Exercise 18

Giving instructions

In this exercise I had to give instructions from a choice of 3 options.  I chose to create instructions for making tea.  Firstly some research was done on what type of tea images were out there, most of which seemed to be of china tea cups or herbal teas when searching for it.  These images were then gathered into a pinterest board for inspiration.

Click here for the pinterest boards – TEA Typography

Secondly I checked what type of poster is typically used when giving instructions.  I also paid attention to the back of coffee and tea samples as many of them had basic instructions on them for making it.

Thirdly I researched the type of fonts used for conveying instructions.  These ranged from very clear and clean to quite decorative and elaborate, as you can see from the sample board above.  At this stage was when I got slightly lost as I digressed to the skillshare website and watched a lot of videos on typography.

From these approaches I then decided to try two different styles for the instructions.  The first was going to be very clean and clear with the minimum amount of instruction and the focus more on the images.  I also decided to make the objects relatable by making them similar to japanese characters.

The second image was going for a more carnival feel with the instructions less formal and rigid and more circus in character.  Both images were done in pencil first and coloured using pencils or markers.  The background was added to give a textured finish.  Inks were also used to create a stronger image in the second instruction.

My first image was successful in one aspect in that it was clear and clean in finish.  However, despite the inclusion of japanese characters in it, it didn’t feel warm or invitiing.  It felt a little too vague and slightly unfinished.

The second image took a while to figure out.  The first and second drafts were not meeting the vision I had and although I had created various inspiration boards in pinterest and a sample board of the writing, it was not going the way I wanted.  The pencils were not working, the markers weren’t working and the image wasn’t making any impact.

I went back and redid it and finished it in various black ink pens and brush pens.  The strong black and white image worked better and the added flourishes brought the image to life more.  The background added was a free stock image of a tea stained paper, that I felt gave the antique look that I wanted.


There are some aspects I really love about this, such as the mish mash of fonts used and the way it is spilling from one side to the other.  It might be a bit too busy and hard to read when in b&w but the softer background makes it easier.

Is it the best set of instructions for tea making?  Not sure about that, perhaps the first image is slightly clearer in that regard, but the flow of reading from left to right with the circles felt interrupted because I had to go in a square direction.  Had I created a more circular shape it would have read easier.

The image above is deliberately busy as the carnival and circus element suggests a little organised chaos.  I did try it out on a few people and although visually pretty it didn’t direct the eye around the page and give a clear instruction, so I won’t be getting a cup of tea any time soon then!