Tom Ross October 21st, 2011

A Collection of Innovative and Inspiring Typography

Typography is the art or technique of arranging type. It's a broad medium, covering areas such as typeface selection, line length, line spacing, kerning, tracking, and of course wider design features such as color, lighting etc... Typography is a growing phenomenon amongst graphic designers, many of whom have gone beyond the basic placement of lettering, and turned typography pieces into their own works of art. Often typography designs feature elements of photo manipulation, light effects and even 3D elements. Today we bring you a collection of highly inspiring typography designs, showing just how far the medium can be pushed. These pieces are all works of art in their own right, and we encourage you to go and check out each artist's portfolio.

The Type

Heartbreak is a clever concept, whereby the word 'heart' is clearly visible, whilst the 'break' is implied through a graphical means. The text shatter effect is the basis for this complex, detailed typographic design, and the shattering shards help add great depth to the piece as they appear to be firing out towards the viewer. The colors have been carefully selected and the transitions between blue hues and reds is smooth and attractive.

Heartbreak Typography

A simple, yet effective typographic design. This type appears to have been handdrawn and then colored in Photoshop. The calligraphic nature of the letters gives the text an archaic feel, whilst the painted effect used to color the letters adds a nice touch of creativity. A subtle highlight is used on the top of each letter to add a subtle bevel effect, making the letters really pop against their darker background.

Desire Typography

Splash Some Love
Splash Some Love is another visual representation of a concept. Whilst 'love' is displayed through the medium of words, the 'splash' concept is clearly shown in a graphical medium through the exploding letters. The splash effect is really engaging, as is the hot pink on black background color palette used. The piece screams creative freedom and exploration, as the color literally breaks through the boundaries of the original type.

Splash Some Love Typography

You in White
A wonderful example of 3D typography. This piece has been rendered using 3D software and then imported into Photoshop for further lighting, coloring and texturing. By combining various mediums in this way the final result is much richer and has plenty of depth and detail. Notice how essential the background is in the success of this piece, as the clever 'natural' lighting helps push the letters out from the background, and provide further depth and framing.

You in White Typography

A cool text effect which captures electricity really well. The combination of the old school neon light effect on the text and the waves of electric current and light make this a busy, but engaging piece. The wide variety of neon colors fit well with the concept, and light is effectively used to draw the eye.


Hope Rising
A very clever visual exploration of the concept of 'hope'. The dove, a classic epitome of hope or freedom has been used as the foundation for the lettering in this piece. The result is a typography piece with a huge amount of detail, and a kind of double layering, whereby the piece can be viewed initially as a kind of custom font creation, and the upon closer inspection a rich illustration. The way that the birds break out from the constrains of the letter shapes helps to accentuate the concept of freedom and 'rising'.

Hope Rising Typography

Shake Your Body
A good example of dripping typography, a trend which has become more and more popular in the graphic design industry. Something about dripping or melting typographic gives a great sense of physicality, and this example shows this perfectly. The neon green ooze in this piece drips effortlessly between letters and words and in doing so brings the typography together into a cohesive whole.

Shake Your Body Typography

A bright and vibrant piece based around the notion of color. The rainbow lighting effect on this typography is really eye catching, and creates a visual harmony between the visual exploration of color and the lexicon 'colors'. The lettering is given a hand painted effect, with plenty of splashes, splatters and intricate details. Light spots are used to draw the eye to specific areas of lettering and add further depth to the piece, isolating it from it's dark background.

Colors Typography

Epic Six
Epic Six uses a cool glossy effect to create good-enough-to-eat typography. The font is hand drawn and then colored in Photoshop, and you can tell a lot of work has gone into the lighting and shading on each letter. The glossy effect combined with shadowing on each letter makes them feel very 3D, and the type really pops against a much darker blue background. The final piece is really fluid as each letter links smoothly into the next. This is a benefit of designing your own font, as most standard fonts wouldn't allow for this fluidity.

Epic Six Typography

A stunning typographic portrait, 'Slash' constructs the face of the famous guitarist using words relevant to his music and life. This piece shows how malleable type can be, as words are transformed and contorted to provide structure and depth. The hair in this piece is particularly inspiring, as words spiral and tumble downwards in ribbon like fashion.

Slash Typography

This typographic piece offers the feel of a fantasy hollywood movie poster. The archaic type selection fits perfectly with the golden texturing and lighting, and the central beam of light almost feels like a portal into another world. I love how the central light beam casts light outwards on the surrounding letters. Overall a very cohesive, impressive piece.

Ansilmi Typography

Crush is a very heavy-duty, solid feeling piece. The bulky metallic lettering feels powerful and immovable, and the glowing lava-like outline adds to the intense, industrial visual. This piece is a great example of how effective typography can really capture or evoke a feeling or place. For me this piece feels like the typographic representation of an iron smelt - hot, dirty and intense!

Crush Typography

Typo Attack
This piece certainly is a visual attack, as the 3D splashes and renders zooming in from the left of the composition actually knock away letters and partially destroy the composition. Love how the splatters weave through the letters as well as destroying them, and the letters themselves begin to splatter outwards and explode. The piece has a limited color palette, yet the black, gray and blues work perfectly together.

Typo Attack Typography

A sweet custom typeface that simply had to be included in this compilation. Each letter feels lovingly hand crafted and contains epic amounts of detail. Love the effect of combining the multi-colored shards to create an ultimately very legible typeface. The typeface evokes sharpness and precision, definitely not one for the softies out there!

Process:Typeface Typography

Free at Last
This piece has a very retro feel, with the large rounded lettering and colored stripes constructing the background. The text is given a 3D appearance due to the glossy overlay, lighting, and beveled effect. The lettering both stands out from and blends in with the background. When you're reading the words they are reasonably legible, but if you start to look at the piece as a whole the letters simply become part of a colorful, geometric, abstract design.

Free at Last Typography

Haeckelbet A
An incredible custom lettering project, each letter has been carefully hand drawn. This is a perfect example of each letter being it's own work of art. The artist appears to have sketched each letter using pencil, scanned it into Photoshop and then added a sepia overlay effect and some background lighting. All this Photoshop work only really serves to highlight the artistic merits of the piece, as the wood-like weaves which form the letter show enormous talent and artistic skill.

Haeckelbet A

Candy Cane Typography
A really fun typography piece, and another example of taking an object and transforming it to typographic form. The color scheme works really well and the lively pink type really pops against the rich, deep purple background. The lettering is a custom job, and weaves creatively across the canvas to create a really unique final design. The lettering is given a subtle bevel effect, and fairly strong drop shadow to add depth and impact.

Candy Cane Typography

Yummy Typography
A very summery typography illustration. This design uses a sunny color palette of yellows and oranges to create a lively, warm mood. The type itself has been given a subtle 3D render effect, which is accentuated by floating shapes and objects intertwining with the letters.

Yummy Typography

This is Me
A great typographic illustration, this self portrait actually constructs the artist using a collection of words all highly personal to herself. The portrait is especially impressive as words have been positioned to be relevant (e.g.: near the ear are words relevant to the artist's music taste, and near the ear drum 'bass' etc...). The dark watercolor style background perfectly frames the face, which is harshly lit to provide plenty of impact. The depth is incredible in this piece, as the letters are strongly lit from the profile.

This is Me Typography

Type Fluid Experiment
A really unique typographic experiment that used 3D render software to create a fluid effect. The team behind this project have crafted every letter of the alphabet, which aside from the staggering amounts of RAM required is a testament to their artistic abilities. The collapsing fluid gives each letter plenty of energy, and you can really get a sense of the rapid movement being captured in freeze frame.

Type Fluid Typography

Try Your Own Typographic Piece

We hope that this collection has inspired you to go and try your own typographic piece. However, if you're a little unsure of how to create such awesome text effects then the following tutorials should help you:

Create an Atmospheric Under-Water Text Effect

Create an Atmospheric Under-Water Text Effect

Dramatic Text on Fire Effect in Photoshop

Dramatic Text on Fire Effect in Photoshop

Transparent Glass Lettering in Photoshop

Transparent Glass Lettering in Photoshop

Designing a Typographic Concept Poster

Designing a Typographic Concept Poster

Awesome Milk Typography Effect

Awesome Milk Typography Effect

The New Way to Create 3D Text

The New Way to Create 3D Text


Tom Ross

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  1. I love the typographic portraits. I have seen so many of them that are so well done but had never seen the one’s posted here. I would love it if you could do a tutorial for a typographic portrait similar to the those posted here. I’ve looked and looked and can’t seem to find one that’s just right. Thanks for the post.

  2. These solutions, while visually stimulating, rely on cliché visual effects and not an understanding of typographic clarity.

  3. I think the 11th piece actually says “Anselmi” (see the little branch-like extensions that make up the “crossbeams” of E?) and not Ansilmi. I think it’s a very beautiful piece but the purpose is defeated if you read it wrong because of a compromise the artist had to make. :<

  4. Well said, Chris Danemayer! Interesting yes; but with typography, you’re working on something thats existed since we started printing, so it’s gilding the lily, really, and that is all. If I was to be really sniffy, I might suggest that the characters are better used, in their original role; for the conveying if ideas, art, philosophy, etc……

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