Coming up with lettering styles

When thinking of lettering, do you think of calligraphy or do you think of bubble letters you did on your folder back in grade school? For me it's brush lettering that pops into my mind first, because that is my favorite kind and what I mostly work with.

 

coming up with lettering styles @twoeasels

 

But how many lettering styles are there?

Let me tell you a little secret, there are infinite styles of letters. Because lettering is created by each artist from scratch there are no two identical styles, even if we think they look alike. 

Take for instance the word STRAWBERRY, I did some quick sketches below, I tried bubbly letters, funky serifs, faux calligraphy, decorative with details and representational (the one that looks like each letter is a strawberry) and even stuffing all the letters into an actual strawberry shape. And even if I told you to recreate these, yours would look different, unique to just you.

 

Many different lettering styles. Strawberry by @twoeasels
Strawberry sketch
 

How do I come up with styles?

 

Gather inspiration

The trick is to google and doodle. You can look up styles online or in your favorite lettering book. Then with those inspirations — because stealing is bad — you can now start to sketch your own letters for your lettering design.

 

Keep in mind the basics

Don't start going crazy and getting panicky because you don't know what to pick, or don't even know your options. Think of these basics.

 
 

Thin
Thick
Tall
Wide

Serif
Sans-Serif
Cursive/Script
Decorative

 

Start a couple sketches with sans-serif letters, then some with serif or script, play around with shape and size and decorative elements.

 

Many styles of hand lettering for you to play around with @twoeasels
 

Don't be afraid to sketch and sketch and sketch. It may take a while before you finally get something that sparks that joy and makes sense.

sketching strawberry lettering

 

DECORATE YOUR LETTERS

After you're all done with the shapes and sizes of your letters, think of some decorative elements to add. Play around with dots, lines, textures, swirls, drop shadows, outlines, banners and more.

Like I said, there are infinite ways to do this so just jot down your ideas and see where they take you.

 


Want to learn more about lettering, styles, supplies and digitizing your piece? Check out my Lettering Course!