Make Your Own Typographic Artwork

Guys, did I tell you we moved? Because we moved. And I’m sure I haven’t mentioned it, oh, 900 times since it happened. Anyhoodle, I was cruising group-buying sites one day and there was a voucher for a 24×36 colour print job at a local printer. I thought “Sure! I’ll use that!” (which I frequently think about these group buy things – I am sometimes wrong). So I tried to make something to print – 24×36 is a huge piece, which I know NOW more than ever. I started with the shoes, which didn’t work out [whole story here] and then thought about printing a wedding photo (good heavens I’m so glad I didn’t – that’s so big!). I settled on a little piece of home – the lyrics to Paul Brandt’s Alberta Bound, printed in the shape of Alberta.

How did I do that, you ask? Well it helps that Alberta has a shape that makes this easy – even without graphic creation software. If I was talking about Ontario, it might be a different story. If you’re doing this and chose, say Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Mexico, Kansas, Wyoming, or any other area with straight edges, you’re good to go.

So I typed out the lyrics, and by that I mean copy-pasted, and put them into the shape of Alberta using Adobe Illustrator’s Area Type tool, which is probably what you should use if you’re doing a state or province that isn’t a standard shape.areatype

As with most Area Type projects, a bit of playing around has to occur once you paste your text in there. View things at 100% occasionally so you can see if the font is taking over (which is kind of where we ended up, more on that later). Also make sure you can actually see the shape of the province/state you’re trying to replicate. For example… you don’t want this…areatype2

So now we’ll say you’ve justified everything and changed the font (the smaller ones work better for the nooks and crannies of many shapes). Now in this example (but not in the real version), I pasted the song in there twice and made the font smaller. But I didn’t want to do that originally and now the words are a bit enormous. Again, read: view things at 100%.areatype3

Then you print it at a local printing house, using your group buy voucher or your “print to canvas” voucher that comes along every two days. We found a frame at Target that was big enough, but you can of course print any size and find any frame for it. I had to trim it a little bit because it was SO DAMN HUGE and the frame that I bought was a bit smaller.

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that if you choose a song, you will A-L-W-A-Y-S have that song playing in the background of your mind. Always. Like that time I wrote “hello, you fool, I love you” to Graham on our chalkboard wall and have been humming Roxette ever since.


Back to the Alberta piece. Because the words on ours are so enormous, (read: I kind of hate it, but whatever. Maybe we’ll do it again now that we’re smarter) we didn’t want to put it anywhere that people would be getting too close to it, like beside a chair in the living room. Cue people sitting down and being visually assaulted with ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND BLACK FERTILE GROUND in their face. So we put it up in our stairwell where people will mainly see it if they look up when they come in the front door. Voila. What do you think?


And, as a bonus, here’s another little typographic thing we have in our bedroom. You can do that one in Word.



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