Sep 20, 2019

Lettering Process: From Sketch to Presentation


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Growing up, I was constantly hand lettering. I would burn CDs for friends and break out the sharpie 30pk to letter the band/album name, always in a different style. Birthday and Christmas cards were more meaningful (ahem, cheaper) when I designed them myself, with big bubble letters spelling out the occasion and recipient. When I began my career as a graphic designer, I found it easier to manipulate letters and make them fit together in unique ways when sketching with a pencil and paper rather than using an existing font.

When it comes to hand lettering logos, my process always begins by getting all of the concepts floating in my head onto paper. I will sketch and sketch until I have exhausted all ideas and then turn to Pinterest, Dribbble, Instagram and other sharing platforms to get inspiration on avenues I didn’t consider or ways I can push my current sketches.

After I have a few solid directions I want to move forward with it is time to bring the pencil drawings into the computer. This step is as simple as taking some photos with my phone and opening them in Adobe Illustrator.

If I want the logo to maintain an organic, grungy feel I will use the image trace feature in Illustrator and adjust with the pen tool as needed. If I am going for a more uniform look, as with the Mom’s Meal logo, I will make the sketch transparent and trace the letters with the pen tool, often using shapes as a form of measurement to ensure line weight consistency. This part of the process always takes a lot of trial and error and tweaking until you achieve the desired results.

The best part about hand lettering is the finished product.. a logo that is completely unique to whomever you created it for. Letters that work together effortlessly to bring a brand to life.

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