Playful Lettering Alterations Transform Ordinary Words into Clever Illustrations

This playful series by Ji Lee called Word as Image is one that's nearly 20 years in the making. It began as an assignment for his typography class while in art school, which encouraged students to see beyond the practicality of letterforms and instead play with their shapes to discover their creative potential. “The challenge was hard, so the reward of ‘cracking' a word felt great,” Lee recalls. “This became a lifelong project for me.”

To create these clever illustrations, Lee twists, turns, and extends letters so that they resemble buildings, body parts, and inanimate objects. Each of his designs somehow relates to the word itself. “Clock,” for instance, has an oversized “O” and tiny “L” that forms its namesake within the letters.

Lee is still actively looking for and tinkering with words. His project is a mixture of conventional terms–such as horizon or tunnel–and pop culture references. Donald Drumpf, Kim Kardashian, and various movie titles have each been reimagined over the years. “The dictionary is filled with thousands of fun visual puzzles just waiting to be solved,” Lee said. As long as there are still words to redesign, he'll continue to find the fun and humor hidden within each of them.

Ji Lee: Website | Facebook
via [Fubiz]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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