The assignment this week was to create 4 text-only characterizations of words that deal with the topic for my final project. Since my final project will be on literary concepts, I chose four terms that will be introduced at the beginning of the unit.
My users will be 7th grade students. These students have had an introduction to figurative language, but often do not remember the terminology. About half of my current students read at 3rd or 4th grade level.
Three of my words use script fonts. Lohr (2008) says that scripts are often used “to designate different voice…to designate a historical period of time, and in small places where ornamentation may be desired” (p. 222). I used the script fonts because the writing was just three separate words, so it would not be strenuous to read, and because I was looking for a distinctive look that could help portray the ideas of mood, tone, and personification.
Three of my words also use symbol typefaces. Lohr (2008) states that “Symbol typefaces and Dingbats provide access to a variety of images that can be used for instructional purposes” (p. 223). I chose to use Webdings and Wingdings to add meaning to “tone”, “mood”, and “figurative language”. The paintbrushes in “figurative language” are to symbolize that figurative language paints a picture for the reader. The faces in “mood” are to demonstrate that mood in literature is similar to moods that we can see on people’s faces. The ear in “tone” is to remind students that tone is the attitude we hear from a speaker, similar to the attitude shown in word choice by an author.
For “personification”, I used a script font and made the P larger than the other letters. Then I converted the letters to paths. I manipulated the “P” to look like a person’s head in profile, and I made shoes out of the “n”. This should remind students that personification is giving the qualities of a person to a non-person.
For both “tone” and “figurative”, I manipulated the kerning until the letters were equally spaced. According to Lohr (2008), “applying proper kerning improves appearance” and “varying the width between letters…can also increase readability” (p. 237).
I added a background color to the canvas, because white seemed to stark. I tried to choose light colors for greater contrast with the typography, with the exception of mood. I chose to use black for “mood’s” background to show an example of mood.
User Test and Resulting Changes
I asked friend who teaches Kindergarten, and who is mother to a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, to look at my images. She was able to see the person in “personification”. She liked the “mood” and “tone” images, but suggested that I turn the paintbrushes the other direction. Since I could not figure out how to flip just one symbol upside down, I converted “figurative” to paths and moved the brushes up so that they looked like they were painting the other letters.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Update 2/25/2016: Shown below is an updated version of this image. I have flipped the paint brushes right side up and increased the resolution.