Going on a Type Hunt

Type discovered around the city of Atlanta

Typography, or the study of letterforms, is all about training the eye to see the visible and invisible. Whenever I teach a beginning typography class at Portfolio Center, I always start by sending my students out around Atlanta on a type hunt. Students are told to look for interesting letterforms in the urban environment: A–Z and 0–9. It is a great way to really study form and learn a bit more about our city. It is also a great way to begin training the eye and getting students to think about the forms of letters and numbers. Also, many contemporary type designers are inspired by type found on the street and in the environment.

I sent my new Type 2 class out on the hunt this past week. They were lucky to have some gorgeous fall weather for their explorations around the city. This morning, we hung photos of all the letters and numbers around the classroom. We had an enthusiastic conversation about what students found and where they found it. The examples were so good, I decided to do something I’d had in mind for quite some time: choosing the best example of each letter and numeral from all the photos taken. It was helpful to have such a decisive group of students and we quickly chose the best examples. The type was discovered around town from the newly renovated Ponce City Market to the Atlanta Beltline, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Virginia Highland and Little Five Points. You can see the results, pictured above.

Big thanks to my Type 2 students: Michael Booth, Czar Armstead, Brendan Brines, Laura Capps, Savannah Colbert, Jaqueline Day, Brennan Holloway, Melanie Maynard, Elle Oser, Megan Pando and Stephanie Dickinson. Special thanks to Laura Capps for collecting the individual images and pulling them together into a grid.


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