Type Design

Use Pathfinder To Create Letterforms

Creating a text font takes a long time and attention to lots of details.

For this assignment, you are only creating three letters, but they should look like they are all part of the same typeface.

Think of it this way: If you handed your work over to someone else, could they complete the whole alphabet using your concept?

Look at a variety of “display faces” for ideas. These are fonts not intended for text but to be used in larger sizes and only for a few words at most. For ideas look at a variety of typeface on free or commercial sites. A good one is dafont.com.

Yours must be 100% original. Let me see some developmental stages so do some Save As’s to save as:

  • Your name.letterforms1.ai
  • Your name.letterforms2.ai
  • and so on.

Pick any three letters from these 14:

a or A; b or B; e; g; m or M; p or P; q or Q; R; S

Extra credit for additional letters.

You can see samples here.


Design these letters using Pathfinder. Make shapes. Add them to each other and subtract them from each other.


Pathfinder Tutorial Video from Adobe. Note: In newer versions, Expand “option” now happens without you choosing it.

Lynda.com videos from first assignment if you are still confused about some basic operations.

Otherwise, watch these from the Intermediate video:

  • Chapter 17: Pathfinder Operations
    • Combining simple shapes
    • Understanding all ten Pathfinder options
    • Unite closed paths, join open ones

Watch these from the Fundamentals video:

  • Chapter 10: Adjusting Appearance

Best way to learn: Experiment!


Show a few stages in the development of your font. Hand these in with the final.