hat exactly is lettering? I know not all of you reading this are designers, so let me give you a summarized version. To be specific, lettering is the art of letter drawing when a word or phrase is presented as an artwork. Each letter is drawn in an original way and together they form a unique composition. Lettering masters usually work by hands using various pencils, brushes, ink, or chalk. Some may prefer applying graphic tablets and stylus but it can be more challenging because it requires advanced skills in special programs like Adobe Illustrator. A distinctive characteristic of hand lettering is that an artwork can be carefully developed as well as absolutely spontaneous. People seeing decorative letters may think “ A calligrapher did a stunning work!”. It happens because not everyone knows that lettering and calligraphy are not the same things. Lettering is the art of letter drawing while calligraphy is the art of beautiful letter writing. A dip pen and ink are calligraphy masters’ main tools. Calligraphers follow certain rules to create a perfect construction with the letters made in one style. They regulate the width of lines by changing degrees of pressure on the pen. Calligraphy masters usually write one letter and even one word with one stroke. One of the biggest differences is that calligraphy aims at the perfection of style while lettering is popular due to the freedom of the presentation. Lettering is more like an individual illustration. Each letter is an original unit and together they form a unique picture. Masters of lettering are not constrained by the certain style, so they can create something really special which isn’t similar to anything else.
Hand Lettering in Design
Being an expert means non-stop improving and expanding professional skills.Today a proficient designer is expected to be an artist, architect, psychologist, and illustrator all in one face. So, the lettering skills will definitely be a huge benefit for a designer’s status. However, some may ask how lettering can be applied in web design. Nowadays, a designer can choose from a great assortment of various fonts perfectly suiting different digital products. Nevertheless, it may happen that a client’s product has a wide range of competitors and to stand out, it needs something extraordinary so that the product could attract the attention of the potential customers. Many designers offer to create slogan lettering. It is drawn in an absolutely original way which characterizes the product and the company principles. This way people may memorize the slogan quicker and associate it with the certain product. Design with custom lettering can increase brand awareness and make sure people will be able to distinguish the company from the others. In addition, beautiful original lettering can guarantee the pleasant first impression from the company. People always appreciate things which go from hand craftsmanship, so handmade lettering will give clients strong associations with the trust and painstaking. Also, decorative letters give the feeling of aesthetic pleasure which is significant for the delightful first impression too.
Hand Lettering in Branding
Building strong brand identity is as vital as providing excellent services to your customers: a business just can’t survive without the brand awareness and loyalty. A logo is one of the key parts creating brand’s image. Well-thought logo design can tell about the personality of a company to the potential clients. A designer’s task is to create a powerful extraordinary logo that would represent the business image and transfer the message of the company. Hand lettering is an effective way to design unique, aesthetic, and recognizable brand identity. A designer creates custom letters fully based on company’s features and peculiarities. The professional will take into account the smallest details paying deep attention to every letter and line because it’s known that the devil is in the details. Moreover, today everyone strives at uniqueness so a great benefit logo with the hand lettering brings to a business is that everything made by hands can never be repeated once again. It means a company receives an original logo that will be hard to plagiarize so people will associate it strongly with your company.
Disadvantages of Lettering in Design & Branding
Despite all the pleasant emotions and benefits hand lettering brings, it isn’t perfect as well as any other technique. First of all, considering hand lettering as a design element, you need to think if it suits the brand. For example, it’s hard to imagine a website of a law firm with decorative letters say “We’ll protect your rights”. Hand lettering looks artistic and sometimes even playful. A designer needs to understand the target audience and their requirements before taking decisions. Another point to keep in mind is legibility of letters. Sometimes, it may be difficult to see the line between beautiful and usable. Designers may go too far with the letter decorating turning them into the illegible mess. Unreadable letters may ruin the transferred message so a company risks falling into disrepute or losing the reach.
Hand lettering is an old craft requiring discipline, knowledge, and talent. Not every designer will choose to spend time and effort to lettering learning. However, for those who want to learn and for the companies thinking about applying hand lettering, we present the list of possible benefits it may bring.
Personally, I've always been very into lettering and using hand drawn elements in design. Although physical lettering pieces isn't something I advertise my services for, I do take custom orders. However, after buying an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil, I am LOVING hand drawing in my designs even more so now! I'm really looking forward to more projects that will fit this style. Fellow designers: do any of you use your own lettering in any projects?
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