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Hand-Lettering in Summer Designs

Hand-lettering communicates in a way that digital can’t.  Whenever electronically-polished designs reach a peak, people revert back to accessible and organic designs. And whether the imagery brings to mind the open road or a windswept beach, it’s perfect for summer.

Artist who do hand-lettering usually have the skills of both a calligrapher and a draftsman. They form design with the sense of an illustrator. They draw letters to form a single unified design, not just as components for blocks of text.

The tools used for hand-lettering or hand-drawn lettering are pens, brushes, and graphite. Hand-lettering artists usually begin and finish projects without digital manipulation. But others polish their hand-lettered designs using software applications, vector pen tools, and custom-made brushes. Aside from ink or digital brushes, hand-lettering artists also use paint, chalk, or grains, seeds, or leaves.

This year, as observed by Chelsea Kardokus, companies have picked up on this hand-lettering feel. Their ad designs now combine an all caps or uppercase + script type mix.

But nothing comes close to genuine hand-lettering, as the following examples show:

Skateboard Deck Design by Davide Pagliardini

Skateboard deck design by Davide Pagliardini

Chalkboard Lettering Stationery Set by Lisa Nemetz

Chalkboard lettering on stationery by Lisa Nemetz

Fuel Motorcycles Apparel branding by BMD Design

Fuel Motorcycles apparel branding by BMD Design

Jacksonville Magazine cover lettering by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn

Jacksonville magazine handlettering by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn

Hand-lettering by Christina Berkowitz

Handlettering by Christina Berkowitz

Poster by Jon Contino

Good Times poster by Jon Contino

Hand-lettered design by Alison Carmichael, for Twinings

Hand-lettering by Alison Carmichael for Twinings

Chalk hand-lettering on board, by Aurelie Maron

Chalk handlettering on board by Aurelie Maron

Hand-lettered magazine layout by Sean McCabe

Rachael Ray Magazine handlettering by Sean McCabe

Rachael Ray Magazine handlettering by Sean McCabe

“Cows Are Really Meaty” – Hand-lettered illustration by Steve Simpson

Cows Are Really Meaty by Steve Simpson

“Spoonful of Sugar” – Hand-lettered umbrella by Leen Sadder

Spoonful of Sugar by Leen Sadder

Hand-lettering in designs is now widely called “hand-lettered typography” because both hand-lettering and type can now be worked in the digital medium. But as emphasized in this article by Joseph Alessio, lettering is different from typography. Though both are about letters, each has its own distinction and are best understood with its own terms and purpose. Lettering, calligraphy, and typography–each is a unique skill that infuses the other.

Hand-lettering was limited in its specific historical period to make copies, keep records, send messages. But hand-lettering today reflects the influences of all the design styles we have visual records of. Graphic designers can avail of these styles to create modern hand-lettering projects.

Written by Henry Has

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