Posted in Humanities

Typography and Lettering project

Made with Padlet

Our first task was to find songs that we would use for our design. The very first song I thought of was “talking to the moon” by Bruno Mars. There wasn’t any particular reason, but I thought the lyrics for this song were pretty cool, and I have been listening to it recently. Then, I wanted to have a rap music option since I usually listen to many rap songs. So I decided to pick out some artists known for their lyrical talent: Joyner Lucas, Cordae, Kendrick Lamar, etc. I just went with Kendrick Lamar since he is a rap legend, and even English IB courses are studying his music for his lyrics. Then, I had to choose  between “DNA” and “Humble.” which were two of the most popular songs that Kendrick produced.  I originally wanted to do “Humble” because that was my favorite music. However, I realized that “humble”‘s hook contains many swear words that would make it school inappropriate. Therefore, I just switched it to “DNA.” For my third song choice, I wanted to do one from my childhood, a nostalgic and heartwarming song. Without hesitation, I chose Spongebob because my entire childhood (until middle school) was about Spongebob. I used to love the show and watch it every day. It helped me through bad times and made me laugh my worries away. Therefore, I chose the song “It’s the best day ever,” by nickelodeon which is a song that I still sometimes listen to. 

Now that I got all the music I might want to design, I had to choose between them. And to do that, I decided to create some rough drafts of each one and see how they turned out. The factors that I considered while choosing for my final songs were: 

  1. Did it look creative?
  2. Did it have any areas that I could work to improve and refine?
  3. If I were actually to design that song, would I have multiple ideas on its appearance?
  4. Do I enjoy making the design?

I thought question 4 mattered the most since you can only produce the best quality work if you enjoy the thing you are doing. As I was working, I started to like the SpongeBob song more. I liked how Spongebob has a bright atmosphere and can put a smile on a person’s face. I also loved working with bright and tropical colors. My two other songs were pretty dark and gloomy, which made it less enjoyable to work on. Therefore, I made my final decision to go with Spongebob.  However, I will explain the process for each song. 

“DNA” by Kendrick Lamar

The very first thing that I did was just create rough drafts on what type of fonts and colors I could use for this song. Since this song is pretty dark and hard, I wanted to avoid bright font colors. I also wanted to incorporate red since DNAs are related to the human body and black since some of the lyrics in this song are pretty dark. These were some of my rough drafts:

In this rough draft, you can clear see that I tried using different font sizes as well as different font color and effects to create emphasis on certain words. I thought in this song, the words “loyalty” and “DNA” were very crucial. Therefore, I used a color red. For DNA, I used a wet paint brush effect in an attempt to imitate the blood splatters since DNAs are in our body.  When writing “loyalty”, I wanted to express the classiness of loyalty. Therefore, I used a Montagu Slab font which makes the word “loyalty” look fancy.

For this rough draft, I took inspiration from the typography design on the right.I really liked this example because my song also needs emphasis on one word only which is “DNA”.  Since this work also puts emphasis on one word “attention”, I thought it would be a great example I can follow. Therefor, if you look at my rough draft on the left, you can see that I have the black background and white font setup for a clear contrast. This would make the texts more easy to read. Agin, I also used the color red for “loyalty” and “DNA”. However, this time, I took inspiration of the neon light effect on the right and applied it to my rough draft. If you look at “DNA”, you can see that I air-sprayed weak red around the “DNA” to create a neon light effect.


This one is the roughest draft where I just play around with the fonts again. This time, I tried a horror font called “Another Danger” that I found on I think the font had a similar look as the design on the right which was also one of my inspirations.

Then, I decided to level it up and tried creating a more advanced rough draft:


On the right was my inspiration for my refined rough draft. It showed usage of scale, movement, and negative space to effectively create the symbol of “DNA” by only using the word “DNA”.  Looking at this image, I wanted to create a rough draft where I would instead replace  the “DNA” spaces with the lyrics. So I created a refined version of my rough draft. On the right, you can see that I filled out the Outer part of the DNA with my lyrics and used purple and red to color the inside of my DNA. However, you can notice that the refined rough drafts still does not look good. It’s because halfway through, I started to lose interest in making this design because the message in the song “DNA” was too broad for me to capture in one design. It failed my 4th criteria for picking the right song. Therefore, my exploration with “DNA” ended with this final design.
“Talking to the moon” by Bruno Mars

For my second design, I decided to work on “talking to the moon” by Bruno Mars. I first looked at the album cover for this design since artists usually have symbols or colors that match the message they are trying spread.

I think this album cover gave me the general color of the song. After looking at this, I wanted to have a yellow moon instead of gray or silver and have a dark background to represent the loneliness that the person was feeling.  After finding the general color, I wanted to look for inspirations.

Both of these designs were good inspiration but the second one was amazing. I thought ‘Wow, this typography design is possibly the best inspiration for my “talking to the moon design’ I thought it did a good job creating that  lonely mood because of the empty black background that resembles an infinite void.


This was my first rough draft. From this design, you can tell that I got inspiration from a lot of the designs. To create that light effect from the “attention” design, I again used an airbrush tool to color around the yellow moon to make it look like it’s shining. For my background color, I used a really dark blue because using black made the background look like space. Since I wanted the background to be a dark night, I just used a really dark blue. However, you can see that my font itself does not have any features to it. Again, while making this design, I ran out of ideas and how to improve more. In addition, I really wanted to do spongebob because I was starting to get nostalgic after thinking about the show. So I immediately dropped this song and started working on Spongebob instead.


“It’s the best day ever” by Nickelodeon

I first looked at the music video again to understand the general theme, color, and mood of the song.

So this is a screenshot of a scene in “It’s the best day ever” music video for spongebob. I took a screenshot at this moment because I think it really captures the atmosphere of the entire song and provides me with a general direction on where I should start. From this image, we can see the sun and Spongebob both smiling. This creates a happy, positive atmosphere where the listeners begin to smile with the characters. Then, the bright color of red, orange, and yellow only help the bright mood of this song. Therefore, I wanted the lyrics typography for this song to have a cartoony feel with positive and happy vibes.  Then, I started looking for fonts.

While looking for the font for “It’s the best day ever”, I saw a photo of a graffiti and it instantly caught my attention. I thought it was exactly what I was looking for. It had that cartoonish feel and was radiating with positive vibes. However, this picture was not enough. I did not want my typography for “It’s the best day ever” to be in cursive because that would make the song appear fancier even though it’s a children’s tv show song. So I decided to look for more graffiti arts that was more suitable.

“Wow”. Those were the words that came out of my mouth when I found this. It was perfect. It had no flaws in my opinion. This font was so entertaining and was radiating positive vibes. I also loved this font because it was a new font. I believe that typography is special because it allows creativity to roam around. It does not have specific requirements and allows beautiful fonts like this one to spawn. After finding my font, I decided to work on my rough drafts to see whether I needed to find new songs.

This was my initial rough draft. Compared to all my other rough drafts, you could definitely notice that I put more efforts into it. It’s because I had so much fun making designs for spongebob. For this design, I was planning to put the lyrics inside spongebob’s mouth but I realized that his mouth was too small. Also, I didn’t like how terrible my spongebob looked. So I decided to put more emphasis on the typography more.

In this picture, you can see that I was practicing the font but also creating another rough draft idea. This time, I just wanted to draw a big yellow sponge to symbolize spongebob without actually drawing spongebob.

This was my refined rough draft. You can see that I really tried my best to achieve that tropical, ocean feel with that bright blue. However, the background felt empty and I really needed more improvements. Luckily, it was time for feedbacks.




So my feedback partner said the 3 keywords for my design were Tropical, vivid, contrast. He said my design had a tropical feel which made me happy since that was what I was going for. He also said that my colors were very colorful and vivid which created a good contrast.

The design elements he saw in my design were line, shape and texture. The only part I agreed with him was the shape part. I didn’t think my edges had any textures nor lines.

The design principles he saw in my design were  balance, contrast, movement, and pattern. I agreed with pattern and contrast because the bubbles were my pattern. I also thought blue and yellow were a good contrast. However, I did not see any movement or balance.

He said my song style felt like tropical feeling pop song. I mean, my song isn’t a pop song but still, I felt good knowing I achieved the tropical ocean vibe.

He also liked how I didn’t have any empty spaces and did a good job with contrast and brightness.He said the design reminded him of a clear sky. I again, didn’t agree with what he said. I believed that my only problem was the amount of empty spaces I had. I wanted the blue background to represent an ocean, not a clear sky so I definitely needed to work on that.



The first feedback that Mr.Griffin gave me was to change my color fill.

My original typography had black coloring the insides of each alphabet. However, Mr.Griffin said if I changed the inside to yellow and instead make each alphabet black, it would look a lot more neater.

And it did. It looked much more cleaner and professional(?).



I was having trouble with the empty space I had on my background. I initially thought of drawing the main characters of Spongebob like patrick, Mr. Krabs, and etc. However, I worried that the drawing would take all the attention away from my typography design. So I asked Mr.Griffin for feedback and advices. He also agreed that the drawing would take the attention away. He also mentioned that drawing the actual characters would give away too much hint on what the typography design represents. Instead, he told me to add elements and designs that explicitly illustrate Spongebob. So we went on google to search for elements, designs, or things that just illustrated the general art style of Spongebob.


Background for spongebob:


This picture caught my attention because of the small bubbles in the background. Every time a scene changes or a character moves, little bubbles spawn in the screen. I thought the little bubbles would perfectly illustrate the general style of Spongebob. So I decided to add them to my background.  I then spent more times gathering things for my background.

These were the cloud flowers that I also added to my background.


From this picture, I also added the rocks with white and purple plants as well as Spongebob’s house and the silver metal building at the back.



In this design, I used bright colors to represent the childish show of Spongebob. I used movement to represent the waves that you often sea in oceans. The bubbles were used as my pattern in the back ground. I think I did a good job with the colors because it really does a good job communicating my song. The bright colors really highlight the friendly, bright, and positive vibe of the song.  I liked how my font turned out because it looks more like lettering than typography. I think it adds more authenticity and does the better job delivering the emotions of this song to the audience.

One thought on “Typography and Lettering project

  1. Hi Kevin, your inspiration and analysis are excellent. Your design process is really thorough and I like how you continued to reference your research throughout your process. The finished poster is really nice – fun, bold, and playful, like the show. Very well done!

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