The art of designing beautiful letters

The taste for handmade things has made calligraphy and lettering fashionable. (Getty) 

Behind your computer’s typographies and hand-drawn calligraphy, there is a whole creative profession 

By Judith Vives

In recent times, lettering, the art of drawing letters by hand, has become fashionable. You’ve seen it in posters and advertisements, on folders and notebooks, printed on T-shirts, bags and other decorative objects.

There is a difference between lettering and calligraphy, which is the art of writing with beautiful, well-formed letters on paper. Mastering the art of lettering is not about writing well, but about knowing how to draw the letters.

Calligraphy is the art of writing with well-formed letters and lettering is drawing letters

When we write by hand, we also see a difference between calligraphy and everyday writing.

In calligraphy, the most important thing is to pay attention to the movement of the hand so that the stroke of the letters is harmonious and beautiful. However, in everyday life we take notes quickly and without paying attention to the shape of the letters.

Lettering demands much more than writing carefully. It is a creative process that goes beyond making a pretty letter: it implies a previous design of each letter that can be defined from previous sketches, just as we would create a drawing.

In lettering you can start from scratch, designing each letter in your own style, or you can start from an existing typeface. And here we come to a third important concept: typography, which is the technique of creating and composing types; that is, the letters for writing a text.

These three disciplines are closely related because, generally, creating a new typography is based on a handwritten letter that has been previously designed. That is, getting a new typography requires calligraphy and lettering… and vice versa.

Calligraphy and lettering seemed to be a thing of the past, but an interest for handmade things has made this art fashionable again. With the help of computer programs, these techniques have been applied to many fields, from advertising to textile.

If you like the world of calligraphy, typography and lettering, you will surely be interested in the talk given by the graphic designer and typographer Laura Meseguer in the framework of Barcelona Design Week taking place in these days at the Design Museum of Barcelona.

In addition to designing and producing her own typefaces, Meseguer has written the book How to create typographies. From sketch to screen and has driven the project Alphabettes.org, a showcase of letterings and typographies designed by women.

Laura Meseguer’s conference will close the Di55eccions cycle that LCI Barcelona design school will host for Barcelona Design Week, on June 6 at 7pm on the school campus.

And if you want to get deeper into typography design, you can find courses and specific graphic design training at LCI, so you can turn your passion into your profession.

Find out more in Junior Report.

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