Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Missing Characters


To learn to use Adobe Illustrator tools by example. To study the unifying modular system of type design.


Type designers work very hard at unifying all the characters of a typeface so that they look like they belong together. One approach to unifying a typeface is to repeat visual motifs over and over by re-using design elements from one character in another character. In this exercise, you will construct missing characters from a typeface by copying existing elements from other characters in the same typeface.


reconstructing missing characters

  1. download starter file
  2. open "" in Illustrator
  3. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window
  4. view > outlines (cmd+Y)
  5. study the design of the typefaces (what is the difference between "old style," "transitional," and "modern" serifs?)
  6. reference the design of the missing characters
  7. copy select elements of your choice to reconstruct the missing characters (direct select tool)
  8. save, print


  1. add your name and the exercise number to the file
  2. clean-up your printable area and add credit.
    In 9pt Helvetica, 1/2" from bottom and right side of the page add:
    Exercise #: Exercise Name
    Your Name
  3. print a proof for grading
  4. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/1/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young