Verb Words – An Exercise in Making Type Move

The other day in class, the lecture topic for my communications students was on typography. After I bored them with the history of typography and showed clips of typesetters at work (all the things that fascinate me), I challenged them to make their own Verb Words.

Assignment: Your task is to interpret the meaning of a verb by adjusting the spacing, size and position of letters on the page. Things to consider: style of type you will use (serif or san-serif), size of the letters you will use, placement and kerning. Type choices: Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, Georgia, Impact

  1. Stick your hand in the bag and pull out a sheet of paper.
  2. Look closely at the word printed on the piece of paper you selected. Think about what movements or actions come to mind when imagining the word. What characteristics does the word have?
  3. Sit down at the computer and using only the letters in your word, black or shades of black, and M.S. Word®, create a design that highlights the moving characteristics of the verb you selected.

Here’s what they came up with:

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