The old school skill set of hand drawn type is becoming more and more desirable again in modern design. In our current digitally-driven design world of generic san serifs and over used Lobster Font, the popularity for this old trait couldn’t have come at a better time. From logos to wedding invitations, from magazine covers to chalk board displays, this old craft is coming back. Each piece is completely unique; it’s not just downloading a font or filter off the internet that anyone can use. The idea of hand crafting gives you complete freedom to design type for anything you need. Any style, any size, any extra bells and whistles. Even if someone was to copy another artist, they would not be able to duplicate the piece 100% because of the personal, hand crafted elements.
Unfortunately there are a lot of misunderstandings with some of the terms and concepts behind typography and lettering. Even though lettering and typography share many of the same concepts, a good eye and understanding of one will enable you in the other as well, though they are completely different disciplines.
Lettering can be simply defined as “the art of drawing letters”. The concept is very simple: a specific combination of letter forms crafted for a single use and purpose as opposed to using previously designed letters as components, as with typography. Often lettering is hand-drawn, with pens, graphite or brushes, although some people start their work directly in Adobe Illustrator.
Just as typography is not lettering, lettering is not typography. Typography does indeed have similarities to lettering — it is still dealing with letters, but within the context of typefaces and their correct use. When things are hand drawn this means that they’re full of character with numerous differences which make them unique.