Engraving Fonts: The Ultimate Guide

Engraving helps us add a personal touch to any life event. We use it for jewelry, commemorative plaques, and gravestones. When these occasions arise, the combination of the right inscription and the right font can be a difficult choice, but the most common pitfalls are easily avoided.

What to look for in an engraving font

When selecting a font for your inscription, the first decision you'll likely make is whether to use a script or a block font. For formal or somber occasions like funerals or dedications, block fonts are the most common choice. Within block fonts, you can further divide into serif and sans serif. Serif fonts are commonly used in print and have a harsher look, while sans serif fonts are favored in the digital space and feel softer because they lack the extra edges. Sans serif fonts tend to have a lighter font weight, which may make them slightly more difficult to read on smaller objects.

Script or cursive fonts tend to be used for more romantic occasions like weddings and anniversaries, while playful print fonts are commonly used for platonic celebrations like birthdays. While any of these occasions would be special on their own, adding an engraved inscription to your gift makes it that much more memorable. These fonts work best on large surfaces, but are frequently used on jewelry or pens. If you would like to use capital letters with a script font, consider using a monogram for legibility if the object you are engraving is small.

Once you have an idea of the font family you'd like to use, spend a little time looking at the different weights and kerning, or letter spacing, available. You may find that the bold weight of one too-thin font or a more tightly kerned version of another make your font more legible or better able to fit into your engraving space, transforming a slightly-off font into a perfect one. Whichever font you select, be sure to preview your inscription on a background that is similarly colored to the material on which you'll be engraving. Some fonts may look nice on a sample, but turn out to be illegible with a longer message or on a different setting.

Best fonts for engraving

  • Times New Roman: A standard serif font for print, inscriptions in this font are easy to read. A popular choice for formal occasions.
  • Arial: A sans serif block letter option, Arial is softer than Times New Roman, but is still legible on smaller surfaces if you would like a more casual block option.
  • Old English: The intricacy of this font with its many swirls and varying line weights does not lend itself well to smaller engravings. It is typically used on larger surfaces or for monograms.
  • Lucida Calligraphy: A simple script font, the softness of the letters make it a popular choice for romantic occasions. If you would prefer a cursive font where the letters are connected, Lucida Handwriting is another option.

Ask about image engraving if you'd like to copy handwriting from a note, use characters from another language, or even add a logo. If you are asking for an inscription in a language other than English, be sure to pick a style that is thick enough for engraving. If you are using an image, your source may need to be a certain size or printed in black and white.

Designing your inscription

The CorelDRAW graphic design suite can help you make your engraving vision a reality. With the support of typography and layout tools, you can design anything from key tags to wedding rings. Get started with CorelDRAW Standard today.

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