Font choice is so important when it comes to design, and it's not always something students think about. It's pretty obvious when a student uses the font that automatically pops up when they start typing. I decided a little lesson on choosing fonts and creating fonts was in order during the 1st semester of my Computer Graphics class.
First, we talked about choosing fonts. I was so excited to share the Comic Sans Criminal website with students since it has great examples of inappropriate font choices. It would have been even better if students were familiar with Comic Sans! Most of them were clueless about the font so didn't quite get the joke.
Font Choice Lesson plan
Jackson Heights High School
Lesson Title: Choosing the Right Font
Rationale: This lesson is intended to teach students to be intentional in their font choices and how fonts can communicate a mood or feeling.
- The class will explore the Comic Sans Criminal website and discuss.
- The students will create a document in Photoshop Elements (invitation, announcement, sign, etc.) with a font that is inappropriate for the occasion or purpose.
- The students will make adjustments to the body of their text to avoid design flaws.
Smartboard and Projector
Procedure- The teacher will lead a discussion on font selection and why it matters. The class will explore the Comic Sans Criminal website and discuss the examples of good and bad font choices. Next, each student will be asked to create a document for a purpose of their choosing but in a font that is wrong. So wrong that it is the opposite of an appropriate font choice. The teacher will demonstrate checking a body of text for design flaws- like “orphans” (single words alone on a line), odd hyphenations, etc. and talk about how to fix the problems. The students should be aware of those design issues while working on their practice documents. If students have a hard time choosing a font or an occasion, the teacher will supply one and the student will choose the inappropriate pair.
Students will either print and turn in documents or share them in the Computer Graphics folder on Google Drive.
After learning how to choose the wrong font (and thereby learning how to choose an appropriate font), students designed their own. We used www.myscriptfont.com which allows you to print off a template, design your font, scan and upload it to the website, and download the finished font file. This took us several tries to get right, and it was still tricky to get the font to look level. The other tricky thing was getting students to remember to trace over their letters with a black pen or skinny sharpie so it would show up better on the scanner. I want to do this again next year, but I think having access to the graphics tablets we got through Donors Choose will make this process easier since we should be able to do it directly on the computer instead of on paper and scanning. I would also like to look into other options for actually turning the designs into a usable font so if anyone has suggestions, please let me know!
After the font files were saved on the students' laptops, I asked our tech guy to come and install them. Students then created preview sheets with a pangram and all the characters to show off their fonts. Next year I may also have students design a font that they use for a specific project. Most kind of forgot about their fonts when they were finished. This was fun to learn about and I plan to make some fonts for my use.