Project One
Airport Code

The Objective

Create a compelling recognizable logotype for an airport using only the three letter airport code. 

A logomark is an identifying mark or symbol that doesn’t contain the business name. Think of the Nike ‘tick’, Shell, WWF, Mercedes or Adidas for examples.

A logotype refers to words or the name of a business that is designed in a special way. Examples include: Pinterest, eBay, Yahoo, Coca-Cola, Google, CNN, Kodak, FedEx... You are creating a logotype not a logomark.

The Problem

How you do create a customized logotype for an airport? The logotype must be easily recognizableand work at multiple sizes. Your task is to find interesting ways to combine and customize three letters—into one (memorable) typographic mark/logotype. The solution should rely exclusively on typography -- no icons, no symbols of the city, no planes or no travel icons etc –- only the 3 letters can be used. Pick your airport code International Air Transport Association airport codes.

Project Learning Objectives

  1. explore the potential of letterform combinations to create symbols
  2. explore how to customized letterforms based on other letterforms
  3. understand primary and secondary font combinations
  4. understand and create a clear hierarchy



Process Book (Digital PDF) (Keep file size under 100 MB) (Keep and organize all handouts lecture notes, sketching and process.)

Brand Board logotype, color palette, design attributes, secondary font, swag. (11x17) (Digital PDF)

Brand Board logotype, color palette, design attributes, secondary font, swag. (11x17) (Printed)


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Introduce Project One
Syllabus / Class Info


Find Three Character Airport Code (National or International)
Research your city and it’s history
-Create a word list of (25-30) words about your city/place 

Choose one and build a one page document (11”x17”) that presents your research for your classmates. What is important to communicate here? 

Do not just throw all your research onto one page. Think about how you can distill this information down and design it to make it digestible. 

Create a second 11x17 with images based on your research that you can use to inform your designs going forward. Think type and shapes that you can use later on to inform your design language. Look for examples of architecture, art, culture, civic pride, famous people, etc.

Pro Tip: Runway maps for airports are freely available

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Review Research / History of your Airport
Parts of the Letter Lecture


Bring in a minimum of (5) 11x17 pages with font choices. Type your letters out in Upper and lower case. Try multiple weights if you font has them.


Choose at least one serif / and one sans serif out of your five choices. (3) of your choices should come from this list: 


Think about what fonts make sense based on your research. Is there a typeface from your country or famous type designer from your location? What is your city famous for and how can you express that with a typeface choice?


Take notes on the following logotypes. How have they been customized? Use your knowledge from your lecture today.


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Monogram / Logotype Lecture 
In-Class Start HW



For this first round of sketches they have to be done by hand start each prompt in class so you have an idea of what is expected and then finish them as homework. Use the given font sheets for your sketches. You are tracing and manipulating (customizing) the letters on the font sheets. It should be faster to come up with different ideas by hand. You are expected to create 50 analog (hand drawn/ traced) typographic marks. No computer (for this round).

PROMPT 1 (30 Sketches)

Use parts of the letter to create part of the next letter. How can you make the round letters more square and/or the square parts more round. Please use only one font for each logotype / monogram.

You can different styles in the same font family – reg, light, bold, italic – but only one font) to create an airport code logotype of the 3 letter forms.
Each study has to remain in one font family (reg, light, bold, italic...) 

PROMPT 2 (20 sketches)

10 sketches use the gestalt principle of closure or form and counterform/ negative space to work out your solution.You can use 2 or 3 different fonts (you can use different styles light reg bold italic) to create your 3 letterforms. You can draw your own letterforms using the grid. Yon’t have to use the full letter maybe through “closure” we see the part of the letter without it being there?

Take risks. Not everything has to be legible or perfect – there are hundreds of solutions you could do. You are trying to come up with 45 different solutions. Explore. Take risks. Work neatly.. If you workin pencil fill in with a black pen so we can see your ideas clearly. Label sketches Prompt 1 or Prompt2. 

Grid for Prompt 2

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Review Sketches
Illustrator Introduction


Move your best (5) explorations into the computer and create them in illustrator. Do not use live trace, you need to be creating these from scratch. Start with the font, outline it and use the pen tool, easer tool, pathfinder to re-create your logotype.

Create three variations of your (5) for a total of 15 explorations (minimum). Push yourself here how can you make these read better (without using color, shadows, or textures)? Everything must initially work in black and white. What can you customize? How can you make the letters look more the same? What can you take away and have it still read as your letters?

Print in B/W on 8.5x11 (2-4) per page

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Review Logotype Studies 

Lecture on how to use secondary fonts / Font Pairings

Secondary Type Slides


Refine your top 3 /favorite digital marks 

Make (6) different variations and studies (Big shifts and think about how you can improve)

(3) Font Pairings for each one of your top 3. (How can these compliment or contrast one another?)

Font Pairing Template

Print out all refinements in B/W 

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How to Align Taglines (Proportion / Scale / Alignment) 

In-Class Work Time

Choose a typeface for tagline and secondary type.




Refine your chosen monogram direction (6 Explorations) (Big Shifts)

Make sure you are considering scale and legibilty. 

Add secondary type at least 10 ways. Pay attention to scale and alignment.

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Using photoshop mock ups Intro

Brand Board Examples

Creating a color palette RGB, CMYK, Pantones 

Brand Boards Must Include:

Your Name
Airport Name
Logotype B/W 3in tall or wide
Logotype B/W 1in tall or wide
Color Palette 3 colors + black
3 - 5 Key Words


Refine your secondary type studies. (5 Different Ways)

Create 3 pieces of swag

Brand Board Template

Color Resources:

- Adobe Color

- ColourLovers

- Pigment

- Coolors

Mock Up Resources:

- Graphic Burger

- MckUps

-Pixel Buddha 

-Mr. Mockup

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Brand Board Example / Logotype Finalizing Demo

Review Swag, secondary type explorations and final critiques on logotypes



Finalize your logotype based on the in-class demo today.

Build brand board based on feedback from class. 

Refine and update your swag based on your final marks and explorations.

Print (5) at a minimum 8.5x11 sheets Black and White with the following information: Band/Arist, Opener, Date, Location/Venue, Start time. Print in a variety of typefaces and sizes. You will be cutting these apart so fit as much onto the page as you can. is a good place to start

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Project 1