3 Tips for Hand Lettering

lettering Aug 20, 2020

Do you want to learn how to stand apart from amateur letterers? If your answer is Uhm, YES, get excited because today I'm showing you a few of my favorite tips for the perfect spacing of letters when lettering and why it's so important! Oh and if your answer was no to the question above, buckle up because you're going on this journey with me anyways! 

 Iʼm Tanya from @handletteredandloved and I was so excited when Peggy asked me to talk about letter spacing and give you some helpful hints. Weʼre getting into ALL the nitty-gritty details, even though spacing might sound boring, itʼs one of the things that can set apart expert lettering from amateur lettering! 

 

 

First, letʼs just clarify that letter spacing refers to the physical space between each letter in a word.

Since most of us are familiar with programs such as Microsoft word, or Powerpoint where youʼre able to choose a font and adjust its settings, I like to tell my students to think of letter spacing as “tracking” in your word processing program. For those of you who are not familiar, tracking refers to uniformly increasing or decreasing the horizontal spacing between a range of characters.

One way that I like to help others see the spacing between letters is by drawing rectangles between each letter like in the above example. This gives you a visual guide to help see the consistency or lack thereof. While youʼre working, you can try using grid paper as your guide.

 

 

 

 

Tip #1: Legibility


 

 

This is the biggest reason why letter spacing is so important! Your words should have just the right amount of space between letters to ensure that the words are legible to the viewer. For example, if you have too much space in between your letters, it drastically takes away from the legibility of the word.

 

 

On the other hand, if you have too little space in between your letters, they will start to merge together and make it hard to read:

 

Tip #2: Consistency

 

 

Consistency is important within many aspects of lettering: letter size, angle, etc. Spacing falls under that list as well. Keeping the same amount of space between each letter is imperative. This helps with legibility. Here are some examples of inconsistent spacing:


 

Sometimes if the spacing is inconsistent and one letter is too close to another, it can start to read as something else and confuse the reader. Just another reason why lettering spacing can be so so important!

 

 

Tip #3: Evoking Different Moods

 

 

There are many things in lettering that can contribute to evoking different moods for your reader. Typeface/style is a big one. For example, if you want to evoke a strong and masculine feel, you wouldnʼt use a flowing script style. Spacing can also play a role here. The amount of space you put between letters can affect the feeling your reader gets when they see it.

For example, if youʼre going for an elegant feeling that is targeted towards woman, spacing out your letters a little more will make them more organic and airy to fit that feeling:

 

If you wanted to go for a masculine feel, bringing your letters closer together will visually evoke tightness, strength, and foundation to fit that feeling.

So the next time youʼre thinking up your next lettering piece, remember to make it legible by keeping your spacing consistent and choosing the right distance between your letters to fit the mood youʼre trying to evoke!

I hope this helped! Donʼt forget to tag me on Instagram if you decide to play around with spacing :) Happy Lettering from @handletteredandloved!

 


 

 

Hi there, I’m Tanya Levandoski of Hand Lettered and Loved. I’m a graphic designer and hand lettering artist from PA. I’m also a mama of three PLUS a fur baby and a wife to my amazing hubby. In addition to teaching hand lettering, brush lettering, and calligraphy online, I also have client projects for custom signs and logos. You can find MUCH more lettering videos on my Instagram!

If you try playing around with spacing and decide to share it on Instagram, tag me @handletteredandloved so I can see your work and share it in my stories! 

If you’re just beginning with brush lettering, check out my free intro course to get you started! https://www.tanyalevandoski.com/signup

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