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Hand drawn typography has grown into a field of its own.  Illustrators, designers and letter artists are working with multimedia to make their own contributions to this growing trend.

From traditional sign making long used by local communities, to illustration used in publishing, hand-drawn typography creates a sense of creativity, uniqueness, and playfulness in illustration and design.

Creating your own lettering, even if it’s just simply by doodling, can be a creative form of expression.  However, with all of the potential opportunities in this field, creating your own lettering is a means of developing your own skills.

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

There are many different techniques that experienced typographers use in their graphic design projects.  This is because typography is an art and a science, with rules or formulas which create effective pages which are intuitive to readers.

When creating your own hand-drawn letters or fonts, follow these basic rules to help your page look both unique and effective.

You can always download free handwriting fonts from an article or another, but it delivers a bigger satisfaction to actually create one.

Inspire yourself from the best work out there

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

When you create your own lettering, it is different than handwriting.  Instead, you are drawing or illustrating your font.

To do this, it is helpful to create a folder of inspirational ideas.  You can explore the work of other lettering artists too.

Many publish their work online, so you could always browse Pinterest or YouTube to find inspiration.

Create a formula for your lettering

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

When you create and design your own lettering, begin by measuring the height and width of the letters you will use on your page.

This will depend on the design of our letters and how you would like to lay them out.  Some fonts are small and wide, while others are narrow.

Many designers use a ruler to layout the type on their page, making lines around the letters they are inspired by to show the width or height.

These measurements are then transferred to a page where the designer begins to experiment with his/her own font designs.

Use shapes to map out your page

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

When creating the space for a font, designers often map their page using empty shapes.  Thus, a large rectangle may be used to represent the space where a headline will eventually go.  Speech bubbles create spaces to be filled by text.

These shapes give an indication of the length or height you’d use for your fonts.  However, hand-drawn letters do not have to be constructed in straight lines and can vary in height or curve in wave format, depending on the design.

Use different sizes to create hierarchy

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

When you design your letters or fonts, you can use different sized fonts for different words, depending on importance.

This is an easy way to create hierarchy, or evaluate the importance of a message.  You can shrink unimportant words such as ‘and’ but then increase the size of important words in order to grab your reader’s attention.

Once you have placed your words on the page, you can adjust or resize them as you go along.  If you’re drawing by hand, this requires a pencil and eraser.  Gradually, a sleek, clean-lined page will begin to emerge.

Focus on consistency

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

When you are working on a larger project, it’s helpful to make sure the different aspects of your design are consistent.  If you create a brand logo, for example, it has to be exactly the same in all areas of the project.

In order to create identical lettering, you can create a stencil.  If work has been done already, make careful reference, as even slight deviations can make a project look messy.  Top level designers work with a consistency which creates a fluid flow across the page.

Do your research

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

If you’re creating typography by hand, this often creates a historic or vintage element.  Do some research before you get started.

Many contemporary logos use vintage style (exploring what is already out there enables you to set yourself apart).

However, you could also draw on historic images or references in order to create an interesting font.  You could also look at how people used fonts or lettering in years gone by in order to create the mood of the era.

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

Once you know what you would like to achieve, go out and sketch!  Create more than one design, exploring what works best and refining it until you are happy with the result.

Pay attention to the message your typeface is communicating.  Explore how many different fonts you would like to use in your design, and how to pair them with each other.

Look at your layout, and how you would like to place your different fonts and how this fits in with the mood or historical element you are portraying.

Transform with Photoshop

Once you’ve created your font, import your design into Photoshop.  Your next step would be to change your design from a colored photograph to a high contrast black and white image.  Using Photoshop using greyscale mode.

Choose image > mode > Grayscale

Alternatively, click Layer > Adjustment Layer > Black and White

Within the same menu you can select from:

Levels:  Use the highlighted eye drops on the left of the menu.  You can use the white dropper to define the pure white parts of your image, and the black dropper will define pure black aspects.

Brightness and Contrast:  This can help you to contrast various aspects of your image in a manual way.  You can adjust these two factors until you achieve a high contrast between light and dark.

Selective Color:  Use this to define the texture of your image.  Play with the amount of black you would like within the image in order to achieve a high level of contrast.

Polish your image using Illustrator

Tips for Creating Hand-Drawn Typography

Once you’ve created your rastor image, you will need to turn it into a vector using Illustrator.

You will need to import the high contrast image into Illustrator.  Make sure it is selected and then use Image Trace.  You will be able to create a vector sketch from your design.  You can then tweak your image to be as sleek or messy as you would like.

Once you have created your vector, you can make some final changes to the style.  You can expand the object and Ungroup it in order to access the anchor points of your vector.  Using the toolbar, you can add, delete or move these anchor points.

If you’d like your work to be very sleek in order to use it as a logo, you can tighten it up in order to create smoother lines.


These helpful tips will assist you to create hand-lettered fonts which can be used with consistency, giving a touch of creativity and uniqueness to your graphic design pages.

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Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He's reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.

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Shutterstock Releases 2018 Creative Trends Report

Shutterstock[1] has released its 2018 Creative Trends Report. The major trends identified in this report are determined by analyzing billions of searches within Shutterstock's collection of images by customers.

Shutterstock predicts major trends that will dominate popular culture as well as emerging trends that will burst onto the design scene this year, like Holographic Foil and Natural Luxury. The annual Creative Trends report takes new shape this year, with strong data pointing to a few distinct trends and identifying major increases in specific themes as well as showcasing 20 country specific trends.

"Now in its seventh year, our Creative Trends report inspires creative professionals all over the world as they strategize creative planning for the year ahead," said Shutterstock's Curator, Robyn Lange. "Our 2017 report was particularly accurate in its predictions, identifying trends like 'Glitch' early on. Throughout the year we watched as the style grew, developed, and thrived into major campaign themes for brands across the world. We look forward to watching 2018's trends blossom the same way."[2]


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These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used

If you thought that paper notes blocks could not become a form of art, the Japanese will prove you wrong with the Omoshiro Block. These average looking paper note cards reveal stunning tiny paper sculptures as you remove the paper. These innovative stationary designs are created using laser-cutting technology, they reveal various architectural beauties, such as Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera Temple, Tokyo’s Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Tower.

These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used
These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used
These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used
These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used
These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used
These Japanese memo pads will excavate objects as they get used

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The sample images or photos you use can make or break your designs; there are times when choosing stock photos that really match the overall theme of the designs is important. This is especially true when you’re designing visuals for a client because their perception of the design depends on the photos you use too.

Stock Photo Tips and Tricks Every Designer Must Know

Royalty Free Photo

Finding great photos that compliment your design is a lot easier to do today. Even better, these next stock photo tips and tricks will help you find the best photos and use them effectively.

Search for Tags

Top stock photo sites usually offer an advanced search feature to help designers find the photos they need. What you need to remember is that the search functionality isn’t designed to search for the content of photos. It is geared more towards titles, descriptions, and other text-based elements added to the photos.

To be a master in searching great photos to use, you need to search for tags. Think about the tags that photographers might add to their photos and tailor your search to those potential tags. You’ll be surprised by how much altering your approach can help you discover more great photos to use in your designs.

Know Where to Look

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of sites that offer royalty-free photos for various usages. Some photos are even available for free. You can find a wealth of resources such as the thousands of free images available from Shopify.

The more you browse through different sources of stock photos, the more you will notice some interesting characteristics. Some sites, for example, are known for their landscape and nature photos. Others offer urban-themed photos that have been edited to match a more modern style or colors.

Once you know where to look, you can find the right type of photos you need more effectively. This saves a lot of time and money while allowing you to maintain a consistent mood or theme throughout your designs.

Use Samples

Don’t hesitate to use samples of premium stock photos when creating mockups or drafting designs for clients. Sample photos have watermarks on them, but you don’t have to pay to use them. Once the client approves your design, you can purchase the photos you use.

Samples are also used for testing ideas. From personal experience, I know that it takes some getting used to before you start looking past the watermarks and gaining the ability to use samples as part of your design workflow.

Using samples is a simple trick to keep in mind, but it is a trick that will also save you a lot of money. Even royalty-free stock photo sites have download limits that you must adhere to; why download photos that you cannot use when you can test your ideas using samples instead?

These tips and tricks are simple and easy to implement, but they are useful for designers who use stock photos frequently. The next time you need some photos for your design, you know how to search the right stock photo sites effectively.

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6 Tips for Getting Web Design Right

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Whether you’ve been a web designer for a decade or just a couple of months, the early days of getting started on a web development and design project can be nerve-wracking. There are numerous moving parts and clients, no matter their size or budget, expect high quality of work.

The design lifecycle incorporates requirement specification, scope definition, wireframe and sitemap creation, content development, interface design and testing (including penetration testing as provided by firms such as CBI). So much could go wrong. Yet, it doesn’t have to as long as there’s robust planning and preparation.

The following design tips will help you stay the course and deliver to the customer’s satisfaction.

1.   Define Expectations

You cannot really meet the client’s expectations unless you know what those expectations are. If you are working with a client who has commissioned one or more websites before, defining targets and outcomes will be a fairly straightforward process. However, if your client has no previous experience, they may find it difficult to articulate exactly what they need.

When it comes to web design, few things are more depressing than a client realizing halfway that what you are building is not what they wanted. That’s why setting expectations and goals is the single most important phase of the entire project. Develop a simple questionnaire that you’ll use to extract the requisite information from the client.

Questions should seek to establish the purpose of the website, who its target audience is, what it aims to achieve and how its success will be measured. With these answers, prepare a document outlining your understanding of the client’s expectations and share it with them for final verification. Going through this process will drastically reduce the likelihood of surprises later on.

2.   Prioritize Content

One of the biggest mistakes web designers make is to take the word ‘design’ as a license to concentrate on aesthetics. Content is still king. No amount of beautiful design can replace great content. Good content stimulates engagement while engagement triggers action.

Find out what content the client would like to share on the site and then design with the intention of making the content stand out and appeal to the target audience. For instance, if you are creating an e-commerce store, focus on highlighting the products as opposed to blending them in with everything else on the page.

3.   Adhere to Web Standards

Being unconventional is fun, but when it comes to web standards, that’s not something you can afford to do. Your client’s audience has already gotten used to existing standards and you do not want to make things difficult for them. Successful websites are intuitive and following convention is one way to achieve that.

There’s no reason for users to have to learn a new design model in order to navigate the site. For example, nearly every e-commerce store places the shopping cart in the top right corner of the page. It’s not because that’s the most attractive place to put it. Rather, visitors have grown accustomed to finding the shopping cart there.

Other examples of web design convention include placing the logo in the top left corner, contact in the top right, the search box in the header and consistent branding throughout the website.

4.   Make it Easy to Navigate

If visitors cannot quickly move from one section to another, they’re likely to lose enthusiasm and this means the website will have failed to achieve its goals. Navigation design must minimize the amount of information and steps required for users to move between sections and pages.

You have to put yourself in the shoes of the audience and lay out the most logical steps a typical visitor would follow in their journey across the site. Help them do what they want to do as opposed to forcing them along a path they aren’t interested in. Familiarize yourself with navigation best practices, including the most common patterns of mobile navigation.

5.   Prioritize Mobile

The way the average person accesses the internet has changed radically over the last decade. Desktop PCs have lost their dominance. The exponential growth of smartphones and tablets means the majority of the world’s population today accesses the web primarily through a mobile device.

From watching videos, posting on social media, shopping and just general searches, mobile is where it’s all happening now. Optimizing a website for the mobile experience used to be an afterthought. Nowadays, it’s a critical requirement. The site must be fully operational on mobile which means text, images, calls to action and shopping carts must work as flawlessly on mobile as they do on a desktop browser.

6.   Integrate Social Media

Just like mobile, social media has moved from the early days of MySpace when it was on the fringes of internet conversations to a colossus that has its tentacles in every nook and cranny of the world wide web. Facebook, the behemoth in this space, has more than 2 billion active users.

Social media is where the bulk of internet users spend the most time on the internet. The website must leverage that to its advantage. By integrating the site with social media, you increase the likelihood of visitors sharing the product and contents with their network thus increasing visitor traffic.

The above tips are useful in getting you moving in the right direction, but do not cover everything you need to build a successful website. Web design is an art and there’s only so much you can learn from books or on the web. In reality, you’ll make some mistakes and experiment with different options before you eventually perfect your craft.

Stephen is an influencer marketing pro with who is passionate about building authentic relationships and helping businesses connect with their ideal online audience. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving digital marketing world by writing on the latest marketing advancements and focuses on developing customized blogger outreach plans based on industry and competition.

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