Thursday, 27 February 2014

Letter Art by Clare Youngs: Book Review

Letter Art:

35 stylish letters to make and give

By Clare Youngs

CICO Books, April 2014

£14.99 Hardback

ISBN 978-1-78249-084-5

Star rating: ****

Clare Youngs, CICO Books star craft author, has come up with a fontastic :) idea for a new title: letterforms in all shapes, sizes, and media. Drawing on her background in graphic design, Clare has produced a book full of typographically-inspired designs.

In olden days, familiarity with typefaces used to be the domain of professional graphic designers and typesetters. Now that everyone has access to computer word-processing, everybody’s got a favourite font. And of course, alphas are especially important to card-makers and scrapbookers.

Most of the projects in this book are large-scale home dec ideas – the sort of thing you’d pay a mint for from a trendy mail order company. The projects look just great, are do-able – and inexpensive, to make, too. Lots of scope for using re-cyled materials. Super graphics, in all senses.

Letter Art is not exclusively a papercraft title, but papercrafting does feature prominently in it, even in the sections not devoted to papercrafts (as you would expect). The book is divided into the following sections: Papercraft Letters, Painted and Printed Letters (lots of paper-based stuff here), Mixed Media Letters, and Fabric Letters

The attractively-photographed projects are accompanied by easy-to-follow step-by-steps, illustrated by (wait for it) --- Clare and Ian Youngs (understanding of the brief guaranteed!). There’s a section of reduced-sized templates back-of-book – but you are encouraged to use the letterforms of your own choice.

Of course, letters and paper go together – and as a papercrafter, I do think that the papercraft projects are the most successful. Some of the projects include: Vintage Graphic Letters – choose a letter, enlarge it and 3-D-ify it in cardboard covered with patterned paper. Foamboard Lollipop Letters: whimsical letters-on-a-stick. (Could make a fun birthday party centrepiece.) Sculptural Scrollwork: jumbo quilled letter. The Mexican Paper Letters work a treat: trad Mexican papercut tissue paper, but in letterforms. The Corrugated Capital is a very clever idea. The ridges of the corrugated card are selectively flattened to create areas of light and shadow. The Slot-Together Letters in mixed prints work a treat. Reflecting the popular Circus-trend in typefaces, there’s a Fairground Flair 3-D letterform.

If you are up for trying projects outside your papercrafter’s comfort zone, there’s lots to choose from. There’s the Wire Cage Letter (wire-cutters required), and the Fruit Crate Letter (some woodworking lite called for). 

So – Letter Art amounts to big fun with jumbo letterforms. This title would make an ideal gift for a crafter.  It comes out in April – so you can pre-order it now.  And I will eagerly anticipate whatever Clare Youngs turns her very creative hands to next.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.