The art of hand-lettering

Typography is an essential skill for any designer to possess. The trouble these days though is that it’s so readily at hand – a tap away on a keyboard in your favourite font and Bob's your Uncle! Typography can have a habit of losing its personal touch and, with this in mind, Simon, David and Jodie took part in a short course in hand-drawn lettering at Print to the People to inject some personality into their typography.

Our tutor, illustrator and hand-drawn typographer Beverley Gene Coraldean, began with a brief introduction to typography; its origins, the basic rules and all the different formats and styles which can be created. Then, taking our newly provided brush-tipped pens in hand, we embarked on practicing the basic strokes required when drawing type. Holding the pen to its side and pressing down hard created thicker down strokes, followed by bringing the pen slightly away from the page, so that the tip is only just in contact with the paper, for the thinner up strokes. Sounds easy doesn’t it… it was surprisingly hard to get it right!

Next we progressed to drawing individual letterforms shortly followed by whole words with joined up characters. Once we’d mastered this (well sort of!) we where then encouraged to create extra flourishes and curves in-between the letters – this is where the character and artistic nature of hand-lettering could really be explored.

Naked Marketing Hand lettering

The afternoon session is where we advanced to the bit we were all really there for… creating hand-drawn postcards developed from our skills gained in the morning. We had use of layout paper (semi-translucent paper, perfect for tracing), allowing us to retrace our favourite lettering and refine curves and lines, and a photocopier in case we needed to enlarge anything. Once we were ready it was time to be brave and take pen to postcard! This is where the lightbox came in very handy as we could use it to trace our lettering onto the thicker A6 card.

It’s fair to say that that the whole team loved the course and now feel fully prepped, armed with their brush-tipped pens, should the opportunity come along to add a personal touch to our clients' work. 

By Jodie Cole on 05.02.18