Updated: May 11
Authenticity, honesty and the power of human imperfection.
This blog is written for you if:
You’re a business owner, art director or graphic designer wanting to know when and why you should hire a hand-lettering artist.
You’re a hand-letterer wanting to know how to describe your value to potential clients or even just your friends.
You’re curious and want to learn a little bit about hand-lettering.
Ok, so you probably have found yourself wondering - What the heck is hand-lettering? So I have written this blog to explain to the best of my ability what the heck it is we are doing over here in this beautiful little niche of the design world.
Hand-lettering is the specialized niche of drawing unique, custom letter-forms and illustration pieces. The overall composition and each letter involved will go through careful consideration and deliberate planning to communicate the intended message effectively. The most magical thing about hand-lettering is that it has a completely authentic human touch, no two lettering pieces will ever be the same and it’s dang hard to replicate that feeling with a font.
Why is hand-lettering valuable?
There are endless amounts of reasons individuals and businesses are hiring hand-lettering artists like myself. As the world becomes more automated and mechanical, people are being drawn back to the basics where hand-made and relatable content is regarded as more authentic and personal. Having a strong piece of hand-lettering that is uniquely customized for you and you alone will be memorable, effective and on brand.
As I’m sure you know, when you speak to your customer on an emotional level it creates a connection that lasts. Branding, advertising and apparel are just a few of the many industries who are now utilizing the skills of hand-letterers to invoke a human connection with their customers and clients.
Maybe you’re a graphic designer and your project needs a beautiful “custom font”. You could spend hours scrolling fonts (previously guilty) in search of the exact style that matches the one in your head, or maybe you have found a font that is ‘good enough’ but doesn’t quite communicate the emotion that you or your client were hoping for. This is where I come in - I create the words to fit your project, instead of having your project fit the font. Your message, desired emotion, brand values and color palette are kept top-of-mind while I create something unique and custom to solve your type problems.
Should I use custom lettering or a font?
There's a time and place for both.
Fonts are great when your goal is to have a uniform, corporate and/or structured appearance. Even a well-designed font with a “handwritten” aesthetic will tend to have the same repetitive look with a structured, somewhat robotic feel.
Lettering, on the other hand, can be quite powerful with it’s imperfect nature. As the advertising world once pursued an ideal of perfection, people are now connecting more with things that are perfectly imperfect. Authenticity, honesty and the power of human imperfection rules the day.
When should I hire a hand-lettering artist?
You should hire a hand-lettering artist when you are looking for a design that is type-focused and is:
100% Unique and customized to communicate your message
Going to help you stand out
Never going to go out of style (just look at original sign painting and how it’s beauty has stood the test of time)
Consider your company/clients goals and values. If the company values speak to the words “authentic”, “hand-made”, “original” or “unique”, it would generally follow suit that hand-lettering would be a good fit for the brand and content.
Specialty is key. A professional hand-letterer has one sole focus: hand-lettering. I’ve spent countless hours over many years practicing techniques, learning theory and developing a ‘style library’ so that I can meet the typographical needs of any situation thrown at me with confidence. I not only work with clients directly but also with graphic designers and art directors who are seeking my specialized skill set to compliment their own graphics.
So, what projects are hand-lettering suitable for?
Custom lettering can be used for a wide range of applications, including but not limited to:
Logo Design / Identity Design
I hope that I’ve shed some light on the topic of lettering for you and have made it a little clearer what it is that I do and why hand-lettering is of great value to the design world. Art truly makes the world a better place!
If you’ve made it all the way through this post and you feel like my services may be of value, whether it's now or in the future - head on over here and fill out that contact form to get in touch with me :)