so far so good! great progress, we are being mechanical and almost sans expresssion to consider the basic approaches. Look for ways for the Texture approach to be Vector only. You can Mask, just not with a raster image. (alothogh these are interesting.
Improvement on the texture concept. Might possibly consider a texture for the background as well, could make for a very cohesive approach. Letter form is isolated and separate from the solid gray value. :>