Challenge: Create an outdoor typographic piece that will make the public smile.
Project Materials: Flagging tape from the local hardware store (available in several colors), scissors, and a camera for documentation purposes and process shots.
Time: Three hours (depending on how long your message is).
Step 1: Gather a bunch of friends (type enthusiasts are ideal). Come up with a phrase to publicize. Song lyrics are a great place to start.
Step 2: Plan your design. Begin by creating a grid in Illustrator that mimics a fence. Layer your type on the grid. Select a typeface that lends itself to the diamond shape grid. Vary upper and lowercase, placement, and lockup of your letters. Emphasize words using color, size and style.
Step 3: Execute your design. Using flagging tape, stitch your letters into the fence, following your guide. Select a color that will read well against the landscape. Be sure to count the squares as you stitch so that your kerning and tracking looks good. The stitch is a simple loop, continued from square to square. When you reach the end of a piece of tape, tie it and tuck into the loop.
Special thanks to Steven Smith and Irina Lee for their cross stitching assistance.
Lara McCormick is the author of Playing with Type: 50 Graphic Experiments for Exploring the Creative Impact of Typographic Design Principles, due out in March 2013.