9 DIY Font Wall Art Ideas

created at: 06/08/2010

I have to admit something: I LOVE FONTS! I guess being a graphic designer has a little to do with that. I’m always scoping out typeography posters online, vintage distressed signage, and cool magazine layouts using fonts in an unusual way.

One thing I’ve been noticing a lot of late are simple font posters in the vein of “Keep Calm and Carry On”. A super simple typed sentiment that a lot of places online are fetching for a pretty penny. The thing about it is that most people can make these posters themselves if they just were given the idea and know how. That’s why I decided to bring you 9 different ways to make DIY wall art out of fonts! I kept them super simple and accessible…something you can do in less than thirty minutes and print out and frame.

And now with the holidays coming on, Font art is the perfect customizable gift for your family and friends! Hope you enjoy and are inspired by the ideas.

Before you begin
Before you start any of these project, it is helpful if you already have a copy of Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Adobe also has a less expensive version of Photoshop called Photoshop Elements. These programs will make it much easier to achieve positive results; however it’s not to say you couldn’t get the same results from a word processing program like Word. It just may take a bit more time troubleshooting to figure out the setup.

Any of these projects can be printed to larger poster print sizes. You may just have to stop by your local printshop or copy center to have it done for a small price. You might also consider printing it to a wide format printer if you want it larger than a traditional 11×17 size. Talk to the printshop about specifics if you have printing issues/concerns.

Also, I suggest that if you’re not already familiar with kerning, leading, and tracking, that you do a bit of homework. This can step up your typeography knowledge and ultimately help you achieve better results in creating your own font wall art!

created at: 06/08/2010
1. Go Grunge
There are a slew of grunge and graffiti style type faces out there complete with drips, spray paint effects, and distressed characters. They look great on their own or jumbled and tilted on top of each other. Mix and match letters and numbers for a textured effect. I chose to do initials in the example above.

created at: 06/08/2010
2. Fancy Font Flip
At first glance, the image above just looks really decorative and cool in a Rorschach test kinda way. If you take another look, you will notice that I flipped and mirror my name side by side. It’s a fun way to use the loops and swirls of cursive typeface (this one was downloaded for free and is called Mutlu Ornamental) to create custom art. If you stare at it long enough, you may even find shapes or images in it that you didn’t know was there just like a Rorschach test!

created at: 06/08/2010
3. For Repeat’s Sake
Repetition also makes a strong statement on a wall. Any word, phrase, or series of letters or numbers will be sure to catch the eye. I chose to run the type off the edges of the frame and also embed a not too secret message as well. Actually, the heart for this one was a dingbat font I downloaded called Heart Things 3. There are enormous variety of wingding-like fonts online as well that can be used in wall art projects. I found a slew on www.dafont.com.

created at: 06/08/2010
4. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Take a page from the glossy magazine sitting on your coffee table, and place your type over top of a photo. A quote or phrase that captures the mood of the photo can be a way to add more life/meaning to that image. And though it appears I spent a lot of time editing this photo (burning the edges/saturating it, etc.), I didn’t. This photo was taken and processed using my iPhone. I’m all about doing it the easy way!! You can also take this look off the wall and it would make a great printed invite, cover to a photo book, etc. The possibilities are endless.

created at: 06/08/2010
5. It’s a Colorful Life
Enlarge a phrase/quote/name using your favorite font and set it in a bright colorful palette of colors! It adds a playful touch to your wall art and will make a cheerful accent! This treatment particular looks good on a white or black background. If you’re not sure what color combos work best together, the web site Kuler has great color palettes to get you inspired and think outside your normal color box!

created at: 06/08/2010
6. Tis a Font to be Simple
Follow the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it simple stupid) and use a tried and true font that looks good everytime (my suggestion is Helvetica Bold or Garamond Bold that I used above). Type out your favorite phrase or saying, then right or left justify it. It lets your phrase take center stage and make a powerful statement. Leave it simple in black and white or do as I did and type it on a solid colored background. Sometimes simple really is better.

created at: 06/08/2010
7. Get Googly
I’m a sucker for googly eyes. It immediately gives inanimate objects personality, so why not try it on a font? Heehee. This would make an adorable accent to a child’s room or really anywhere if you embrace kitschy, cute stuff as much as I do. By the way, the font used here is Cooper Standard. You can even purchase multiple paper maché letters from your local craft store, paint, then add the googly eyes in a grouping on the wall. What a fun way to spell out a name!

created at: 06/08/2010
8. Fontapalooza
If you are a bit of a fontaholic, then this wall art is for you! You simply take the same letter over and over, changing up the font for each one. I chose one letter to be a focal point as you can see, then arranged all the other letters in different sizes and shapes around it. This would make a great personalized gift for just about anyone, especially that hard to buy for person!!

created at: 06/08/2010
9. Breaking up is not that hard to do
Break up a word (set in an visually interesting font) into a couple different lines to make a interesting statement. In this one, I took a line from a classic Beatles tune, set it in “Circus” font, and finished off the saying in a simple San Serif.

Hope this inspires you to make your own font wall art. Now you can make your own art that’s totally your “type”!

Until next time Swellions!


Five Fontalicious Fun Finds

Hi guys. Wanted to share some fun font discoveries…enjoy!

1. Love this site that tells you “What Type are You” via design giant Pentagram. Found via ManMadeDIY.

2. Check out this Helvetica Cake I found via SwissMiss.

Screen shot 2010-05-13 at 12.09.46 AM
3. Get inspired by old and new Movie Title Stills via Annyas.com

Screen shot 2010-05-12 at 11.05.06 PM
4. In need of some cool and contemporary fonts? That’s what I’m sayin’! Head over to Smashing Magazine’s 20 fresh and high quality free fonts.

5. I’m in love with the hand cut type and imagery on Owen Gildersleeve’s site

Hope you have a great Thursday!

Until next time Swellions!


Fonty Love

I love fonts and all the possibilities you have for design with them! I’m a stickler for a good grunge, decorative, or handwriting font! I love using them especially for headlines to make something stand out!

I’m pretty picky about what I like, but I wanted to share 3 fonts I found that I think are super cool. I screen captured these images from www.dafont.com. They have such a wide/varied selection on there of really awesome fonts. And while you are there, check out the cool dingbats too! They’d be great for printing out stickers or embellishments for a scrapbook page, home décor item, or jewelry project! Like www.istockphoto.com you can spend hours scouting out new stuff! Here’s 3 I just loved! How about you?




And a total, total shameless plug…here’s a shirt I did that’s in my Swelldesigner Cafe Press shop!

Is there any font you go goo goo over? Until next time Swellions!


Fonts, Fonts, and more fonts!

Hi all! I am getting ready for a dinner out at P.F. Chang’s for a my friend Francis’ birthday (if I accented her name wrong, forgive me, I never quite caught on to how to use my apostrophes the right way – guess I was in goo goo land when I learned that one). Also, may hang out with my friend Carey, who I affectionately refer to as “Care Bear”.

I have a couple of fun projects up my sleeves that I hope to share later in the week, but for now I wanted to share this funny blog video that I saw on my bead bloggy friend Jean Yates. I don’t think you have to be a graphic designer to appreciate this, but it def. helps.

I think my favorite one is Futura! And I can’t believe my least favorite font saved the day. Ha ha. In all reality, in my daily graphic designing, I tend to gravitate to Futura, Garamond, and Helvetica. There are a few decorative fonts that I go to a lot (remember I work in a fun, crafty, cute style for labels and stickers) are Trashand, Blackjack, Duality, and Marydale. I notice that Blackjack is used a lot lately mainstream, so I need to find a new cursive and fun script to use. I don’t like to use the same fonts you are seeing everywhere else. For example, I used to love P22 Cezanne (like back in 2000), but then everyone started using it and soon it wasn’t a go to font for me. Just like songs on the radio, fonts can get pretty stale.
And for the record, my least favorite fonts are Comic Sans, Mistral, Sand (only exception is for scary Halloween design), and Zapfino (this one is rarely used right).

I have a few sites that I peruse for fonts on that feature free fonts:

Font Diner has the best retro fonts period. You prob. have seen a lot of them on packaging, but just didn’t notice.

Font Face has some great ones as well. Once you figure out the front page and how to navigate around it isn’t so bad. There’s a lot of TVesque fonts on this (I actually think they had to take down their version of the Buffy font at one point). If you use fonts from this site, please use them with caution. A font is only good when used properly and in the right setting.

If you are willing to pay a little for some nice fonts, My Fonts has some nice ones on there that are reasonable. They also have this awesome tool called What the font that helps you figure out a font if you are struggling with finding it on your machine. What I usually do is take a screen shot (for PC users, click here to figure out to take a screen shot and for Mac users learn how here. FYI…you may have to take it into a photo software program and crop it just to the text you wanted decoded. It is an awesome tool…when I found it, I was like…”Where have you been all my life??”

Also, The other day while looking in , I saw this cool site called Fontifier that easily lets you create a font from your own handwriting. I am very tempted to try it out!

I am no expert at all on fonts, but they are something I use on a daily basis. I really wish I understood them better and could properly ID them better and appreciate the design of them more and how they are made. If anyone has some cool font links, let me know!

Until next time Swellions!