Modular Type Elements, a workbook

Design Department at Cornish College of the Arts

Inside spread with reference texts and a page evoking negative space using layers; the acrylic stencil to create alphabetic forms from geometric shapes, and a detail of a diagram of graphic relationships between letterforms.
Tittle page and pocket containing acrylic template.
Spread sample showing a page of instructions and prompts with illustration. Notice that the spine modular letterforms bleed into the signature divisions and integrates to the design of the spread.
Spreads showing some of the “secret messages” as in this case, when the reader is invited to discover the palindrome on the shadow that the page might generate (the figures on the left side are by products of experiments done with the template).
Spread example of some of the last grids of the booklet.

Modular Type Elements, a workbook, contains a brief introduction to drawing letterforms in general—with a modular approach in particular. Together with illustrations, prompts and samples, it includes an acrylic stencil with geometric shapes and adhesive stickers to build characters from the outside in. Among other surprises, the set includes an assortment of paper printed with different grids.

Composed with various digital technologies and mechanical as well as manual work, the design process involved hands-on experimentation, workshops, and a prior edition. For its assembly we used laser engraving and perforation along with photographic methods and relief printing that produce a contrast between—say—the sharpness of vector graphics and the tactile tension of wood printing. Consequently, each work is a bit different from the others. Yet its pages are not precious, but conform an unfinished object, meant to be completed by its owner.

Modular Type Elements is filled with cyphered messages and open endings. A collaborative work since its conception, the back cover invites users to share the samples of their work on social media, with the hope that in the future, we might be able to pull examples from people across the world and turn them into a multiple-authored specimen publication.

Design and concept development, Typographic content
Lorena Howard-Sheridan
Letterforms and digital production
Lorena Howard-Sheridan
Design and content development
Meredith Miller
Hand-printing and binding, vignettes, laser production
Meredith Miller
Text editor
Kate Templeton
Back cover text editor
Julie Sohn
Project link