Letters Project

Inspired by the work of Herb Lubalin

A quick dig through Google images reveals the nimble genius of Herb Lubalin. (Caution if searching with children: there are one or two risqué magazine cover images out there, so check ahead for what you find appropriate.)

It appeared that he was having fun and that he gave himself permission to experiment. A common idea of his was to play with the idea that the words themselves could illustrate the idea. For example:

Mother and child (below) features a child within the letter O:

Mother & Child - © Herb Lubalin / Tom Carnase, 1965

Mother & Child – © Herb Lubalin / Tom Carnase, 1965

And Beards (below) uses the letters to draw a beard:

© Herb Lubalin / from book Beards by Reginald Reynolds 1949

© Herb Lubalin / from book Beards by Reginald Reynolds 1949


Project: Using letters to illustrate an idea

– pick a favorite word

– brainstorm. How is it possible to use the letters of the word to illustrate what the word means?

I have pasted a couple of ideas below:


Not my best work, but you get the idea!

– get  to work. It may take several tries, or even several words, but all the while your student will be exercising his/her creative thinking muscles. Additionally, your student will be embracing letter forms.

Make a fun extension of the project by looking at logos you see in the coming weeks. Do any of them incorporate this design idea? How about the little arrow everyone eventually notices in the FedEx logo?

Look at these. Many of them use text to illustrate the concept. Others use imagery, but still a great read.


ART Project Ideas from the Greats – Letters with Herb Lubalin