Expressive words

I saw this great concept via i love typography.

Select five words and explore their expressive quality by manipulating the letter forms.

Expressive words.

I thought it looked like a bit of fun and a thoughtful exercise, so I gave it a go. I only did four words, three of which Karly did (to see what else I could come up with) and one of my own (a Word of the Day).

The fonts: STSong for bloom because it’s one I found on my computer recently and kinda like; Helvetica for magic because it was one of the fonts Karly restricted herself to and I wanted to go for non-fancy fonts; Apple Chancery for confluence because I really wanted something flowing, but not too fancy; Baskerville for bright because it was one of the fonts Karly picked and Manuel said he hated it — I wanted to see what the fuss was about (I didn’t — I love that g!).

I’m not sure if I went against the rules, or the spirit of the exercise by bending the l in bloom or using different shades in magic or blurring the letters of bright, but it was fun. There was definitely minimal manipulation.

Other expressers

  • Karly, who pretty much spread the exercise and did an amazing job with her words
  • Matt Jewel — I love jump, very effective
  • Manuel, whose lost was quite inspired, but I’ll admit to not getting it at first (bloom is very similar to mine, but I didn’t actually see his until after I’d done mine)
  • vlad, who gave me the idea or the word of the day and whose walloping is totally cool


  1. says

    How fun! Magic is great!!

    I hadn’t checked out the others before. I really like Vlad’s walloping, too! It reminds me of that one Mac virus (can’t find the link now) where the person’s screen falls apart.

  2. says

    Love the magic one, especially since my dad is a magician. – even if he does cringe at the thought of a magic wand.

  3. says

    I love this exercise. I may have to go home and do a few random ones when I get bored.

    I like how you did ‘bloom.’ Instead of just being text is kind of takes on an organic feel to me.

    @Lauren: I believe the virus you’re talking about is called the Newton Virus which was made as a sort of art piece by Troika.

  4. says

    Thanks LaurenMarie! I think magic might be my favourite. I think I saw something like that virus on Think Geek… ok wasn’t quite the same.

    Jacob, that’s a shame your dad doesn’t like magic wands! I guess lots of professionals (and hobbyists) have those kind of foibles. My husband and I do karate and he hates the Karate Kid movies. 😛 I guess wands are really more a cartoony thing.

    Thanks Jacob. I’m pretty happy with the way Bloom turned out. I agree about the organic-ness. Everything I can think of to do with Bloom has an element of natural-ness (heh, I’m making up plenty of ness words here).

  5. says

    But in saying that my dads partner is a children’s magician / entertainer who loves it 😛 Spose that’s what you get when you work in corporate or with children.

  6. says

    Must say i like your Bloom better than my version, mostly because of the better typeface choice. Funny that we had the same idea on that one :)

    Your Magic is kinda cool as well. Confluence looks a bit boring though.

    Please keep me updated via my comments if you start a new “lesson” so i can join you (am a bit procrastinating at the moment due to the good weather here on the island).

    Happy sunday 😉

  7. says

    Hey Manuel,

    Thanks for visiting :)

    I agree, I was disappointed with Confluence. I think I captured the meaning, but it still didn’t manage to be very “expressive” because it doesn’t really evoke any emotion. Thanks for your honesty… I was wondering if someone would mention it. 😛

  8. says

    Your hosting seems to be very sluggish (at least for me), i always have to refresh at least 3 times untill your site starts to load.

    Thanks for appreciating honesty, very rare reaction these days 😉

  9. says

    Thanks for letting me know about the hosting… I’ve had a couple of problems in the fairly recent past, but nothing in the last few weeks. I’ll look into it.

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  11. says

    I absolutely love the MAGIC one: so simple, so concise, yet so dynamic and creative! Even words can be art! Nice touch! :)

  12. says

    What a cool exercise! I liked Magic, and especially Bright. The font, the blur, putting it on black. It’s interesting to look through everyone’s interpretations. Karly’s version of Magic and Charge were clever too.

  13. says

    Though I have not tried this… my first word to “play with” would have probably been…


    and would probably make the 2 O’s rather large 😉

  14. says

    Hi! I see you liked my word of the day idea!

    I like “magic” the most. It really makes me go like “aw, why didn’t I think of that!”. Confluence is ok, though I don’t see it flowing :) Anyway, good exercise, all in all. Let’s see, where’s that RSS feed…

  15. says

    Very nicely done. I am happy to see more people doing the exercise. My favorite is definitely magic. I love the wand—great idea!

    I agree baskerville does have a very nice g.

  16. says

    I think Baskerville is a good choice for “bright”. Baskerville is pretty high contrast. One of the Didones would work well too. After all, black and white and bright and dark is about contrast too.

  17. says

    Thanks vlad and Karly! Magic is my favourite too :)

    johno, what about Baskerville and the Didones make them “high contrast”? I guess what I see in them both is fairly sharp lines and significant difference in the thickness of the lines, but I did have to Wikipedia didones to find out which ones they were. 😉

  18. says

    Yes, you’re right, the high contrast is a reference to the contrast between thick and thin strokes.

  19. says

    Ahah, thanks johno. Learn something new everyday! Actually, I’ve learnt more than my little brain can contain about typography in recent months. It’s very cool 😛

  20. says

    I love to practice exercises like this especillay in the exhaustive occasions cause by lengthy work with least output. It is bit some cool kind of exercise coupled with thrilling joy of excitement. It was much interesting to go through such a topic.