Character Design for Beeline (Homework)

In drawing class we got one corporate design assignment: Design modern versions of St. Nicholas, Ded Moros (Santa) and Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden) for the Russian company Beeline. Needless to say “modern” is a very vague description and can be interpreted in various ways. Oh, and the corporate color yellow is a mandatory. Green and red on the hand are to be avoided as much as possible.

I didn’t have a lot of time so I just colored the figures with crayons 🙂

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas


Ded Moros (Santa Claus) Note: One fellow student told me he looks like a professional killer. He's not a hit man XD He's bringing presents and he doesn't want to wake up the kids...


Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden)

I included the bee pattern in every character. After doing some research on the company’s page I figured that’s a must-do.

Go Typomon!

Time for fun typography homework!

This time we were supposed to create 15 different monsters/animals by using typographical characters only. There were different approaches to deal with this task:

  • minimalism: the less characters used to depict an existing animal everyone still recognizes the better
  • create one huge, extremely complicated creature
  • concentrate on one font
  • and my choice: ANARCHY!

Well, I did have a plan (so it’s a systematical anarchy ;)). I picked an interesting font and just started trying out and analyzing the font’s characteristics.

Here is my fine assortment of Typomons!

This exercise is supposed to make you see more than just boring letters and teach you to make a more illustrative use of typography. And it’s supposed to make fun I guess 😀

Most frequent drawing Assignment

Every 2-4 weeks we have to create new characters for drawing classes. Sometimes we are given preset information on the appearance or the character traits (like being afraid of cats or being shy etc.). And other times we only get names, nationalities or very vague descriptions like “make him/her look modern”. The more creative freedom one is given the more complicated the initial concept can get, but on the other hand you can give your characters your unique design (it’s best not to get too carried away, this is design and not art!).

Well, let’s return to our story. After the accident in Odessa (Harald survived ;)) a new disaster takes place: Someone steals all our luggage and on top of that the police officer we turn to doesn’t speak English well enough to record the exact stolen objects. After drawing (!) every single stolen item (this was part of the homework) everyone leaves the police station disappointed…

(Western reading direction) As already said, some of the main characters leave the police station. Harald (panel 4) feels bad about not being able to overtake the bandits because he's sitting in a wheel chair (he used to do a lot of martial art). While speaking a young man called Ludomir suddenly appears out of nowhere overhearing our conversation. He is a Ukraine student and he HATES criminals, hence he decides to help us and inspires Harald to take his destiny in his own hands and stop feeling sorry for himself.

Ludomir takes everyone to Olga, another Ukraine student with psychic powers, who can help find the luggage. She performs an exhausting ritual with her magical orb and gives Ludomir the "card of answers". He reads it and it turns out the stolen bags are at the police station. Everyone assumes the police officer is a criminal himself. Ludomir is full of rage and comes rushing into the policeman's office accusing him. And indeed, the he has the bags, but it turns out they were just retrieved. The accusations were uncalled-for.

Well, this is the main story so far 🙂

Oh right, designing the characters of Ludomir and Olga was part of the homework, which was mainly to show how the stolen luggage was found. These are my Ludomir and Olga:

Given information: The names, both are Ukraine and university students. The rest was up to me.


Our next homework in typography is called “Word-Images” (Wortbilder). We were supposed to create 11 different images (or animations) made out of the word to be depicted. All images had to be in the same format and only sans serif fonts were allowed.

Here is my contribution (hope you get the idea):


here the words in english from top-to-bottom and left-to-right: to avoid, narrow, lust (sexually), pointed, battle, hunger, fear, pacemaker, error, mirror, dead

Unfortunately some of the word-images weren’t as obvious to others as expected…  But I wanted to have fun and try different things, so I guess it’s all right 😉

Typography – Back to the Basics

Over the past centuries thousands of new fonts have been designed. Some emerged out of new means of production others had the purpose to please certain aesthetical or cultural needs. All fonts are organized under the DIN standard 16518 although it has to be mentioned that this classification isn’t very accurate (example: Group Nr. 6 refers to the sans serif fonts which form about 80% of all fonts, hence this group is very imprecise and ought to have more subdivisions) . Unfortunately currently there is no official replacement.

Every font has its own distinctive features, sometimes very obvious ones and sometimes on a rather subtle scale. The best way to memorize some of the basic differences is to actually write some of the key-letters down (with a pen, not digitally). In typography class we were given four pages, each with a different font example, which we had to copy. The fonts were:

  • Garamond (key-letters a, P)
  • Times New Roman (key-letters a,b,g,A,G)
  • Bodoni BE (key-letters e,g,o,R,k)
  • Clarendon (key-letters a,g,t,R,G)

Additionally a short historical background was included to every font (which really helps you memorize the features better). If you want to try it out too you can open any program that can process words in different fonts like Word/OpenOffice/InDesign etc. and type the key-letters. Then you just get your pen and a piece of paper and start copying. Nevertheless it’s a good idea to print out the letters really big and organized in line-grids like this:


example font Clarendon

Bitmap Font Design Homework

In Typography we were assigned to create our own bitmap font from real life objects.

If you’re not sure what bitmap fonts are here’s a short explanation:

Bitmap (also known as raster graphics image) is a term used when referring to computer graphics and it describes a data structure compound of a rectangular grid of pixels. Every single pixel has exactly one color-value assigned to it. Bitmap-based formats (like BMP, GIF, JPEG/JFIF, PNG und TIFF) are best suited for displaying complex images like photos, which cannot be processed as detailed with vector graphics.

So basically, our real-life bitmap font needed a raster and objects to fill in the space describing the character. Some students used burgers, playing cards, candles, bottle caps or Lego. Everyone was really creative 🙂

My idea came to my mind really quickly and spontaneously: LOTTERY!

bitmap font homework

part one

bitmap font homework

part two

I have to confess, I didn’t fill in the crosses in every single box…Actually I just scanned one lottery ticket and 5 different crosses, saved and scaled each cross on a single layer and copied as many crosses as needed on a cropped box. This way I could try out different combinations and spare some lottery tickets (not that I would ever win anything) 🙂

Typography Homework Results

Last week everyone in typography class had to present their homework. We were supposed to search for 25 different versions of any desired letter or number and take frontal pictures documenting our findings. Additionally the cropped pictures shouldn’t be much smaller than 4×4 cm (about 1.5 inch) and a black and white version should be included. We didn’t get any grades but the professor commented on the results.

So here’s my contribution to typography 🙂

1.Typo Homework WS2010

Category 1: "G" with a spur and lowercase "G"

1.Typo Homework WS2010

Category 2: "G" without a spur

I really looked for as many different versions as possible and picked a rather simple categorization. It seemed the professor liked it 🙂

This homework was also a test to see how we are going to present everything on paper! Most students printed their results on A4 sheets without any headlines etc. I went for A3 so I used only 2 sheets. It seemed quite logical for me since I had two categories. It would have looked stupid on more than two pieces of paper! Additionally this way I had enough space for headings. Oh and I went against the professors advice to keep every picture the same size but since it wasn’t too distracting I went through with it quite well 😉

Typography 1

Today I had my first typography lesson.

Basically we were showen different exam works, which were alltogether different, ranging from children’s books to animation and games.

Then the professor gave us two helpful links “every design/art student should visit on a daly basis”. But see for yourself: Fontblog and Slanted. As far as I can see there are no English versions available.

And finally we got our first 2 homeworks.

  1. Pick a favorite letter or number, find at least 25 versions in your everyday life and take photos. Organize the images on your computer, sort them in different categories and print them out. (3 weeks time)
  2. Write your name with an exceptional font the professor can remember 🙂 (1 week time)

Well that’s that. More from typography next week!