‘How do I create my own unique lettering style?’ is a pretty common question once you’ve got a handle on the basics. After all, in the huge lettering community, won’t it be awesome when someone can recognise your work just by looking at it?
There are many ways to create your own style though, so I’ve complied a list of tips that you can use again and again to keep inventing your own styles! Let’s get started!
1. Find font styles you like
I think it’s really important to know what you like instead of copying things willy-nilly. What you like will inform your creative choices, so my first tip to you is to hop on Pinterest and start finding font styles you like and pin them all to one board. Here’s mine for you to get started!
You can also find inspiration in places in Creative Market or other font sites and pin your favourites to Pinterest from there.
2. Learn the typographic terminology!
Alright, this is a little geeky, but it goes back to making informed choices! If you’ve followed my Brush Letters Booster workbook (or any other workbook out there), you’d have a good basic style to start personalising by tweaking little things. This is where terminology comes in!
Type has many different components, and knowing what they are will help you know what you’re tweaking — and tweaking it across the entire alphabet. For example, if you know you want longer descenders, you may forget the ‘f’ or ‘z’ because they don’t usually have descenders in regular writing!
3. Analyse your favourites board
Typographic terms also come in super handy here. What you like will play into your style, so head back to your Pinterest board and find the patterns in there. Maybe you like skinny letters, or dramatic contrast between your thick and thin lines.
Once you spot the patterns, you can consider how to add it to your current basic style to make it your own.
Don’t be surprised if you spot more than one pattern either! You don’t have to integrate all the patterns you spot in one style, that’s for sure! Most letterers out there definitely have more than one single lettering style. Take my board for example: the contrast between thick and thin for most of the cursive fonts aren’t very dramatic — which pops up a lot in my script styles!
But if you see my other lettering style board, I have a ton of serif letters that are illustrated with florals and other doodles! It’s just another style that I’m slowly exploring!
You don’t have to do it all at one go, that’s for sure! In fact, keep repeating tips 1 and 3, because I guarantee you, your style will keep evolving over time!
4. Get inspired by other lettering artists
Of course, fonts aren’t the only source of inspiration — they are just easier to analyse since you know, full alphabet and all. But fellow artists are also a great source of inspiration!
I mean, have you ever read that book Steal Like An Artist? Here’s my takeaway: everyone’s inspired by stuff around them. What makes your work yours is how to weave your inspirations into your own work. You want people to look at your work and go “oh hey, that’s insert-your-name-here.”
The same way you incorporated the stuff you liked into tweaking your own style, you want to incorporate the things that inspire you from other artists into your own.
Take the ‘flourishing’ I wrote here for example! The lettering is pretty much all me, but I learnt flourishing from watching IG videos — primarily from crazy good people like Amanda and Jarrin. When I pick apart my work, I know that ‘r’ and ‘h’ flourish is likely influenced from Amanda’s style. That ‘g’ though? Totally from watching Jarrin.
(Who by the way, does amazing work with flourishes and has an entire workbook dedicated to that. His complicated flourishes are amazing to watch, even though I personally would never overlap flourishes that way — I’m too much of a Tetris person!)
5. Lastly, experiment!
More than half the fun in lettering is creating new styles and just experimenting till you find something you like. And that’s the best tip I can give you for creating your own unique lettering style: simply keep playing until you get it. Then play some more!
While I like my bounce lettering, I’m still figuring out Copperplate and a more irregular handwritten script, amongst other things! It’s a gift that keeps on giving 😉
What’s your favourite lettering style: script or serif? Let me know in the comments!