36 Days of Type is a community project that invites designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express the letters and numbers of the Latin alphabet in unique and creative ways.

I first discovered this project via Instagram, brought together by the hashtag #36daysoftype07 (the number at the end updates each year.) The premise is simple: participants must post a single letter (A-Z) and number (0-9) every day for 36 days. I’ve been admiring the entries of my favourite designers since the beginning, and this year I finally felt prepared (ish.)

I wanted to incorporate three key design principles:

  • A clear colour palette
  • A hand-drawn feel (whether on paper or iPad)
  • A different style for each letter

It’s never easy to start work on a blank page, so I first needed to choose my colours. I’ve always loved sign painting and calligraphy, and I wanted to adapt those detailed and expressive styles while balancing the demands of a full-time job.

To design my letters, I used an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil alongside a program called ‘Procreate’. After extensive research, I finally found the letters that would serve as my inspiration. Using many different textures and brushes, I did my best to craft a hand-drawn look on a digital platform.

I created no less than four different versions of the colour palette, each with a different colour hierarchy which varied from character to character. When I started the project, I had a week’s worth ready to post – that didn’t last long! It’s actually deceptively difficult and time-consuming to create 36 distinctly different variations of the characters we use in the English language. Thankfully, I managed to submit all 26 letters and 10 numbers on the corresponding days. And I’m glad I did!

You can view my alphabet here: https://www.instagram.com/lucy_maitre/

I wasn’t the only person I know to take part in the challenge. I was lucky enough to benefit from the support of close friends and designers I admire. There’s an unbeatable sense of community that arises from the project, rallied around the hashtag #36daysoftype07.

I was struck by some of the fantastic work that came from the community and would love to draw attention to a few other submissions by supremely talented people.

Keep an eye out for next year’s submission!

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