Do you know your calligraphy style?
When you think about fashion and hairstyles, you know what you like. You have a style and you tend to stick with it, maybe trying out something new from time to time.
The same is probably true for your calligraphy and hand lettering. You know what you like and you want to focus on doing your best in a particular style. Maybe you’ll play around with different pens or some flourishing, but you still have your own signature way to create your art.
On the other hand, what if you’re just getting started and you don’t know what style to lean toward? Here are some ideas to get you started so you can find your calligraphy style.
What’s Your Calligraphy Style?
Identifying the category, or the overall “feel” that resonates with you, is important because it’s the direction you’re going to want to go when you start learning. Some styles will take longer to master than others, and your style will likely shift as you learn more about calligraphy and hand lettering.
The best part, however, is being able to take what you know and develop your very own unique style! Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding what type of calligraphy you want to learn.
Do you like traditional calligraphy, with elegant letters and a scripted look?
Do you favor more modern lettering, with your own take on the letters?
Is delicate more your style, with thin, wispy lines?
Do you like big, bold letters and deep downstrokes?
Are you casual, with similar letters not necessarily matching exactly?
Do you like to be edgy, with bold letters and swoops?
Are you looking for a fun style, where you can invent some of your own styling?
Challenge: Think about the look you want to achieve and write down some adjectives that describe your ideal style.
Hand Lettering & Calligraphy Strokes
Within each style you can also decide what your strokes will look like. This aligns with your style category, but there are also many variations within each style.
In the first image of this series, you’ll see a monoline stroke. Throughout the shape, the line is a consistent weight. In the other examples, notice the contrast of stroke weight. They range from low to high contrast.
Of course, there are so many other things to consider when determining your own calligraphy style, including embellishments, color, letter forms, and more.
Challenge: Look at examples of lettering that you admire and write down what stroke types you see. Do you lean towards a low-contrast, high-contrast, or monoline style? How can you incorporate that into your own work?
Finding Your Own Calligraphy Style
If you’re feeling a little stuck staring at your own work, it can help to look outward at inspiration beyond yourself. If you didn’t know what possibilities there were for hairstyles, you may not have found your perfect fit! Same goes with calligraphy. While we walk through this process in our course Style Study Bootcamp with tips on how to make sure you’re not copying someone else’s style, some general steps include:
- Look at your own pieces you love and see what stands out
- Find inspiration from magazines, packaging, Pinterest, etc. and pinpoint what you’re naturally drawn to
- Match your style vision to a lettering type that’s most closely your desired style
- Look at your everyday handwriting and notice what makes it unique or different from someone else’s
- Create your own unique alphabet and style guide based on your preferences
Free Style Study Workshop: Video Training and Workbook
We created a free webinar called The Style Study Workshop: An intro to analyzing & developing cohesive lettering styles.
Sign up to access the FREE video training and workbook!
You’ll receive a workbook and video training, sent directly to your email.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is style and why is it important?
- How to analyze lettering styles from a big-picture AND detail-oriented perspective
- How to draw inspiration without copying someone else’s style
- A deep dive into two components of style
- How to put your new knowledge into action
Plus, we’ll share some pictures from our own style journey. Just sign up with your email address so we can send you the video training and workbook!