Raining Cats & Dogs

Jason Tran

Media Type: ,
Course: NMED 3850: Typography
Instructor: Christine Clark

I selected the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” for my artwork, which has both literal and figurative
meanings. The figurative meaning refers to heavy rain, while the literal meaning suggests actual cats and
dogs falling from the sky. Using Adobe Illustrator, I created a digital piece with the Baskerville typeface, a
serif font designed by John Baskerville in the 1750s that reflects the phrase’s origin in the 17th century.
To create the appearance of raindrops, I manipulated the text’s style and shape with thin, elongated
letterforms. Additionally, I incorporated shadows to enhance the perception of heavy rain. I
intentionally varied the size and shape of each word in the raindrop to suggest the unpredictability and
disorder of a rainstorm. To convey a somber and moody atmosphere typically associated with dark,
stormy, and heavy rain, I used dark and neutral colors in my design. Additionally, I added a heavier and
darker grain over my work to enhance this mood.

In my physical design, I utilized a cloth hanger to hang the words “cat” and “dog,” as well their animal
silhouettes. By suspending these elements, I aimed to evoke the sensation of the actual objects falling
from the sky, as if in the midst of a downpour. This arrangement brings to life the literal meaning of the
phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs.” In addition, I incorporated typography to convey the metaphorical
significance of the phrase. Drawing inspiration from various typefaces, I infused animalistic qualities into
the design by utilizing features such as adding tails to the serifs and terminals on the end of each word.
The counters of the letters A and O also feature the imagery of claws and paws. Furthermore, the words
begin with “ears,” not only resembling the ears of cats and dogs but also incorporating typographical
vocabulary. The letters are also big, round, and bold, mimicking the energetic nature of these beloved
creatures. I opted for clay as the material for my design to incorporate a tactile and organic quality that
resonates with the natural phenomenon of rain.


I drew inspiration from various typefaces, including Paw Wow by HansCo and Cattino by Madatype
Studio. I drew upon Paw Wow’s paw-like designs for the counters of the letters, while Cattino’s use of
ears and tails in the typeface design helped me incorporate these animal-like qualities into my work.

To create a juxtaposition between my two designs, I aimed to highlight the contrasting meanings of the
pun “it’s raining cats and dogs.” While the figurative meaning conveys a gloomy image, the literal
interpretation often has a more playful tone. In my digital design, I utilized dark colors and a barrage of
raindrops to evoke the darker imagery of the phrase. Meanwhile, my physical design took a more
lighthearted approach, using playful typography characteristics and a suspended clay composition to
embody the pun’s literal meaning. By utilizing different design strategies, I aimed to emphasize the
disparate interpretations of the pun and create a visual discordance between the two designs.