Nice Ways to Write Your Name

Everyday and everywhere, you are surrounded by letters and written letters. From logotypes to posters, billboards, t-shirts or volume covers, letters not but tell a story merely evoke certain emotions as well. What if, instead of using an already existing font, you lot could draw beautiful hand lettering that’s full of personality?

by Andrea Stan aka

Even if you’ve already dipped your toes into the space universe of hand lettering, or yous’ve idea about trying information technology out but weren’t sure where to start, you are in the correct identify! We’re going to take a look at the essentials that you need to start this wonderful journey of hand lettering.

I’ve been hand lettering for a trivial over a twelvemonth, and it all started when a weekly challenge popped upward on Instagram and I decided to enroll. I previously played around with calligraphy, only I wasn’t really sure what the divergence between that and hand lettering was. I had goose egg experience, never taken a course, never watched someone do it alive. I just thought information technology would be fun—and it was! Since and so, I’ve been lettering about daily, and learning this skill has been ane of the best things I’ve e’er done!

By the stop of this article, you’ll know the basics of manus lettering and have the conviction to create your ain pieces!

What is paw lettering?

Many people out at that place confuse manus lettering, calligraphy, typesetting and blazon design and utilize the term “type” or “typography” to refer to all of these.

Type Design example
Example of a pretty typeface designed by
Jessica Hische

Blazon blueprint

Type pattern is the process of making typefaces which all of united states can utilize. A type designer creates systems of letters, making sure that all letters of the alphabet piece of work together in countless combinations.

Typesetting but ways arranging type that’s been created by a blazon designer in a given layout. This might be as uncomplicated every bit a black and white newspaper or as circuitous equally a typography-driven brochure.

Dorsum in the day, this was done by manus. Today, we do information technology all on a computer.

Typesetting example
Dynamic and unique typesetting by the famous Russian designer
Alexey Brodovitch


Calligraphy is flawless, gorgeous handwriting. After many years of practice, calligraphers apply muscle memory to perfect their style then that the next time they gets commissioned to create a wedding invitation, for example, they can perfectly write all the copy on the beginning try. Although hand lettering oft imitates calligraphy, the process behind the two is very different.

Hand lettering

Finally, mitt lettering is the art of drawing messages and can accept on many shapes and sizes, from traditional-looking letters to intricate, detailed and not-so-obvious looking ones. This can be washed in any style, on whatever material, with any media.

Even though there are no
in hand lettering, in that location are nevertheless guidelines that nosotros demand to take into consideration.

How to start hand lettering

Earlier nosotros first, permit’s take a quick look at how hand lettering can exist used. You might exist surprised to see just how many ways at that place are to use this art form!

Applications example
Book covers by

1. Get your tools

You don’t need any fancy tools to be a paw-letterer. When I started to get into lettering, I thought I needed the well-nigh expensive and professional person pens, judging past all those super-duper shots from Instagram. I bought a bunch of brushes and pens which I probably used… five times?

The only tools you will truly use are a pencil, paper, eraser and ruler. If yous want your lettering to await calligraphic, consider using the proper calligraphic tools (such as brush pens or nibs), just you tin do just fine without (more on that later).

If you desire to bring your lettering in the digital medium, there are a few means to make it happen. To showtime digitally from scratch, apply a graphic tablet or an iPad Pro and Apple tree Pencil to draw. Or scan your piece, and edit it in Photoshop or Illustrator past using the built-in tracing option or by tracing it yourself using the Pen tool.

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2. Know about letter construction and relation

Guidelines are very important in the process of drawing messages. They help you proceed your letters in proper proportion so they’ll accept a harmonious human relationship between one another.

Letter construction and relation

The ascender line shows how long the ascender of a lowercase letter should be (like l, h, b). The cap height is the height of an uppercase alphabetic character. The x-height is the height of a lowercase letter and the line that holds the batten. The baseline is where all letters rest. The descender line shows how long the descender of a lowercase letter should be (like p, j, g).

In some cases, you’ll have to slightly ignore these guides and make some optical adjustments.

Here is a technique I’ve learned from
Martina Flor. No matter what style of lettering you lot utilize, there are a few basic shapes that we piece of work with—shapes she calls “mother forms.” Nosotros have rectangular shapes (like the letters H or E), triangular shapes (similar the letters 5 or A), rounded shapes (like the letters O or C) plus the combination of all of these.

Letter sizes various

If you have all these shapes on the same baseline, all the exact aforementioned size, the circle and the triangle would expect significantly smaller than the rectangle. Why? Because the square touches the baseline and cap meridian with its unabridged border, while the circumvolve and triangle don’t.

Even if technically they are the aforementioned size, optically they’re non. This is when you’ll use your eyes and instincts to enlarge those letters just a piddling over the baseline and cap pinnacle. How much should you enlarge them? Well, that’s up to you! In time, you lot’ll find it easier until you’ll practise it without even thinking most it. The same rule goes for the lowercase letters, too.

three. Larn the anatomy of letters

Before yous swoop into the actual lettering, it’s of import to know the nearly commonly used terms, then that next time you’ll exist able to call the ‘little thing on the stop of a lowercase letter’ by its proper proper name—a concluding. In one case you know these terms, you’ll be able to talk with anyone well-nigh this topic.

Hither are the ones you’ll apply the about:

Lettering terms

4. Choose a lettering fashion

This is where we go wild! As a letterer, you take to know all the different styles and so you can cull the one that fits your electric current project the all-time. Knowing the basic styles will help you create endless variations of the aforementioned letter.

We withal have
rules to play past, simply your imagination tin go crazy!

The most of import rule to keep in mind at all times is legibility. Y’all tin can create the near ornate, fancy looking Eastward, simply at the end of the day, if it tin can’t be hands recognized as an Eastward yous failed. Since at that place’s non only one right way to draw an E (except for its basic skeleton, which can still be modified), it’s up to us to decide how to draw it.

Serif example
Perfect example of dynamic and festive serifs by
Alix Northrup

Ready? Here we go!

Serif lettering

A serif is the small line fastened at the end of a alphabetic character’s stroke. Initially, information technology was invented to help with legibility but designers and letterers have pushed information technology and reinvented it many, many times, creating some really funky and interesting serifs.

Within this category, there are many other styles. We’ve got former style serifs, transitional serifs, didone or modern serifs, glyphic serifs or slab serifs. Whoa, correct?

Permit’s take a expect at what all these look like:

Serif lettering

And hither are a few examples of all the ways you can apply them:

Ways to use serif

Sans serif lettering

Simple notwithstanding bold sans serif lettering. Play with your x-summit for a more dynamic look. Artwork by
Olga Muzician.

“Sans” means without. So this category of lettering contains typography that has no lines attached to the ends of each letterform. Sans serif lettering is often used to convey a more contemporary manner.

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Even though these letterforms have a more than basic structure than serifs, there are nonetheless a number of creative ways to do this. You might call back there’s not much you can do with something so simple, merely let me testify y’all incorrect!

Sans serif lettering

Let’s see a few of these in action:

Sans serif lettering

Script and brush lettering

Script lettering example
Super clean and sugariness monoline script lettering. Sometimes less is more! Artwork by
Jenny Nyman.

Script and brush lettering refers to letterforms that are connected to each other. This can exist very formal looking and elegant, playful or even super trashy. This fashion imitates calligraphy, just instead of drawing the messages with a single move of the mitt like y’all would in calligraphy, you draw the letters from many piddling pencil strokes to build that await.

The most important rule to keep in heed is that a alphabetic character’southward upstroke is always thin, and its downstroke is always thick. Up thin, down thick. You minimize the pressure of the pen on the ups, you lot push and create more pressure on the downs. Up thin, down thick. Up sparse, down thick. That’s just four words to memorize!

You can also play effectually with a brush pen or dissimilar nibs to get the experience of the stroke so that you’ll know what you have to imitate.

Script and brush lettering

These are the three basic lettering styles. Tweak them however you please, and become to some really crazy, funky looking messages.

Make the letters very slim or very fat. Capsize the weights to get that groovy experience. Add a super heavy weight dissimilarity. Use really crazy serifs or flourishes.

Lettering styles combo example
Great example of combining all lettering styles in i piece by
Jessica Molina

There’s actually no limit to what y’all tin can achieve. Only have fun with it!

5. Add together dimension, details and decorative elements

Now that you lot are more familiar and comfortable with the basic style categories, let’s take a await at what nosotros tin can practice to make them more interesting and decorative.

Dimension example
Super fun instance of how dimensional letters work by
Flavia Salvadori

Adding dimension and shadow

When we talk about dimension, we’re talking about 3 types of shading: the drop line, drop shade and drop shadow. You can create these by cartoon the same shape behind your chief one. Simple as that. If you got comfortable with creating these you lot tin can play effectually with them and make some really interesting shadows to make your letterforms even more than expressive.

For case, you can create a vanishing indicate and connect all the edges of the letter (or give-and-take) to the same point, or you can have some really heavy, bold shadows, playing with the positioning.

Dimension and shadow for lettering

If you have all your dimension added you can go ahead and add together even more than depth. Decide where your light source is coming from and draw the dark parts in wherever the calorie-free wouldn’t touch your letter.

Details example
Lovely piece that uses subtle and simple details on the letters by
Alexiane Davenport

An piece of cake mode to figure this out is if you imagine your alphabetic character is an bodily object on a table. Look at different objects in your room, both rounded and rectangular, to get a experience of how the lights and shadows play on information technology. It takes a fiddling do to get it right, but hey, practice makes perfect!

Add together details

Sometimes you will need to add together some details on the messages themselves. Add anything from a simple inline to intricate flourishes and shading. Let’southward take a look at just a few examples:

Lettering details

There is no rule for how to add together these, except for keeping the letterforms legible and relevant to your project.

Adding decorative elements

At times, you’ll want to make full the empty space effectually your letters. Over again, keep the letters readable at all times.

examples for decorations around lettering

Make sure you don’t go too crazy with the flourishes and little decorative elements. Or if you cull to go crazy, do information technology in a way that fits your concept and style.

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Decorative elements example
Gorgeous instance of flourishes. Notice how, even though the artist went crazy with them, they don’t brand the discussion less legible or the overall look crowded. Every little bend has its identify and purpose. Artwork by
Vera Drmanovski.

These flourishes and swashes tin can be role of your messages or stand on their own. Either mode, they can assistance residue out your composition and make your letters stand out.

Decorative elements example
Yous don’t have to get crazy with decorative elements to make a piece wonderful. In this instance the designer uses an illustration and little hearts to emphasize the written bulletin. Artwork by

five. Draw expressive letterforms

Let’s practise some actual lettering!

As a hand letterer you demand to exist able to express feelings and emotions solely with the style of the drawn messages. For example, you about probably won’t be using a decorative, circusy slab serif for the title of a fancy event invitation (except if it’s a circus briefing?) or a sophisticated script lettering for a sports magazine comprehend.

Practice by trying to illustrate random words with the help of letters. Pick your word and think well-nigh what feelings can that discussion evoke. Write a listing with everything that comes to your mind when you recollect about the given word. Yous can write objects, feelings, styles, anything. The longer the list, the improve.

Expressive letterform

You lot don’t have to employ each of these ideas, just it’s useful to see them all and apply the ones that fit your concept the best.

After you feel like you got everything y’all need, kickoff drawing. At starting time, focus solely on getting the idea from your head to the paper. Don’t get precious with your sketches. Don’t focus on details, and don’t get sad if you mess it up. A sketch is supposed to be messy! Try to sketch fast, without overthinking it and listen to your instincts. Sketch out more than just 1 concept for the chosen word and so that you’ll be able to cull the best.

Sketched letterforms

A little pull a fast one on about sketching is to always start with the skeleton of the letters and add weights later. You lot’ll have a solid foundation to build on and then you’ll be able to concentrate on the very structure of the letters.

As well, try to not only draw the word in a sure style, but utilize objects to correspond it. For example, you lot might build the word ‘bones’ from niggling letter shaped bones or draw actual melting letters for the word ‘melt’.

Afterwards yous’ve narrowed it down to i concept per word, keep sketching and refining. This is where you add together dimension, flourishes and decorative elements. Reference your list to use relevant elements!

Adding details to letterforms

Now, instead of using one style to define the word, use many different styles to requite the same word dissimilar meanings.

Follow the same pattern: choose your word, write the listing and get sketching! Again, don’t get precious with your initial sketches, just allow your ideas flow. Think nigh the many emotions one word tin can evoke. Y’all’d be surprised to come across how the vibe of 1 word tin change just past drawing it differently.

Adding details to letterforms

Pretty fun, isn’t it? You can echo this exercise daily and you’ll outset to see improvement sooner that you might expect. Don’t forget to go along your letters legible, but allow yourself to make mistakes!

Bring mitt lettering to your ain designs!

If you made it through this tutorial, you’re awesome and i step closer to mastering the art of hand lettering. Be proud! I know that getting started can be intimidating, but yous’ll presently find that hand lettering can be such a fun form of art.

You probably have the urge to leap into mitt lettering caput first, and start cartoon intricate, detailed quotations. But get-go, get comfortable with drawing a unmarried word. You can’t build a house if you don’t have potent bricks, correct? With these basics, you have endless possibilities to draw letters and better your skills.

Once you start creating, share your work with the world! Recollect, everyone started out every bit a beginner, and anybody needs their swain artists to give them a little nudge every now and so.

>> Set for the advanced course? Read our tutorial to hand lettering quotes and sentences.