Photo Alphabet


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In this assignment you are looking for letterforms that exist in the environment around you. Look at objects, shadows, parts of buildings, etc. for the existence of letters. Look for unusual sources or locations for these photos. Photograph these “Environmental Letters” by cropping in closely around just the letter itself. After you have photographed all of the letters of the alphabet, open them in PhotoShop to color correct and do final sizing and cropping—image editing. Then export each of your PS files to a custom InDesign doc. where the pages are 7 1/2 inches tall by 12 inches long. Be sure to UNCHECK the Facing Pages option in the Document Setup.

alphabetsThe next major step is to locate a specific typeface which most closely resembles each image letter of the alphabet that you photographed. You are looking for main identifying characteristics of the letterform which match as closely as possible, the corresponding photograph/letter. In other words, you are not simply putting a letter “A” with a photo of an “A” shape. You are instead looking for identifying characteristics of a letterform which are either there because of the font and typeface it belongs to or the very specific characteristics that belong to that individual letterform. You may mix and match upper and lower case (majuscule and miniscule) forms.

Size and position each letter with its corresponding photo letter. Write a paragraph describing this comparison between the photo letter and the actual typeface letter that it resembles. (refer to the pdf example below). Import your written description along with the photo letter and typeface example that goes with it, all into InDesign for final layout and assembling into multi-page book form.

In Photoshop

  • Correct Curves and Levels as a minimum amount of color correction.
  • Images should each be five inches tall and no wider than 3 inches
  • Resolution 150 DPI
  • RGB color space
  • Flatten
  • JPG

In InDesign

  • Create a custom InDesign document that has non-facing single pages
    (UNCHECK the Facing Pages option in the Document Setup.)
  • Page size should be set at 7 1/2″ x 12″, landscape orientation
  • From the Master Page create guides for 2 Columns
  • Also from the Master Page, set Margins to correspond to Golden Mean, Fibonacci Numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8…)
    • for example:
    • bottom 5p0
    • left 5p0
    • right 3p0
    • top2p0Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 3.55.41 PM
  • Change Document Color mode to RGB from the File menu
  • Import (Place) each of your images into your book file (again make sure that these have been changed to 150 DPI, 3” x 5”, RGB flattened files in Photoshop first.)
  • Save your completely assembled Indesign book file and title it.
  • Binding will be either comb bound (plastic rings) or wire bound (coiled wire) with wrap around cover and end flaps
  • Cover design is a separate Adobe Illustrator (Ai) file. Set this size at 7″ x 30″, landscape orientation. This size includes the front, back ( 7 1/2″ x 12 1/16″) and spine (3/4″), plus inside flaps).
  • Be sure to remember to include a blank page at the front and also at the back of the book for the flaps to wrap around.
  • The cover is printed to BFK Rives paper so, choose the “Generic RGB” color profile when printing.
  • Also, choose the “Plain Paper” setting from the menu on the printer.


photo letters cover

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 5.57.38 PM

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 3.49.39 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-22 at 6.57.12 PMBefore you Print

  • Did you check spelling and grammar?
  • Did you check for typographic widows and orphans?
  • Did you correct line length?
  • Did you use correct dashes and kern/adjust the spacing around them?
  • Did you kern all years?
  • Did you leave enough margin space for binding?
  • Did you use Diminuido on first paragraph of descriptions?
  • Did you resize and color correct mages in PhotoShop before placing in InDesign
  •  Did you make all images RGB?
  • The following are optional pages you may choose to add:
    • Did you create an introductory page?
    • Did you create a cover?
    • Did you create a colophon?
      • (text paper is Hammermill 28lb text wt. laser print)
      • (Cover paper is 250gsm BFK Rives, Buff with Deckle)
  • Did you print a b & w proof of at least one page before printing final?

1 thought on “Photo Alphabet

  1. Pingback: Photo Alphabet – Pacific University | Stolen Projects

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