A typeface based on the hand-painted sign from the NP Hotel in Seattle's international district.
Design a Typeface based on a real world hand-painted sign.

Sign location: NP Hotel, International District
Production time: 4 weeks

1. Research and Background
-Explore the roots of the NP Hotel
2. Letterform Assembly
-Draw out letterforms and iterate
3. Typeface Refinement
-Digitize letterforms using Glyphs
4. Showcase and Application
-Poster and 3D Mockups
Original NP Hotel in the International District
The NP Hotel was originally known for housing the belongings of the Japanese families in Seattle. Known for its rich Japanese American history, the original sign can still be seen on the side of the building today. We used this as our source of inspiration for Kaiso, mimicking the Grecian aspects of the typeface.
Letterform Assembly
Drawing the Typeface
Using sheets of vellum and sharpies, our group assembled the core principles of our typeface. We established the Cap height, base height, and X Height with the letters OHoh1.
Establishing the principles for the font.
Similar structured letters
More Characters and Special Characters
Based off of specific measurements, characters could be based off one another, such as B,R, F, and E.
Type Iteration
Every time an adjustment to the X height or cap height was made, the letters were painfully readjusted in order to adapt to the right heights. No transform tool in real life!
Typeface Refinement
Evolution of a font
As the typeface came together, it was easy to see that some letters were distinct from the other letterforms. For better consistency, we decided to refine and polish these letters to better fit in with our font.

Showcase and Application
-Fonts are a composition of organic, fluid shapes.
Even though Kaiso was a geometric grecian font, the math didn't always have to check out for every letter. Small variations, such as over/undershoot of certain letters contributed to the fittingness and overall composition of the typeface.

-Iteration, iteration!
As more letters are created, previously created letterforms might become obsolete or not fit in well with the other letters. Refining previous letters can establish a better baseline for creating letterforms with similar architecture.

-A typeface is never finished.
Just like other mediums of design, a typeface is constantly growing and evolving to the ever-changing world of screens and printing. Other weights can be made for fonts to scale up and down, but the feeling and character that the typeface conveys will carry on throughout the iterations.

Additional Details
Project Context
Visual Communication Design, Typeface Design

Karen Cheng
DESIGN 214: Marks and Symbols

43 weeks

Programs used
Photoshop, Illustrator, Cinema 4D, Glyphs Mini
PhotoshopIllustratorCinema 4DGlyphs
Thank you!

Other work:

UX Design
The Huntress
3D Intro Sequence
Zig Zag AR
Augmented Reality