Whitney Danhauer

Use Hand Lettering to Create Beautiful Marketing Graphics

By: Whitney Danhauer | December 7, 2017 | 
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hand letteringAs soon as I learned how to print as a child, I was hooked.

I didn’t want to just print the letters; I wanted to make them pretty.

I can remember pretending to write cursive letters that were just squiggles on paper because printing them wasn’t enough.

After I finally reached that blessed grade where they taught cursive (3rd grade if you were in a Kentucky school in the 80s, in case you were wondering), I immediately began to try and make them look better and neater.

My teachers would reprimand me for taking so long to take notes, but I couldn’t help it.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t write faster, it was that I didn’t want to.

As weird as it may sound, I have always loved the act of writing.

This is why it came as a shock to absolutely no one who knows me when I took up the art of hand lettering.

Seriously, these are my notes from work the other day:

hand letteringBeing a relatively creative person with the ability to express myself through writing (I write content for the LockNet blog, and I wrote a novel in 2015), and now through hand lettering, is huge to me.

Taking a Hand Crafted Art into the Digital World

Recently, the sales and marketing team at LockNet were given iPad Pros as part of the equipment needed to do our jobs efficiently.

I own an iPad but have never had any experience with the Pro or the Apple Pencil until my job supplied me one.

It’s perfect for taking notes on the go and when I travel for business, but it has opened up an entirely new world when it comes to my hand lettering passion.

I downloaded the Procreate app, and my obsession with hand lettering went from a five to a solid 2,278.

After I started creating more and more practice pieces, I began to research how I could incorporate hand lettering into my marketing plans for 2018. (Yes, I’m that obsessed.)

Little did I realize how much hand lettering is already in use in marketing, and I wasn’t paying attention.

Branding is Key

When it comes to marketing, branding yourself or your company is key.

What’s the main and most visible part of your brand? Your logo.

Sure, most companies are fine with using a logo created by a team of graphic designers to make their business stand out.

There is no denying the beauty of logos like McDonald’s, Nike, Starbucks, and more.

There is nothing wrong with these graphic designs or the team behind them.

I would never want to take away from their hard work.

But what if you could make your logo evoke more emotion and positivity?

This is possible with hand lettering.

hand letteringRules? We Don’t Need No Stinking Rules.

First things first, calligraphy and hand lettering are not the same.

They look similar, yes, but the methods behind them are very different.

With calligraphy, each move is calculated to give the end result a very smooth and uniform feel.

Hand lettering uses the best part of calligraphy and adds a little chaos to it.

The beauty is in the imperfections.

With hand lettering, there are no rules stating you must connect this letter to the next in any certain way.

Most hand lettering is freestyle, and the letters often come together after a significant time sketching and re-sketching, until the artist achieves the design they want.

Hand lettering uses cursive, print, bubble letters, shadows and flourishes, and all of these things coincide in a way to make the final product similar to a piece of art, as opposed to a plain word.

Hand Lettering and Your Brand

While I still have a long way to go when it comes to my hand lettering skills, I’ve started researching the process and what it entails so I can keep progressing.

This includes ups and downs of the art and where it can and can’t work.

Hand lettering isn’t for every brand.

The final result is often “fun” or represents someone’s personality, and that is not necessarily the look everyone wants to achieve.

Can you imagine the local police department logo written out with a bunch of swirls and loops?

It doesn’t give people the idea that their local police force is ready to get down to business and take out a criminal when the situation arises.

A benefit to hand lettering is it can be crafted specifically for you or your company.

Every piece is unique, and there is no way to make each piece exactly the same.

This may be a downfall to some, but for others, it can serve as powerful brand recognition.

Because your competition isn’t going to be able to recreate the same logo, you get a logo or design made specifically for you.

Incorporating Some Fun Into Boring

Then there’s the fun factor.

Even though fun isn’t an emotion every company wants to evoke, if it’s something you can work with, it can take your brand recognition up a notch.

For example, I work in the door and lock hardware industry.

It’s a running joke between Gini, Laura, and me that it’s probably in the top five of most boring industries.

I cannot handle boring.

So in turn, I’ve managed to work a little fun and creativity into my job at LockNet.

A lot of this is dependent on my writing. (Do you know how bad Hollywood is at getting doors and locks right? They’re awful. I’ve been able to write about this a lot, and it’s definitely not boring.)

The rest of it is dependent on other forms of media.

Lately, I’ve begun to create hand lettered graphics for use on my blog and social media.

While, no, it’s not making people run out and scream from the rooftops that they love doors and locks, it is getting LockNet a bit more recognition because it’s so unexpected.

hand letteringWhen you work in an industry that thrives on measurements and streamlining things, adding a little bounce to my lettering in some graphics is something which catches people’s eyes.

Can Hand Lettering Work for Your Brand?

The art of hand lettering isn’t for everyone.

It takes an exorbitant amount of practice, patience, and you must love to draw and doodle.

I understand it can be more than some people want to take on.

It is an inexpensive hobby if you’re interested in trying it out.

All you need is paper and pens.

Most hand lettering artists even recommend starting out using a Crayola Broad Line Marker.

It is that easy.

If you have the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, I highly recommend the Procreate app.

It’s great for practicing on, you can download practice sheets, and there’s no wasted paper because there’s a delete button. Easy peasy.

There are countless tutorials online for every level, and so many people are willing to share their tricks of the trade when it comes to the craft.

So, go. Try it out. See if you like it.

If you need me, I’ll be over here writing out inspirational quotes on Procreate.

Are you a creative person? Do you doodle? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About Whitney Danhauer


Whitney is a 30-something mom living in Central Kentucky with her better half, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about doors and locks for LockNet, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.

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