What’s In A Name?

Have a look around you and notice the way things are written. Look through a magazine or newspaper, the covers of books, CD’s, or the many products in your kitchen. See how the letters on the newspaper’s front page look quite serious, but those on a children’s cereal box convey fun and are usually accompanied by a little character who beckons you to bring it home. Nothing is random about the design of the words on these products. Their shape, colour, size, spacing have been deliberately thought out to convey information and emotion. This is the world of typography in the field of graphic design. Why not try your hand at designing your name to convey a bit of information about you, like your favorite colours, music, whether you’re more playful or serious…you get the picture.


  • rough paper for sketching
  • good paper or card stock for final drawing
  • pencil and eraser
  • markers & pencil crayons


Start out by considering a few things about yourself like your favorite colours, the style of music you like. Is it rap, pop, classical? What about the books and movies you’re drawn to?


  • If you like Thomas The Tank Engine, join your letters like sections of a train, making the last one the caboose.
  • If you like rap music, try making chubby, graffiti-style letters that overlap.
  • Fond of candy? Each letter in your name could represent one of your favorite candies. Imagine a a candy cane ‘J’ followed by a gumball ‘O’ that sits next to a gummy bear ‘E’ and so on.
  • Are you very creative? Why not tear out some of the letters from magazines and alternate them with your own hand drawn letters.
  • Mad about colour? You could draw each letter on top of a colourful shape. The first letter could be placed on a blue circle, the next letter on an orange triangle, etc.
  • Did you love Alice in Wonderland? You could add colourful little mushrooms around your letters, and the letters could have squiggly, quirky shapes in keeping with the strangeness of the story.
  • If you’re older and crazy about the Twilight series, dark colours, drops of blood and teeth would work well. Your letters could be in a gothic style with tall, narrow letters and angular lines.

Have a look at these websites for more ideas on how to make your letters:

Once you’ve finished your rough sketches and have finalized the look of your name, take a moment to see if the choices you made tell us a bit about what you like. When you’re ready, draw it out in pencil on a good piece of paper or card stock, and colour in using markers and/or pencil crayons.

Don’t forget to show your masterpiece to your friends and family, and see if they can learn a bit about you just by looking at the way you chose to write your name.


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