Clayton: Display Typeface and Specimen Book Design

For this project, I was inspired by the typography in Athens, Ohio, especially all the typography that one cannot find from a regular type foundry. One day, I went on a walk with my camera in tow to take pictures of my favorites.

After going through my pictures from the day, I fell in love with a brick that said “East Clayton,” the name of the manufacturing plant. I loved how the letters looked like a contemporary font, such as Bebas Neue or Ostrich Sans, but were stamped into a 100-plus-year-old brick. How could something so old have something so new on it?

I started by using four letters from my sample, the C, L, A, and Y. I used those letters to create the rest of the alphabet, and in a way, disregarding the rest of my sample. I wanted to challenge myself by giving myself only four letters, it’s more fun that way! From those four letters, I created the rest of the twenty-two letters in the alphabet. Using sketching paper, I took pieces and parts from the original four to build the letters. For example, I used the triangular shape of the A to build the M, N, V, and W.

Process Photo

After sketching, I scanned in my drawings and vectorized them, tweaking things that I did not like. For example, when building the T in my sketches, I flipped the L to use its leg as the T’s cross bar. After vectorizing all the letters and viewing them all on one plane, I realized the T was too wide. I took measurements and averaged the widths of all of my letters and determined what an appropriate width would be for the T.

After fine tuning, critiquing and staring at my letters for what felt like endless letters, I completed my alphabet.


The next step of my project was to create a specimen book to show off my awesome new typeface. For the book, I wanted to play with the old and new, the original reason why I became intrigued with the letters. For this, I new I wanted to stab bind the book, a new technique that can have an older feel. Additionally, I wanted to play with the history of the brick. After doing some research, I came across a brick pattern that the East Clayton manufacturing plant created (see below). I knew that I had to include it in the book as art.

East Clayton Decorative Brick

Finally, I knew I wanted talk about my process. I included a photo of process work and a detailed graphic of the ins and outs of the typeface. I wanted to show off the subtle pieces of the letters because the the typeface is so slight. I used duotones for the images of my process to continue with the old feel.

Finally, I named the typeface “Clayton” after the brick that I found my inspiration.

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