Expressive Typography

By Ellie Wyatt, Ellie Pritchard and Louis Caseley

Pushing the boundaries of type and expressing yourself with limited materials

Don’t forget to share your work or post online and tag @natsatclub



Typography is the way that we visually express a written word. This could include whether a text is upper or lower case, italicised, what font it is written in and how it is laid out on a page.

Typography might often be seen simply as a tool for sharing language, this is certainly the way we interact with it most often!

In this workshop we will flip this idea on its head and use typography to be expressive, abstract, playful and communicative.

Materials needed

  • White paper
  • Black paper (or any other colour!)
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick


Activity part one: Generating your visual material

You have 10 minutes to cut (or tear) out as many shapes as possible out of your paper. These will be your materials for the rest of the activity, so try and make as many as you can with a variety of shapes, styles and sizes

Use the following words as a starting point for creating your shapes: angry, sad, confused, excited, bored, frustrated, awkward, surprised, lazy, ordered

At the end of the 10 minutes you should have a pile of strange and interesting shapes in front of you! Like below:


Activity part two: Making a first alphabet

Giving yourself just 30 seconds per letter, make yourself an alphabet using the shapes available

You’ll notice it will get harder towards the end of your alphabet as you start to run out of the good shapes – here’s where you’ll have to be really inventive!

Take a picture of your full alphabet


Activity part three: Creating your concept

Making type isn’t just about making something cool or beautiful – we can use it to share a message

Spend 5 minutes making some notes (on a post-it note or as a mind-map) about some things you care about. These could be as simple as ‘I care about my dog!’ or ‘climate emergency!’


Activity part four: Making your typography!

Choose your 4 favourite letters and 1-4 things you care about.

Start by selecting shapes that you think relate to your themes. Now start playing around with making letter forms using your cut-outs (you can use as many as you want!)

Remember – you don’t need to make a picture with your letter – it’s about conveying your emotion and thoughts through shape and form!  

Don’t stick anything down until you’re completely happy with your outcome.

Last task – take a picture and send it to us!


Thank you for taking part in the Kingston University London Saturday Club Workshop.

Share your work or post online and tag @natsatclub

Contributed by Kingston University London Art&Design Saturday Club

The Kingston National Saturday Club is run by Ellie Wyatt, Ellie Pritchard and Louis Caseley who represent a wide range of art and design practices and knowledge.


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