There’s something about the weathered texture and classic muted red that I love in salvaged brick. Growing up, we always had plenty of it around due to the stockpile my dad accumulated from the neighborhood chimneys toppled by the Northridge earthquake. This Valentine’s Day I stole a brick from the remnants of that stockpile to fashion into a gift for Jennifer. Knowing that she loves typographic details, I decided to carve our initials into one face of the brick.
One of the perks of being married to a graphic designer is getting to play with professional design software. Another is access to an unlimited number of fonts. For transferring type to the brick I created an Illustrator document with its dimensions, 4″ x 8″. I then set about selecting a font. I thought a modern, sans-serif typeface would contrast nicely with the worn brick. After trying all the sans-serif typefaces I could think of and a bunch more I hadn’t heard of, I settled on Frutiger. In addition to being an all-around nice looking font, its “J”, “G” and “&” have no descenders and fit into the rectangular shape of a brick. (I was surprised to learn that capital “J” is a descender in so many fonts.) I wanted the letters to fill the space of the brick, so I picked a heavy weight (65 bold) and eliminated the space between the characters. Once I had the text finalized in Illustrator, I printed it, cut it out and traced it on the brick.
To carve out the white space surrounding the letters I used my Dremel, beginning with relatively large grinding bits to clear out the larger spaces and then using finer bits for the detail work. For the finishing touches I used a fine-pointed tungsten carbide bit.
For the price of covering myself in fine red powder I had a unique Valentine’s Day gift that now adorns our distressed cabinet. Who knew you could turn a brick into something so cool?