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Typography Poster Assignment

Type Specimen Poster Design

To develop conceptual thinking skills. To communicate ideas visually and verbally. To explore typography styles. To develop systems of visual organization, and to learn more skills in Adobe Illustrator.

Student Examples


​Design a poster that advertises, and promotes a specific typeface, highlighting the history and purpose of the typeface. You MUST select one from the following typefaces:
  • Arial
  • Adobe Garamond Pro
  • Bebas
  • Bodoni
  • Century Gothic
  • Cooper Black
  • Fertigo Pro
  • Franklin Gothic
  • Gill Sans
  • Georgia
  • Impact
  • Lato
  • Minion Pro
  • Myriad Pro
  • Open Sans
  • Rockwell
  • Times New Roman
  • Trajan Pro
  • Verdana

The poster should strongly communicate the unique visual characteristics of the typeface that is chosen.

The Poster MUST Include:
  • the name of the typeface
  • all uppercase, lowercase, numbers and  other characters. See below:
              12345678910!@#$%^&*()_+=-\|[ ]} {'";:/?.>,<
  • other letters, and numbers to help strengthen the concept

Your poster MUST also include the following in one or more paragraphs. Go online research and find information about your typeface. Find the following information: 
  • typeface designer's name
  • history of, facts about, and/or inspiration for the typeface

Project Timeline: 3-5 days

This project should take 3 or 5 days if done correctly. Any student that rushes thru quickly will have to redo the assignment until it is done to a satisfactory level.


  1. Select one Typeface from the list above.

  2. Research your typeface's history as well as the typeface designer. Write a short paragraph about your typeface and its designer that you will use as copy on your poster. It should provide information about the typeface and fit with your design concept to help 'sell' the typeface.

  3. ​Find other Typeface Specimen Poster designs you like online. Google Search - Type Specimen Poster link. The poster design/s you like don't have to be the same font you've selected. Save the poster design you like the best to you computer.

  4. Make a new document in Adobe Illustrator at 13" x 19" in either vertical or horizontal orientation.

  5. ​Place your saved Typography Poster design file into your 13"x19" Illustrator document by going to File > Place. Move this off the Design area to the right side like the example below:
  6. Make a new layer in the Layers Panel. Copy the design/s as close as possible using your chosen Typeface on this new layer. Choose colors you like, just copy the layout design (scale, placement and arrangement). Shapes, lines, photos, etc. can also be used if these are found in the poster your copying your design from.
  7. To help with using the Adobe Illustrator Tools, such as scaling and rotatingshapes, type, colors, etc. please look at the following PDF document. On the Contents page you can click on specific items to learn how these tools work.

  8. Make sure to create a Clipping Mask on a new layer above all other layers once your design is finished to hide anything on the outside of your design. We did this in our Vormator project. Please review the clipping mask technique in the video on cropping to the right. >>>>>

  9. Save this as YOUR LAST NAME.ai to the correct folder on the Visual Arts V: drive > Computer Art 2 > Your Class Period > Typography Specimen Poster Design

Type History Poster Assignment


This assignment is borrowed/adapted from one by Kate Bingaman-Burt at Mississipi State University.

For this assignment, you will need to design and produce an educational wall poster introducing viewers to the appearance, history, and lore of a particular typeface. You'll try to fit all you can find out about a particular typeface into a visually and informationally effective 18-inch by 24-inch format for viewing at 5-10 feet.

The informational poster is a highly visual and extra-textually focused information genre, combining words, images, and sophisticated layout.

Essentially, you'll need to combine two informational poster sub-genres, the type specimen poster and the "encylopedic" educational poster.

Your poster should not simply summarize an article on the topic. Rather, it needs to take advantage of the large size and simultaneous presentational capacity of the wall poster format. Moreover, in accordance with the conventions of the educational poster genre, your poster will need to give the images at least an equal role in presenting the information.

The images of your poster should look good – but their main function is informative and rhetorical. They need to work with the text (see Tufte).

The deadline for the final poster design and related design script is Wednesday, Mar. 25.

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Design Requirements

  • Follows basic CRAP and Gestalt principles.
  • Exhibits NO surface errors: spelling, grammar, etc.
  • Uses both images and text
  • Includes at least one diagrammatic element
  • Presents the complete alphabet, upper and lower case, and the numnerals 0 through 9
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Poster Samples

Take a look at these mostly typical informational posters:

Old Poster Examples:


Now take a look at these type history posters, mostly made by design students:

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Typography Selection

You may devote your poster to any well-established typeface, with the instructor's permission. If possible, I recommend that you select a CLASSIC typeface, such as any from the following list:

It is your responsibility to do applicable research with respect to your selected typeface, such as who designed it, when it was designed, specific applications for the typeface (was it designed for a medicine bottle, a sign for architectures, its historical and modern (old and new) uses, classical uses, etc. What anecdotes involve this typeface or its designer? You are to report back to the class next week in an oral presentation covering your findings.

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Design Process

After a group discussion of each of your individual typefaces, create and design a poster introducing the typeface to a naive audience (audience or visual information receiver that knows little about the specifics of typography in general and the particular typeface).

The poster should highlight type flexibility, history, anecdotes, etc., and use all of the alphabet including the numbers 1-9 and 0. You may also choose to display other characters (special accents, commas, semicolons, ligatures, etc.). You may use any colors that you want.

You may use illustrations that you create and you may scan and modify relevant images as needed for describing your font and representing its history.

If there is a document of cultural or historical importance printed in the font you select, you may want to use part of this document as a visual/representative element in your design.

Gather and edit your research. You?ll want to balance text with image. In general, as educational documents, your posters should be more textual and informative than the sample type posters linked above, nearer the educational posters in their mixture of visual and textual information.

Your research on the typeface should come from at least three different sources, all of which you document accurately in your DS.

As noted above, the final poster should be 18 inches by 24 inches, horizontal or vertical. With the instructor's permission, however, you may attempt a larger poster size.

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Design Script

Once again you'll provide a design script detailing the decision-making process behind the design. As with the previous design script, you should draw on the readings to support and clarify your decisions. Quote at least twice from at least four of the readings.

Note: No stylesheet required for this DS.

Format: 1.5-spacing, approximately 600 words, divided into sections with headings. Follow Hedrick's guidelines for font and other typography.

Special feature: One section of the DS should compare your poster to two of the linked sample posters.

back to top~ Jonathan Bass

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