3 Ligatures

Students will explore and investigate the historical convention of conjoining more than one letter to make their own ligature for their use in typographic designs.

Through the design process, students will investigate how typography has been, and will continue to be, used to enhance messages by creating visually appearing content.


  • 5.4 investigates and responds to the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter for visual design artworks.
  • 5.5 makes informed choices to develop and extend concepts and different meanings in their visual design artworks.
  • 5.6 selects appropriate procedures and techniques to make and refine visual design artworks.
  • 5.7 applies their understanding of aspects of practice to critically and historically interpret visual design artworks.
  • 5.10 constructs different critical and historical accounts of visual design artworks.


2 weeks.

Driving question

How might a ligature evolve in a technology based design world?


This sequence explores the historical use of ligatures in script and movable type prints. Students will explore the ever-changing use of letterforms and contemporary use of ligatures in display and hand-written typography.

Focus areas

  • Shape and letterform
  • Historical and post-modern frames
  • Design, design world and audience.
  • Information and communication technology
  • Work, Employment and Enterprise
  • Multicultural
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy.


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Students will:

  1. work through the Ligatures presentation (PPTX 10.5 MB) as a class, completing the exercises below:
    1. slide two - answer questions in their blog/visual design journal
    2. slide five - answer questions in their blog/visual design journal
    3. slide six - watch the short film Farewell - ETAOIN SHRDLU - 1978 (29:19).
    4. slide eleven - complete the exercise
  2. use the TEEEC scaffold worksheet (DOCX 45.5 KB) to write a paragraph focusing on use of figures in modern design through the perspective of the historical frame
  3. find a product logo that uses ligature as part of their brand identity. Complete a TEEEC paragraph about it from the perspective of the post-modern frame
  4. read the Analysing web sources worksheet (PDF 3.1 MB)
  5. research and define 'Cursive writing' in their visual design journal/blog, referencing any images or information accordingly
  6. design and write an example of their definitions and upload to their blog
  7. work in groups to create a large venn diagram outlining the similarities and differences between a ligature and cursive writing.

Materials required

  • computer and printer
  • A4 white paper
  • A3 coloured paper
  • felt tip markers
  • tracing paper
  • coloured pencils or paints
  • phone or digital camera.

Students will:

  • research motivational posters on the internet or through the CreativeArts712 Pinterest Visual Design board
  • copy and paste their favourite into their blog, reference the original source, and write a reflection as to why it is their favourite
  • write and design their own motivational message and or saying
  • choose and print a display font from any computer program, that they think will best be suited for their own motivational poster
  • copy the saying onto an A4 paper with the font from above and experiment with the size of the individual letters, alignment and direction
  • locate any letters that can be joined or overlapped
  • sketch a new version joining those letters together on coloured A3 paper, outlining the font in black felt tipped marker
  • document and photograph for the blog
  • exhibit and discuss with the class.

Students will complete a digital blog or visual design journal documenting the ideas and processes used throughout this sequence. This can be completed through one-note, Class Notebook or Google classroom.

The blog/visual design journal should contain:

  • the process and technical skills used in practical classes
  • personal reflections about the practical activities
  • information gained through investigations or class discussions
  • answers to questions asked in class
  • a glossary of new words and terminology with graphic examples
  • and thoughts of the different techniques and types explored.



Teachers are encouraged to provide students with acceleration activities if required.

Students could:

  • create their own font on photoshop using ligatures. An Introduction to photoshop worksheet can be used to help introduce the skills required for this
  • use the font to create a motivational poster
  • write a blog post addressing the driving question.

Life skills


  • LS 1 experiences a variety of visual design procedures to make visual design artworks.
  • LS 4 explores ways in which experiences of the world can be communicated in visual design artworks.
  • LS 6 makes a variety of visual design artworks that reflect experiences, responses or a point of view.
  • LS 7 explores a variety of subject matter that can be represented in visual design artworks.

Students could:

  • research motivational posters online or on Pinterest
  • discuss why they like it
  • print and cut out the letters on the poster
  • rearrange and overlap the letters on a coloured background
  • glue and share with classmates.


Formative assessment can be used to determine learning progress throughout the lesson sequences. Teachers should informally assess a student's level of understanding and adapt accordingly.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Visual Design 7–10 Syllabus (2004) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.

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