Assignment 4: Exercise – Playing with words pt.2

The second part of this exercise involved working with the words digitally. I was allowed to write the text in different colours, fonts, sizes and arrange them however I wished on the page. The plus side to this is being able to work with more parameters, the negative side is this sometimes led to feeling overwhelmed by what to choose to work with. I chose to work in Illustrator CS6…

Silly 2I was trying to use bright almost clown like colours and a chunky font with freely arranged text to try and capture the word silly. I think it’s worked pretty well, I would’ve liked the ‘i,l’ to be different colours but the way I’d created the word wouldn’t allow me to change the two.


With the word sweet I began by looking for a handwritten feeling font or script font. I had in mind pastel colours or ice cream colours. I didn’t want a chunky font as this felt to dominant and a ‘sweet’ person isn’t normally forceful. I think it’s a good outcome.


In my mind the word swagger has connotations with rap music and bling Jewellery, it’s brash and bold. So I thought bold, 3D and gold. I changed the ‘s’ to a dollar sign as there’s often a chasing of money in that culture. I would’ve like to have made the gold colour actually look metallic but I hadn’t quite figured out how to do that yet!

SordidI was happy to work in colour on the word sordid, as I felt a mouldy looking green would really fit the word. The word looks like it’s gone off, which is great as it fits the meaning well.


I thought a simpler but still dynamic text would suit the word sophisticated. I chose a grey colour as often sophisticated places or people seem to like grey walls or furniture it’s very ‘in’ fashion.


The word shadow was trickier, I’m not sure if using a shadow on the word is cheating or not? I had to learn to use the grid setting in illustrator for this, the shadow doesn’t quite fit the letters but you get the picture.


I wanted the word soothing to have letters which flowed/joined each other but also to look like a wave. I found an effect which allowed me to manipulate the text into a wave shape, and think it works really well.

Words with a less successful outcome:


I don’t think the gradient had quite the effect I was hoping for with the word snowy. I like the size of the letters and the chunkiness but it doesn’t feel soft like snow.


With the word sodden I was trying to use a water effect or stroke around the letters to make it look saturated. I struggled to get the right balance with the effect so think the word looks a little lost.


I found the word squat really hard to capture. The only thing I could think of was making the letters small and fat. I struggled to think of what colours to use! I tried to add some kind of movement with the lines in a stroke effect. It just looks muddy and dirty, not quite sure that says ‘squat’.


The word speed was really tricky, I had in mind something with racing strips or that stretched, and I just didn’t know how to create that, so I created something small and light looking. I don’t think it says ‘speed’.



The word sleek refers to hair being smooth or glossy. I wanted text that had that flow or hair, how it often moves down and flicks, the l and k do that in the font above. But perhaps it could’ve been created using a hair texture or colour? I chose that shade of purple as a nod to it being fashionable.


I tried to make the word sardonic look a little rough round the edges so this font worked for that. I chose the deep red colour almost to look like blood. Not sure if it says more horror film than cynical…




With the word safe I wanted to create a closed environment for it to sit in, to emphasise that sense of being looked out for or hiding somewhere to be safe. I tried to create a warmth with the orange background and grainy texture. I chose a rounded font for a gentle feel.



I was thinking of squeezing lemons so thought hey, why not make the text yellow and try an actually use an effect to squeeze the text. Think it works okay, would’ve been cool to have a lemon texture though..




I wanted to use a bold, almost cut out font to depict the strength of brick or stone. I think having the lines around fonts gives that edge. I used a tied/stoned effect and a terracotta colour. I think it reminds me of stones/brick of houses.




I can visualise porridge whenever I think of the word Stodgy, so I let the colour of porridge influence my chose of colour. I chose a really heavy looking font with minimal flourishes or opening and I think it works for that bulky feel.




The word saucy was quite tricky to try and find a font for. In my mind there’s a couple of connotations, one is the definition of saucy as “sexually suggestive in a light hearted and humorous way” the other is to do with sauce e.g. ketchup. I wanted a thick/bold font to show that boldness of behaviour but also something bright to make it fun. I’m not sure the example above is the best but it’s what I came up with.



When I think of the word scholarly I think of professors and academics. I also think of calligraphy and ink. I knew I wanted a script style font (I think that’s the correct term), and to keep simple, and formal so black seemed a natural colour choice.



When I thought about the font for Serious I knew I wanted it to be black, and to be still. I didn’t want there to be any sense of movement in the text or colour.  I also immediately thought of Times New Roman, so that’s the font I used. I think I associate it with things like sending or receiving formal mail or text books.




The idea for the word sinking came from my earlier cut out version and it seemed silly to change it! So I kept the same form of the letters descending but tried to add to that effect by having the colours darken as the letters reached the bottom of the page. I realise now it might have  been better to have stuck to the same colour darkening as the letters descending. I was trying to make it look like the the decent you get from looking at the blue of the ocean to the colour change you get at the depths of the ocean (black).



I kept the word shy small and delicate to go with the fragility of that feeling or being shy. Maybe a lighter colour could’ve enhanced that feeling of wanting to hide?



Looking at the word short now I feel it would look better being upright. I chose a font which had an hand drawn feel and an irregularity to it (the letters don’t sit on a straight line) to try and make that feeling of being small? Not sure it worked all that well!



I like the positioning of the letters they look like they’re bouncing or still moving as the object has just shattered. But really I didn’t know how to create the effect I wanted. Looking at the word now I feel like if I’d learnt how to make a glass like texture and used that to fill the letters that would have been fantastic.



I tried to use the 3D effect to make the word ‘supine’ looking like it was slightly leaning or lying back. I did trying lying it down but obviously you can’t really read the text, so it kind of defeated the point. I couldn’t think of a better colour than something quite plain and simple but maybe a sky blue would’ve worked to hint at looking up.



I wanted to use a thin font for the word skimpy as I felt like shortening the gaps between the letters would add to that feeling of the word being light or skimpy. I chose hot pinks, purples, red, as ‘Girly’ colours and as a nod to underwear colours as the kind of thing associated with the word ‘skimpy’.

Final comments:

I feel like I’ve learnt a basic level of text manipulation in Illustrator whilst doing the exercise. I watched tutorials or looked websites for ideas on how to manipulate text, I want to reference these now so I can return to them in the future:

Free font website, which lists by themes.

Handy website for tutorials and tips.

Helpful video on basic text manipulation.

Interesting type website…

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