A Typographic Jigsaw Puzzle

 “This exercise is designed to help you to look at typefaces more closely…
The typeface Baskerville has been deconstructed so it only contains
the strokes, serifs and bowls that are common to all the letterforms. Your task is to try
and put it all back together again to read :
the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”


I looked up some information first…This typeface was made by type designer, writing master and printer, John Baskerville (1706-1775).

Further information here




I was a bit stumped with this for a while, as I was unsure what we were being asked to do! At first I thought the phrase was already written in order. Then I started to see the shapes were randomly positioned, and how they might join up.

I then looked at Baskerville in detail, which helped me to look for the letter parts, especially as I noticed details such the “x” is made up of different width strokes, or the shape of the letter “q” etc…

Here it is:


I used layout paper to trace each of the letterforms as I found them. On the left, I’ve marked how I connected all the component parts…

I’m not sure i have got this totally correct – but I did my best! You can see I ticked off each letter ’til I knew I’d found the whole alphabet.


Next once I found all the parts I could, I took a fresh sheet of layout paper, and drew the baseline, and median line, as suggested. Here are the finished letters displaying the phrase “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.


Even with tracing these letters, i was struck by how hard it is to be neat! Spending this amount of time scrutinising a font certainly does make you notice the detail. Also, despite being careful, I can see some of the style is lost, and the letters aren’t as elegant as they should be. My fault, I obviously need more tracing practise!



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