Letter Design: The Ultimate Guide to Designing Your Letter

Visually appealing words can be beautiful in meaning. Hand lettering or modern calligraphy involves creating artistic lettering using repetitive upstrokes, downstrokes, and repeating shapes. If you are practicing hand lettering as an art form, this guide will help you get started with exceptional ideas and tips for designing your work.

Ideas for designing your letter

When choosing calligraphy shapes for your writing, you will have several options, including faux calligraphy, bounce lettering, and brush lettering, and more. Also, with this art form, you can add your own twist on an alphabet rather than striving to copy an existing idea precisely.

Brush lettering

Brush lettering features thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes common with traditional calligraphy. However, unlike the conventional lettering created using a nib and ink, brush calligraphy is created using brush pens. These pens come with a flexible tip that responds well to pressure. As you ease up on the pressure on upstrokes, a thin line is created and vice versa. Notably, you can also create brush lettering with a paintbrush.

Bounce lettering

Bounce lettering adds an element of fun and playfulness to brush lettering. Although they share a similar foundational technique involving an increased pressure on the downstrokes and light pressure on upstrokes, bounce lettering tends to be much more freeform. To get the best results from this art form, it is advisable to raise the bottom of a letter above the baseline or extend a part of the letter beyond the standard upper and lower guidelines. This means that, unlike brush lettering, your letters won't be on the same straight line but will instead adopt a bouncy look.

Faux calligraphy

Faux calligraphy tries to copy the thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes of traditional calligraphy but without any change in the weight of the pen. First, you form letters using a thin pen, then manually add thick parts of each letter before filling in the spaces created.

Italic hand

Italic hand or Chancery uses letters that slant to the right to give the typeface an elegant but legible appeal. This type of calligraphy is easy to read, practical and fancy. An Italic hand is ideal for writing special invitations, poems, framed family trees, and any other written works.

Roman writing

Roman writing or Rustic Capitals is a style of calligraphy that only features capital letters. They come as chunky letters with an ancient but appealing look. With this type of lettering, some letters such as B and F tend to be taller than others, and no letter U is included in the alphabet. Ideally, the letter V doubles for both U and V. This simple hand is ideal for official-looking documents and items that you want to look antique.

Black lettering or gothic script

This style involves thick and chunky letters. It is arguably the most prominent lettering style in old manuscripts or illuminated texts. The letters take an angular form that intersects slightly with one another. Gothic script is ideal for items that need to be easy to read.

Final tips for your letter design

Slow down

Calligraphy, as an art, was never meant to be fast, which is why you should take your time when practicing your letters. Going slow can help you get better letterforms and sharper strokes.

Pause between strokes

Going slow and pausing between strokes goes hand in hand during your lettering practice. Pausing between strokes helps you achieve an even spacing between your letters. It also enables you a chance to focus better on the letterforms, which ultimately help reinforce your muscle memory. Pausing between strokes can also help you get better thick and thin strokes to give your letter a distinct look.

Hold the brush pen correctly

One great mistake that most people make is to use the brush pen the same way we hold a regular pen. If you are struggling to create ideal letters with your calligraphy, ensure you adjust the manner you are holding your brush pen. Hold your brush pen a little bit above the tip and at about 45 degrees angle from the paper for you to master the thick and thin strokes and get smoother transitions between them. You should also loosen the grip on your pen, as holding it too tight may prevent you from moving your pen freely besides causing fatigue.

Be mindful of pen pressure

In calligraphy, it is crucial that you are aware of the pressure you exert on your brush pen. The rule of thumb is to use light pressure for the upstrokes and heavy pressure for the downstrokes. Light pressure for the upstrokes helps you achieve those distinct hair-like strokes. Heavy pressures on the downstrokes help you get thicker lines.

Adopt the right body posture

It is crucial that you find a comfortable position when you are practicing your lettering. An ideal desk or table holding your paper should not be too low or too high. Additionally, ensure your back is straight and comfortable. When practicing for extended periods, take breaks after every other hour.

Final thoughts

Learning modern calligraphy takes time, patience, and practice. The best way to perfect your art is by continuous practice. Set aside some time to practice your skill each day. If you are also looking for graphic design pro tools, check out CorelDRAW's graphic design software solutions for all skill levels.

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