Lettering as such is the art of designing letters and other signs by tweaking your design so often, until you’ve arrived at a sustainable solution. One can distinguish between hand lettering, which uses every tool but the computer, and lettering, which in turn also uses the computer. It’s about drawing skills and design ideas. Most artists out there start with a pencil drawing or sketching. It is not writing, though you also may start with handwritten templates, which is then retouched again and again. Many people nowadays use the computer to polish up the end result. Some lettering artists even use programs to turn those seemingly handwritten letters into smooth Bézier outlines.
Jan Middendorp describes lettering in his preface to the book “hand to type” published by gestalten as something, that “may start as single gesture, but is then often embellished, improved, built up, remixed” just “like music recorded in a studio.”
Many lettering artists, we found on the net, have their own philosophy about lettering and its purpose. E.g. Sean McCabe says: “I view lettering as a form of voice. I use it to speak the things I want to say. I am fascinated by its power. When you create beautiful lettering, that work garners attention for its own sake. It simultaneously creates a platform from which you can speak a message. You have people’s attention—now what will you say? I use this opportunity to speak messages of positivity and encouragement. In general, most people see words and read sentences to derive meaning. I see letters as beautiful shapes and curves with forms full of beauty.”
Artists like Martin Schmetzer have taken the whole thing to a new level. And we strongly believe that we will see more of new talented artists uprising, as the industry is discovering what they can do for them. Creating logos and advertisements that are unique and in that way will help build a strong corporate identity.
To us lettering is arts and crafts and we love the new creations that surface every day on the internet. We really think, it will continue to thrive and we will see not only more and more internationally known artists by this trade, but also the overall level of creativity will be rising rapidly. We can’t wait to see what 2014 will show us! I hope you enjoy our picks for this small article!