Inspired by, and following the reading of Paul Elliman’s “My Typographies,” this two-week long exercise asked the students to create a new alphabet, that could double as letterforms and as a self-portrait. "The assignment was to look at typography both as meaning-making symbols whose function is to be strung together to make language, but also as marks on the page which themselves carry cultural connotations that can be 'read'," submits Lauren Mackler, instructor of the course. "The hope was that while the student looked at the distinct forms, lines, and curves that make each letter, they might also look at the associations of their chosen materials, and shapes."

Each of the students created an ambitious and distinct new series of letters that—while fully-functional as an alphabet—also stood in for an aspect of themselves. As Elliman argues, “Writing gives the impression of things. Conversely, things can give the impression of writing.”

You can check out more alphabets and student work at the course site here.