laid out in a fashion that the song can be followed from beginning to end. 
  2. In addition, the lyrics will be "illustrated" using Typographical placement of the letters and words to enhance the look of the work by matching the feeling/meaning/imagery of the song itself. 
  3. The student should also include color and texture into the work to enhance the meaning of the lyrics. 
  4. There should be no images or photos in the final piece.
  5. All elements of the lyrics need to be legible.  However, you can use Filters, Blending Modes, etc. to modify text to help with the illustration of your song.  (See the samples below!)
  6. Place your LAST NAME and YEAR in the lower right corner of the canvas!

A Word of Warning:  If you Copy and Paste your entire song's lyrics onto the canvas, change the text to a blood-dripping font, change the background color and claim to be done, you will receive an EXTREMELY poor grade!  Remember, this is a TYPOGRAPHY EXERCISE!  You are using LETTERS as design elements to illustrate your song!  Every line and every word should be carefully and meaningfully placed for maximum impact in your piece of artwork!

Final Product:  Using Photoshop or Illustrator (Illustrator would be much more useful for the manipulation of letters and text than Photoshop...) or a combination of the two, create your final version of Typography Song, using a

27 cm x 12 cm canvas at 300 pixels per inch

(if this dimension is too large for your computer screen, feel free to move down to 150 pixels per inch, but maintain the canvas shape and size, please!)

Sample Works from Ms. Resnick's Course

Note the use of color and texture to help match the feeling and imagery of the song, as well as the well-thought out, balanced layout that enhances the meaning and the feel of the three songs in question. 

Submitting Your Work: When you have completed your final Typography Song, save your file as a .JPG File, call it "lastname_song.jpg".

Grading: This assignment will be worth 150 points total, with the breakdown of points as follows:

  • Proper inclusion of the lyrics of a song= 50 points.
  • Aesthetic qualities of the Typography Song Artwork= 100 points.
  • Failure to save final product as a .JPG file= -50 points.
  • Failure to include name and year in the lower right hand corner= -50 points.
  • Failure to use ONLY the FIVE CLASSIC FONT SETS on the song lyrics= -50