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

Graphic Design Exercises
Illustrator: Type History


To survey historical trends in typography. To learn Adobe Illustrator's production tools by recreating the workmarks below:


Decorative and display fonts can be beautiful, flavorful and fun. But one must be careful not to use them in the wrong way. Because many decorative fonts come from a specific time in history, one must do extensive historical research in order to choose the right font for the right period. Seasoned designers avoid using historical decorative fonts unless they are trying to evoke a specific "retro" style. Unfortuanately, untrained designers have a tendency to use the wrong font for the wrong historical period, resulting in embarassing and amatuerish designs.


prepping for the exercise

  1. download above PNG file (RMB on image: download image to disk)
  2. using Font Agent Pro turn on the following fonts: Playbill, Harrington, Poplar, ITC Anna, Brush Script, Mojo (display set); Woodtype Ornaments 2 (picture set)
  3. launch Illustrator
  4. file > new (cmyk; letter), save as ""
  5. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window

recreating the art

  1. file > place "historical.gif" (as template)
  2. rename "layer 1" as "art"
  3. type the words on the template and spec the fonts indicated
  4. copy type, convert copy to outlines, ungroup
  5. group, size and distort as needed, draw borders and other art as needed
  6. save, print
  7. extra credit: create a wordmark for a contemporary cafe


  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