One of the reason I love doing posters and book covers is to have the opportunity to do something fun with type. Each letter has its own character, its own essence, and it’s fun to try to craft something new that still captures the essence of the letter. But just as important as the letter forms is the shape of the word, and how that shape and style relates to the meaning the word or name represents.

What started me thinking about doing a blog post on my type work was a job I got recently doing just the type for an ad. The assignment was to make the words look like a bunch of spilled water being soaked up by this sponge. It took a lot of back and forth with the art directors, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Of course, I’m usually doing type for posters. Sometimes, I start with an existing typeface, and I’ll embellish and distort it as I see fit. That’s how I did this type for the poster I did for the Pixies: I started with the word set in a circus font called Captain Howdy (a dorky name, I know, but what do you expect from a circus font?), and I just re-drew it and embellished it till it looked right.

But more often I draw the type freehand. I have a few different “modes” of doing type. One is a sort of spooky serifed typeface, where I use the serifs (the horizontal caps you have in a face like Times or Garamond) almost as decorative elements that taper and spindle off in different directions. (It should be clear how much of a debt I owe to the type designs of the filmmaker Tim Burton, who must be the most multi-talented man on the planet.)

Here’s another in this halloween-ish style, which was part of a poster I did for Rupa and the April Fishes (this is the type for the opening band):

I also have a loopier, more fluid type design that I like to do, that is less spooky and halloweenish. Here’s what I did for the Stern Grove festival — this type appeared on the poster and was also separated out for banners and signs and things at the event.

I used this style of type for the cover of the 7×7 magazine that I did last June:

And for the logo for the fantastic band the Sippy Cups, a children’s psychedelic rock band that I do a lot of art for. (If you go to their site, check out the nice way they “flashified” the logo in the corner of their splash page!)

I’ve got more type projects coming up, so I’ll post those when they’re ready!