Type flyer

GDES-270 fall 2020 (David Ramos, American University Design)
ramos@american.edu · office hours

Create two different flyers, publicizing an (imagined) panel about the First Things First design manifestos. Explore type as a medium—aim to present information clearly, and also to create visual interest.

photo of type on a highway sign

Field testing of Clearview, a typeface designed especially for use on highway signage. (Photo by Terminal Design.)

Stages of work

1. Background/research

Read the text, think about the flyer content, and read background material for the event.

2. Sketching for ideas

Start by working with pen or pencil, on paper. Draw thumbnails for flyers, no larger than 2 in. on their longest dimension. If you prefer, you can sketch on a thumbnail template (PDF). For advice on sketching text, see a Smashing Magazine article.

Think about:

3. Detail design

Next, move to the computer. You’re welcome to work in Figma or in Illustrator.

Design your first flyer, using a single typeface. For this version, you should keep type size (point size) constant, but you may choose alignment, case, style (roman/italic) and weight (bold/normal/light).

Design a second flyer. This one may include two different typefaces (one serif, and one sans serif). You may vary type size, alignment, case, style, and weight.

4. Revisions

Create further iterations of the two flyers, based on feedback from critiques and your own reflections.

5. Export your work and turn it in

Export the two flyers as a PDF. Take photos of your thumbnail sketches. Upload these documents (to Blackboard §001/§003 ) to turn them in, and add your flyers to the shared Miro board for critique.




For this project, choose from four font families. All are free/open source (so you can download and install them), and all are available within Figma. Do not use any other fonts.


Use all of this text in your flyer. You may rephrase or resequence the text.

We, the Undersigned
Reconsidering First Things First for 2021
A panel with Rick Poynor and Paola Antonelli
Moderated by Ellen Lupton

American University
Abramson Family Recital Hall Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

November 5, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Rick Poynor, author and design critic, founded Eye magazine and co-founded Design Observer. He helped coordinate the First Things First 2000 manifesto.

Paola Antonelli serves as Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design at the Museum of Modern Art.

Ellen Lupton directs the MFA in Graphic Design Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.


The First Things First manifestos: