The weather is turning brisk, pumpkin-spiced everything is on the shelves and stores are swapping out colorful displays of oranges and yellows for reds and greens. The beauty of the seasons-to-come is emphasized in wonderful ways, especially with hand-lettered designs. Just as each Christmas gift is wrapped with care and presented with flare to that special someone, hand-lettering provides a unique and original presentation of a word or phrase to be enjoyed as a singular blend of art and design.
Miles apart from fonts or typography, a hand-lettered design is a work unto itself. Fonts are made to be used and reused, deleted, arranged and assembled for the communicator’s convenience. Typography, or “writing with prefabricated letters” as defined by the Royal Academy of Art, implies that the letters can be formatted and replicated again and again. Hand-lettering doesn’t necessarily offer a repeatable form in each letter, especially as each is positioned to speak with flourish, flash and personality. Also note, hand-lettering isn’t necessarily calligraphy either. Lettering focuses on the art of the letter itself; calligraphy takes the word and its construction into account and has rules for style and form.
So why hand-lettered designs?
Hand-lettering provides a solution for those looking to communicate boldly and originally. Its influence starts with its customization and craftsmanship and ends with a distinct and authentic voice for any given piece. It may be a good option for a situation in which you’d like to add a unique identity – product packaging, menus, signage and displays, merchandise, invitations, greeting cards, wrapping paper, etc. But be aware that in its individuality, lettering can overwhelm certain brands and situations. For example, you’re not likely to see a warning label with a hand-lettered layout. When relating to something serious or conservative in nature, it’s best to steer clear of this design technique.
Lettering is playful and breezy, highlighting what is joyous, sincere and meaningful. Much like the seasons of thanks and giving we are quickly approaching. It’s very special and commands attention (and sometimes even affection). Decorating the holidays with this type of design is sure to raise some good vibes and lovely impressions as we feast and merry our way toward the end of this chaotic year.