In simple words, lettering is the art of drawing letters. Using this technique, you can create unique inscriptions on paper, blackboard, wall, or a computer screen in any graphic editor.
Professional UX/UI design agencies like Clay in San Francisco use lettering for mobile and web design. This post will discuss lettering in more detail and see what possibilities it provides to web designers.
Is calligraphy the same thing as lettering?
In calligraphy, letters are written with a pen, brush, or marker. The shape of the letters in calligraphy depends on the writing instrument’s size and shape, its tilt, and the pressure on the paper.
Lettering is not writing but a literal drawing of letters. To do this, you can take a pencil with a ruler, draw the desired shape on paper, and shade it with a marker. Or do the same thing in a vector editor using a graphics tablet.
Calligraphy is a more complex art. An even and beautiful inscription must be drawn in a single touch, or you have to start over. When doing lettering, the letter’s shape can be corrected many times, measured with a ruler, painted over, and changed as many times as you like. It doesn’t need such subtle skills as calligraphy, so any designer can try it.
What is the difference between fonts and lettering?
Ready-made fonts can be used to type any text, but the proportions of the letters, style, and spacing remain unchanged. On the other hand, with lettering, unique letters are created for a specific inscription. If you need to make them of different sizes, thicknesses, or with some other inclination for esthetical purposes, you need lettering.
The benefits of lettering
Lettering is of great use if you want to make people pay attention to the message. It allows you to style the text and make it more visible. For example, it is unlikely that it will be possible to organize the text in a cat shape from words using conventional ready-made fonts. However, with lettering, it is no problem.
The letters can be almost of any shape and type. It is essential that they were in the same style and obeyed a common logic. At least in one word, the letters are drawn in the same type. If the caption is long, different graphics can be used for other dishes. But there must be something in common in the whole composition. For example, they often try to maintain uniform proportions of letters – the ratio of their width and height.
Where is lettering used now?
Quite often, unique inscriptions are created for corporate identity. For example, lettering is used in the Coca-Cola and Disney logos. If you write the company’s name in a publicly available font, competitors may take the same font tomorrow. With lettering, the inscription will be the one and only.
But lettering is not only a recognition tool. Sometimes it is simply a matter of beauty. Postcards and souvenirs, websites, and apps are decorated with hand-drawn letters because it looks fantastic.
In UX/UI design, lettering can be used to add a unique touch to digital projects. It is helpful to make a specific message stand out, create an atmosphere, or embellish the page. Lettering allows designers to play with the text and organize it in different forms with almost no limitations. Moreover, every lettering sample is unique and will not be stolen by competitors.
All in all, if you are working on a project where a unique atmosphere and beauty are essential, lettering is your best friend.