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More handcrafted drop caps by the first year students at gdk

I‘m honored that I was asked to come back to lecture and run the typographic workshop for the first year students at the design and communication program that the University of Linköping has each year.

The assignment was the same as last year; choose a text, create a drop cap that reflects the mood or content of the text. Time is limited to three hours for finishing the drop cap. No computers allowed for the main design of the drop cap.

This year I must say that I am really impressed with their work, not only the finished results but the enthusiasm and dedication throughout the workshop.

Here is a selection of the designs.

Åladsstugan by Elin Mörsare, Amanda Gyllander, Cecilia Dahllöf and Andreas Äijä.

Ålandsstugan means «the cottage from Åland» and this is, seen to the brief time the students had, a well executed drop cap; wallpapers, curtains, wooden floor and a proper sink. To make a pool out of the circle above the «A» is a brilliant idea. Very well handled and I’m pretty sure that if there was more time the small quirks and rough corners of the drop cap wouldn’t have been there.

Red Onion by Julia Tryggvadottir, Josefine Karlsson, Matilda Harrison and Kasper Bengtsson.

Very playful but still quite strict. Strong visual presentation and very close to the subject of the text. The cutting board frames the «B» very well and kind of reminds me of an old ledtype «B".

Liu by Joakim Bergström and Ida Johansson.

This was the most clever solution of them all. The drop cap is revealed when the printed sheet is folded close so that the image forms an «L». The only drawback is that the drop cap is so large in comparison to the text it can be hard to realise that it actually is a drop cap. Once the sheet is folded open text and images are laid out based on the origamic pattern that the folds creates. Clever indeed.

Star Wars by Hanna Gustafsson, Jessica Gahnström, Jacob Eriksson, Fredrik Forsberg.

Impressive illustration. The group seemed to finish this drop cap with irritating ease for someone like me that draws like a monkey. I like that the majority of the elements is contained within the «S» and just smaller parts of the X-wing and Bobba Fett breaks the shape.

A big bonus would have been if they had Admiral Akbar in there, my favourite Star Wars character.

Period Taboos by Pia Klar, Paulina de Klerk and Micolle Rogersten.

If I remember correctly this drop cap and the text layout grew organically during the design process. It started out with just the tampons but then the group incorporated the background color that matched the overall color theme well.

A very nice touch is the usage of the light green string to create the smaller drop caps for the other parts of the text. Good work!

Clever Coffee by Carina Crafoord, Daniel Lönnbäck, Daniel Evers and Amanda Ahlenius.

Clever Coffee could have been a pretty cliché drop cap. Coffee stains has been used a quadrillion times but it is saved by the text itself. The article talks about clever ways of using coffee and the group has with pretty simple means, illustrated the subject.

A Clockwork Orange

The drop cap is trying to tell everything at once; clockwork plus orange. But once you see it in the full layout it works pretty well connecting the headline with the text below. A nice touch is also the yellow opening lines in each paragraph.

My only criticsm is that «The Good Old Ultra-violence» could be used as the headline instead of «A Clockwork Orange». And the headline could be done quite large as well so that it overlapped the image. Would give the page a bit more drama and nerve.

Quality Coffe by Amanda Lo Ekberg, Amanda Myrberg, Elin Strandberg and Björn Hjohlman. Coffe bean by Andrea Ynnerman, Sofia Nystedt, Sofie Zachrisson and Teresia Magnusson

I suspect that the Quality Coffe-group came up with the idea of using the cup as the drop cap for an article about coffe. And then went to find the text. But nevertheless it’s a solid drop cap that is very visual and clearly conveys the content of the text.

Coffe bean is a pretty straight forward illustration that works well with it’s precise «A»-shape. The crushed beans in the middle of the «A» is a nice solution to what otherwise could have been a bit hard to achieve.


This is, along with Ålandsstugan, the most detailed and worked drop cap of them all. There isn’t one millimeter that isn’t decorated with leafs or flowers and it works really well as a drop cap. Extra points for the patience of the group when gluing all the parts together.

Anonymous war on isis by Linnea Arntén, Lina Nordqvist and Maria Axelsson.

One of the few groups that chose a text that covers a current topic. The drop cap itself is at first glance pretty «innocent» but when you look closer more details are revealed. The bloody outline of the «A», the darkened images in the background, the «010101«-pattern in the knife that makes up the right hand stem of the «A» and finally the thin trace of blood on the knives edge.

Reason of mist by Na-na Bergsten, Markus Konow and Malin Löfgren. Forest Gump by Fanny Hökars, Kerstin Hampusson, Ida Fredriksson and Jenny Pettersson.

Thank you Cynthia Myung for the help with the article!