Type Design: Hand Lettering

Type Design: Hand Lettering

Hand lettering has been one of the most prominent fads over the past year. It can be a great way to give your product or business a bit of character (just don’t over use it) (seriously). Hand lettering has its place, and can be a ton of fun to work with. Whether its for personal work or a way to relax, here are a few steps that can help you get a smooth start with your own hand lettering.

The first step is to practice. A lot. 

Trace fonts. Write your alphabet 50 times. Practice keeping a steady hand. It’ll be easier to keep a smooth line (if that’s what you’re going for) if you’re sitting at a desk where you can get the right support.

Find artists that hand letter in a style that you admire, this will help give you a direction within your own work!

If there are artists whose style you envy, copy their style for a while to help you understand it a little more, and move towards your own style. Some of the artists that I follow are: Kate Moross, Becky Simpson, and Kate Bingaman-burt.

You need to try all sorts of different pens, markers, and brushes.

Find what you’re most comfortable working with and practice even more with it.

If you’re comfortable with the pen you’re holding then you are more likely to be happy with the final product.

I know the amount of different options can be overwhelming when it comes to writing utensils, but the best thing to do is just try as many as you can.

The ones I’ve tried so far:

Pigma Brush by Sakura

Tombow duel brush pen

Winsor & Newton brush marker

Prismacolor premier brush tip marker

handlettered sketches


Get started!

It might sound cliche but the sooner you just get in there and do it the sooner you’re going to make good work.

Just keep going and making things, and even if you don’t think its great or you’re unhappy with it, just fake it till you make it. Be confident in it, and that will show. The fact that hand lettering is never perfect is a part of its big appeal. It has a personalization to it, and character that is undeniable.

megan, an author on the DesignUps Nashville Design Blog

About the Author

Megan is an Associate Art Director at DesignUps. She joined us after graduating with a BFA from Murray State University. Megan's creative talents and thoughts around consistency keep us on track.