Co-created Letterform Exercise


  • Fine-tipped black sharpies
  • Medium sharpies
  • White-out
  • Narrow white tape
  • 8 Participants (If you wish to expand this exercise to other letterforms, contact me and I can send you the template for the full alphabet)


  1. Arrange participants in rows at tables. Pass out letter templates (one template to each person).
  2. Go over the instructions for filling out templates (written on each template).
  3. Explain that the first participant will be the Letter Caption for that particular letter. He/she should write down (in the provided area on the template) a rule for the following participants to adhere to. Participants should not explain their rule to others, although they can otherwise chat during the activity.
  4. Set a timer. Give the Letter Caption 5 minutes to come up with a rule and fill out 1/8 of the letter.
  5. Once the time is up, set the timer again, this time for 3 minutes. Each time the timer goes off, ask the participants to pass their letter on to the next person so they might continue filling out the letter.
  6. Each participant can use the White-out or white tape to cover up something done previously.
  7. When each letter has moved through the hands of eight people, it should be returned to the Letter Caption. The Letter Caption now has an additional 3 minutes to finish up the letter.
  8. Scan the finished letterforms. Convert the scans to outlines in Illustrator. Share the results back to the group as vector files to use as they wish.

Letter Templates: letter_templates

To try other participatory exercises, visit

Co-Created Letterforms by Helen Armstrong and Zvezdana Stojmirovic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. You are free to experiment with this workshop in your class as long as you credit the authosr.