In recent years, hand lettering has taken off in a huge way. Whereas typography is the art of arranging type in appealing ways, hand lettering is a painstaking but rewarding process where each nuance of the letters is drawn manually. In some cases, hand-drawn designs are later digitized, and there are even some instances of artists drawing letters on top of photographs.

If you pay attention, you’ll probably notice hand-drawn lettering almost everywhere. From product packaging to album covers, inspirational hand lettering is capturing attention and giving artists the recognition they deserve.

Although hand lettering requires a lot of patience, it’s relatively easy to learn. That’s largely due to the fact that some leading artists publish online tutorials and explain each phase of their creative process. Some also include videos so you can fully appreciate the planning and attention artists put forth to make the eventual outcome.

In terms of your own art, there is a huge amount of freedom with the styles and approaches you could take.

The gorgeous hand lettering examples below offer just a small sampling of the breadth of personality and style that’s possible. Even better, these examples should inspire you with not just how they look, but with what they say as well:

1. Mark van Leeuwen

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Mark van Leeuwen

This beautiful hand-lettered script has a touch of calligraphic style to it. The bold strokes make it suitable for signs or invitations.

2. Jen Roffe

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Jen Roffe

Roffe’s work is best described as modern calligraphy. While it has the serifs and swirls of yesteryear, the bold, block-like letters are more modern in nature.

3. Ricardo Gonzalez

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Ricardo Gonzalez

Ricardo Gonzalez takes letters and turns them into beautiful patterns that are art in and of themselves. This meshing of patterns and letters is quite unique.

4. Rob Draper

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Rob Draper

Draper’s style is more of a three-dimensional illustration of letters. His hand lettering allows him to combine 3-D elements with straight outlined script, creating a textured look perfect for T-shirts and other designs.

5. Ash Schweitzer

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Ash Schweitzer

Schweitzer’s hand lettering has a Victorian edge to it. The letters are reminiscent of what one might have seen on a poster advertising a theater production or a circus.

6. Sean McCabe

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Sean McCabe

McCabe combines standard text in serif with a script-style font. By hand lettering, he has the ability to take the swirls of the script and loop them around the standard letters above and below. The result is a cohesive and interesting look.

7. Biljana Kroll

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Biljana Kroll

Kroll mixes different techniques to come up with truly unique hand-lettered pieces that are works of art worthy of hanging in a commercial space. In any of his pieces, you might find a mix of scanned pencil, watercolor drawings and digital art.

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8. Brad Almond

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Brad Almond

Almond’s designs are interesting in that he creates a story with the actual lettering of his words. Note how he takes the word tall and stretches the height of the type to make the word itself tall.

9. Tobias Saul

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Tobias Saul

Saul’s hand-drawn type creates a three-dimensional look with some added artistic elements, such as embellishments and flourishes within the letter backgrounds.

10. Maarten Deckers

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Maarten Deckers

Deckers is a Belgian artist whose hand lettering is placed overtop modern artwork. The letters seem to rise out of the background art.

11. Lucia Mullerova

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Lucia Mullerova

Mullerova adds action to her words. Look at the word shore and how it comes alive as though it is meeting the ocean and seeing splashes from the waves.

12. Juliana Cardoso

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Juliana Cardoso

Cardosa’s hand lettering has the look of watercolor, making it whimsical. She creates the above piece in all lowercase script.

13. Justin Verkest

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Justin Verkest

The style of Justin Verkest is bold, modern and blocky. The overall effect is one of masculinity and strength.

14. Joshua Redmond

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Joshua Redmond

If you’re seeking something a bit less formal, this hand-lettered piece by Joshua Redmond is an interesting choice. He combines art with ribbons wrapping around a serpent and then hand letters in a simple uppercase text.

15. Abby Sy

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Abby Sy

Abbey Sy creates gorgeous, hand-lettered art. Her creations aren’t just script, but script with art inside and around the letters.

16. Jenna Bresnahan

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Jenna Bresnahan

Jenna Bresnahan takes a quote and creates beautifully drawn script in all lowercase letters. She then embellishes the text with swirls and designs that draw the attention to the fact that the quote is a whole.

17. Tom Fallick

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Tom Fallick

Note the way Tom Fallick takes an image and then hand draws text on top of it. This creates a surreal effect that puts the attention on the letters but also creates a mood with the background.

18. Dan Lee

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Dan Lee

Similar to the previous example, Lee takes a photo and then adds a saying in hand lettering over top of it. He adds another element by embellishing and creating a look almost of graffiti.

19. Pete Adams

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Pete Adams

Adams’s hand lettering has an almost stenciled look to it. He uses a variety of font styles and add-ons to create a truly unique poster. Emphasis is placed on specific words by making them bigger and bolder than others.

20. Noah Kingston

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Noah Kingston

Kingston attributes his inspiration to artists such as Martin Schmetzer, Joachim Vu and Joshua Bullock. He creates an artistic shape and then fits the hand lettering within it. The unusual shading adds to the overall effect.

21. Jaclyn Le

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Jaclyn Le

Using graphite on a sketchbook, Jaclyn Le creates a hand-lettered work of art. Note how some of the letters are blockier and some are modern script. This creates a modern look while bringing in a touch of the past.

22. Chrystal Elizabeth

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Chrystal Elizabeth

Using brush calligraphy, Chrystal Elizabeth creates a whimsical hand-lettered piece that utilizes bold serif fonts alongside script. The letters shift from standard to script, yet all interlock and mesh with one another.

23. Jessica Elliott

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Jessica Elliott

Elliot creates a beautiful background in bold, bright colors. It’s either watercolor or pastel. She then adds a simple script overtop in bold black letters.

24. The Lettering Supply Co

Hand Lettering Inspiration: The Lettering Supply Co

Using negative space allows you to get really creative with logos or artwork. In the above example, the artist uses negative space to create letters by cutting them out of the black background.

25. Risa Rodil

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Risa Rodil

What a fun, whimsical style Risa Rodil has with her typography. The above design is a nod to “Finding Nemo,” even utilizing colors from the ocean and clownfish.

26. Nate Williams

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Nate Williams

Nate Williams adds a lot of interest to this saying by using different typography throughout. While traditional wisdom states not to mix different types of typography in one piece, it works well for this particular saying.

27. Tammy Ann Tan

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Tammy Ann Tan

This hand-lettered quote started with a pencil sketch. The block letters were laid out and then script and flourishes added all around. It was then overlaid on a blue background and the letters created negative space on the page.

28. Julia Henze

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Julia Henze

Henze describes herself as a lettering artist and her work highlights that claim. Her hand-drawn letters offer illustrations in bright colors and with a three-dimensional look.

29. Kaitlyn Bender

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Kaitlyn Bender

Offering her designs on Etsy, Bender creates beautiful hand-lettered works of art such as the one pictured above. Note the perfect mix of typographic styles and the emphasis on certain words by making them larger than the ones surrounding.

30. Melissa Kartler

Hand Lettering Inspiration: Melissa Kartler

Kartler utilizes different stroke weight to create an impact with her hand-lettered work above. Instead of making words she wishes to emphasize darker, she makes them taller and uses standard capital letters and script on the other words.


Inspirational Hand Lettering Examples

As you can see from this collection, the options are endless when you explore hand lettering. These lettering examples are just a fraction of the inspirational designs available to all levels of design. The styles — and what you want to say — are completely up to you, the artist.


This article was originally published on 3/11/2016 and updated on 12/10/2018.

About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

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