May 7, 2018

DIY: Typographic Guess Who

DIY: Typographic Guess Who

Okay, remember Guess Who? It may have been awhile since you last played, so here’s a refresher:

• You start with all of the tiles up, your own card in front

• You ask your opponent questions about who is on their card, and use your tiles essentially as notes. “Does your person have glasses?” “Is your person wearing a hat?” depending on their answer, you turn over tiles until you only have one or two remaining, and then you can guess.

I thought this would be a really great way to experiment with those learning typography. You could ask questions like “Does your typeface have slab serifs?” “Is it a script typeface?” You’d both need to be able to use type anatomy and your knowledge of type anatomy to win. Since you can’t exactly buy a blank Guess Who board, I decided to make my own:

You will need:

• Three pieces of .25″ thick wood, 1.5″ wide by 36″ long (to make 50 tiles)

• Two pieces of 12×24″ birch plywood

• One 36″ long square dowel

• Paint, your color choice

• 50 tiny hinges – I cleaned out two Home Depots to get mine, because they only come in packs of four

• A bottle of Weldbond 8-50160 Universal Adhesive

I marked the 36″ strip of wood in two-inch segments with a pencil, all the way down. I also felt like 24″ was too long for the gameboard, so I cut it down with my jigsaw to be 18×12″.

This part is key: find a friend who has a circular saw and is much more talented than you at woodworking and ask him very nicely to help you cut down all of the wood strips. Each strip makes 18, so even though you only need 50 you’ll end up with 72. I’m hanging on to the rest of mine in case I find another use.

Bring home all of the wood pieces, and carefully sand them down on all sides so they’re smooth.

To make sure the pieces of wood end up on the board as a grid, I cut out a scale paper guide out of some posterboard I had hanging around. This part ended up being extremely helpful!

Glueing the hinges was probably the hardest part – the glue can only touch the part where the screws would normally go, and NONE can get in the actual hinge bit (because of course, it will stop up). I went through several glues and stuck my fingers together several times before landing on a rhythm. Also, probably a quarter of the hinges from Home Depot were duds out of the packaging, so buy more than you think.

I ended up doing the glueing in two batches – I glued half of the hinge to the base and taped it gently with clear scotch tape, let it set for about 10 hours, and then went to glue the other half to the game piece – when I tried to glue both at the same time they just slid around like crazy!

While everything is closed and setting, take this time to paint the pieces – the paper grid acts as sort of a drop cloth so you don’t get any paint on the game board, and all the little pieces stay still so you can paint them correctly. I used some random colors I had in my office.

Make sure that, when you close the game piece, it fits perfectly inside the paper grid!

Let it all set for like, two days. Don’t rush this part. When it’s done, gently pull up the paper grid.

Another tip while the glue is setting – start working on the game pieces. You don’t have to use typography, you could really use anything that has enough options and descriptors. I pro tip: tape them on gently so you can remove them and add new options later. I thought it would be fun (and very tough) to specifically make game pieces with just script typefaces or something – you’d have to really lean on your type anatomy!

Cut the square wood dowels into 6″ pieces and glue them together at the bottom to make a stand for your card, and you are done!

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2 thoughts on “DIY: Typographic Guess Who

  1. Carey says:

    I like this idea a lot! I think I would have used a vinyl cutter to make the individual letters pop more and keep the nice woodgrain on the verso side.

    1. Sarah Lawrence says:

      Wonderful suggestion! I wish I had a vinyl cutter!

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