What Is Lettering

What Is Lettering? Tips to Master This Discipline

In the world of art and creativity, the concept of lettering has gained a lot of strength in recent years. And it is precisely thanks to advances in technology and the proposals of many artists, this trend has become popular in society.

Nowadays, lettering is present in our lives. However, it is possible that we do not know for sure what it is or we can confuse it with other similar concepts. So, if you want to know everything about lettering, in this article we will clarify all the doubts you have about it and, if you want to become a lettering artist, here we will give you some tips and several training options to take courses in lettering, calligraphy, and typography in online or classroom mode.

What is lettering used for?

Being a discipline of graphic design, lettering is a creative expression that can be applied in any field of communication and marketing. One of the particularities of this art is that it has to be visually appealing and attractive, so if what we are looking for is to highlight something or draw attention, this technique is the right one… It never fails!

There is no doubt that this type of artistic expression has magic. With lettering, we will know that our creativity has no limits and that it is definitely a technique with which to explore a world of possibilities. Moreover, during your course, you don’t have to buy an argumentative essay or other paper anymore.

Typography, calligraphy, and lettering, what is the difference?

Many people tend to confuse these three concepts that, although they refer to letters, are very different. Pay attention!

1. Typography

When we talk about typography we refer to, as its name suggests, the type of letter. That is, the concept encompasses the characteristics of the letter in terms of shape, size, and style. An example, without going any further, is the typefaces that appear in word processors: Arial, Calibri, the famous Times New Roman, etc.

2. Calligraphy

Calligraphy, on the other hand, focuses on writing as such. It is basically the way people write. In other words, the traits they imprint on each stroke… and yes, it is quite an art.

3. Lettering

In this case, the letters go beyond their actual writing. The key to this technique is the drawing… Yes, the drawing of the letters. Therefore, this is a slightly freer and more creative activity where you can let your imagination run wild.

To make it easier, many experts on the subject refer to typography as “the art of designing letters”; calligraphy, on the other hand, can be defined as “the art of writing letters”; while lettering could be none other than “the art of drawing letters”.

Types of lettering

Given its artistic nature, there are different types of compositions for lettering that vary according to their shape, strokes, or materials used for the process. Below, we see what they are:

  1. Brush Lettering. Brush Lettering is one of the most used styles in the design profession. Its main characteristic is its closeness to calligraphy. Here, mainly brush-tip pens are used, ideal for exerting pressure on the strokes and varying their thickness. The technique is simple: upward strokes without supporting the pen to achieve very fine lines; and downward strokes pressing hard on the pen to make thicker lines.
  1. Chalk Lettering. It is a very popular technique that we can appreciate mainly in cafes, bars or restaurants … and who has not seen a striking sign written with chalk on a blackboard at the entrance of a cafe? Precisely Chalk Lettering consists of playing a little with the imagination while we are giving strokes with chalk.
  1. Hand Lettering. In this case, the artist has a little more freedom to draw the letters, since each of them has its own style and can be combined with other techniques to achieve amazing results. The curves, the marked difference between uppercase and lowercase letters, and even the combination of colors are among the most important particularities of Hand Lettering.

Tips for getting started in lettering

  • Watch how you hold the brush. Although it may seem a minor detail, it is not. For the strokes to be as artistic and appropriate as possible, hold your brush or marker a little higher than where you would hold a pen when writing. Be careful also with its inclination, 45º to the paper is the ideal angle.
  • Practice and get to know the tools. Before you start practicing with tools you haven’t mastered, you may want to practice a little with the brushes or markers you already have at home. That way, when you finally take the plunge with calligraphy markers, you will already have mastered the technique.
  • Stroke pressure. Following on from the above, stroke pressure is fundamental in lettering. As you would expect, if you press harder, the stroke will be thicker, and if you press too little, the line will be very thin. The most usual in lettering is that when you make descending strokes these are thicker and, when the strokes are ascending, they are thinner, lightening the pressure.
  • Use pencil guides. To get a word or phrase whose letters are all the same size, it is best to use pencil guides (and with very little pressure!).
  • Make drafts first. Especially if you are just starting out, we recommend that you make a draft first so that you can see what elements you want to be part of the final composition, as well as the shape of the text, what you want to have prominence, etc. Also, when you go to make the final design, you can start with a pencil to write the words before going to the markers/brushes. This way it will come out much better!

Final words

If you are an amateur you may find the free lettering videos enough for you, but if you want to take it to a professional level and make money doing lettering we recommend you to take any course, because you not only learn techniques for your lettering, you also get tips from the teachers that will help you to know different ways of working and how to promote yourself to sell your services.

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