Lettering Styles: Improving Compositions

I started church journaling in 2016. It was the biggest catapult for improving my lettering styles and overall composition. In church journaling, you have to write and plan the layout spontaneously as you go and mix styles so all the different sections of the page can be read.

Lettering different styles becomes a big part of composition and both are a big hurdle to cross. It’s scary! So let’s go over tips and tricks to make it easier.

Lettering Layout

Layout is the first step in planning a lettering piece before you can decide on lettering styles. I won’t go too much into this because Stefan Kunz has provided awesome people-made grids and guides to help make this step easier. However, with or without the guides you still need to do two things.

First, write out your words and figure out which are most important. Many letterers have mentioned this first step. You want to know which words you can make extravagant, which you can make fancy. These will most likely be the woes that catch the viewer’s attention.

Then, you can sketch different styles and see how letters look together. This is why many letter artists create multiple thumbnails before creating the final piece. If you’re doing church journaling or even personal journaling, trying and putting them together on one page can help you incorporate more styles can force you to try new things.

Lettering Styles

When planning and sketching a thumbnails, church journaling or any type of lettering, having a range of styles is important, but sometimes hard to come up with or incorporate. You want to be able to create a hierarchy through contrasting lettering styles and mixing and matching styles is something many people notice. Being a type-A personality, I created a reference list I could look at during my lettering projects. It’s been the greatest resource to use when I’m stuck.

I compiled my list into a visual art you can use in your lettering projects. You don’t have to get stuck like I did! The best part is, it’s FREE!

Stick it in your scriptures, in your notebook, tape it your wall or workspace. You can make your compositions beautiful! As pictured, it not only names, but visualizes different styles so you can better recognize them in others’ work as well. I’ll be listing them in the freebies section of my website, but I’ve also linked to them here in both 8.5 x 11 and 5 x 7 sizes so you can post them in your workspace or put them in your notebooks for travel.

I also want to just mention a small disclaimer, although this is a huge variety of lettering styles, I’ve presented them in my style of lettering. When you go to incorporate them into your own lettering please use your style as well! I hope you’ll use this guide as a starting place to help spark your creativity and find your style within these types of letters.

Try it Using the Freebie!

Once you have the layout and the styles picked, your piece will look more put together. The hardest part is making time and having patience to get through the planning and sketching process until you learn to love that step.

I used to wonder why people loved pencil so much because I loved my brush pens and the exciting look they gave. Now I love pencil and planning because I’m much more satisfied with he ending result of my compositions.

Try this process and show me what you can create! Post it to Facebook or Instagram, tag @fontabulousdesigns and use the hashtag #FontabulousDesignsStyles.

Happy Lettering!

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