What is hand-lettering?

What is Hand-Lettering?

A lot of people are confused about the difference between calligraphy and lettering. We often times interchanged both terms to mean the other. But what really is the difference between calligraphy and lettering?

In my previous post, I described what calligraphy is.

Now, I’m going to describe what lettering is and how it differs from calligraphy.

So what is hand-lettering?

Hand-lettering or lettering is the art of drawing or illustrating letters. It involves taking a letter from the alphabet and then customizing it to match a certain look in order to convey a specific message to the viewer.

Unlike calligraphy, where you use strokes to create beautiful letters, lettering gives you a lot of freedom on how you customize your letters. It does not adhere to any set of strict rules, but it does follow the fundamentals such as readability, balance, composition, etc.

What is hand-lettering for?

Hand-lettering can be used in so many ways. It could be used to make custom logotypes, posters, banners, store signs, wedding invitations, murals, decors, and so much more. The possibilities are limitless.

There really is no one specific answer. It all depends on how you want to use it. I use hand-lettering to create quotes that I share on social media and on prints. I also make designs for t-shirt using lettering. I have been making logos using custom type. I’ve seen others use lettering to do murals and they make a good living from it. Others use it to design book covers.

The great thing about lettering is because it allows you to customize the letterforms, it can pretty much fit any type of application needed.

What are the tools for hand-lettering?

The tools that you can use for your hand-lettering is as basic as they come. You don’t need some fancy and expensive device for you to start.  You just need to go to your local craft store and purchase for yourself some papers, pencils, ruler, eraser, and marker just to name a few. They need not be the branded ones, you can just use the cheaper ones for your work.

Here is a list of the tools I use for my hand-lettering work:

  1. Paper
  2. Pencil
  3. Mechanical Pencil
  4. Eraser
  5. Fine Markers
  6. Broad Markers
  7. Ruler

Why should I try hand-lettering?

Unlike calligraphy, there are no strokes that you have to master for you to create your artwork. Lettering allows you the freedom to manipulate and decorate the letters as you like, so long as it is clear and readable.

Do you want to create letters that look fat? You can do that.

Want to make the letters look like they are clouds? Easy.

Want the word ‘love’ to be enclosed by the shape of the heart? Possible.

How about making calligraphic artwork without actually doing calligraphy? There is faux calligraphy. (I’ll take about this in depth in another post.)

And on and on…

Hopefully, this post has cleared some of the confusion you have about lettering.

Continue to learn and expand your skills and knowledge.

Until next time!