Hand-drawn typography has recently emerged as a growing trend in print and digital medias. This is due in part from the fact that designers, illustrators, and art directors are struggling to stand out in a digital age. Basic desktop publishing and word processors skills have become blase; even neighborhood garage sale signs can be printed at home rather than being scrawled in permanent marker.
In an effort to stand apart from the pedestrian usage of standard typefaces, many companies have begun to incorporate a completely new and unique font into their brand. Like the fancy calligraphy addressing a wedding invitation, the hand-drawn type is now a luxury item, much like typed print used to be not so long ago.
The usage of hand-drawn typography communicates definitive personalities with distinct references to the past. This “old-fashioned” feel can bring up sentimental emotions of long-lost love notes or the revolutionary feel of the Beetles’ iconic psychedelic album typography.
More often, hand-drawn typography is used to evoke the feelings of:
- raw, organic, earthy;
- a retro, pre-computer age;
- juvenile and teenage years;
- comics, zines;
- handmade, homegrown;
- indie and revolutionary (think protest signs, album covers of the 60’s and 70’s);
Here is a selection of some of the best utilized hand-drawn typography found in print and digital media:
Logos, Branding, and Packaging
In many cases, designers use images in branding to give the person, company, product, etc. a recognizable “face” to attract a specific target group. In the case of the images below, what better way to breathe life into a brand than to create a hand-written signature for it?
Print: Ad Layout and Posters
Here, these two posters illustrate the earthier qualities of hand-lettered typography. The artist, Tad Carpenter, beautifully integrates type with his illustrations.
Using hand-lettering on the web means images, images, images. This can be a risky business as images risk alienating foreign language speakers, internet users with slow internet connections, or those using adaptive equipment. However, the use of alt_text and HTML5 may completely solve these issues.
Below are some of these best designed, hand-drawn type websites around. Their beautiful integration of text, text in images, and illustration make them wonderful works of art. The irony of hand-drawn type used in an electronic format continues to amuse and redefine the age of digital design.
Artists/ Design Groups
These masters of typography specialize in creating digital and print magic with their unique typefaces. Be sure to spend time drooling over their galleries and blogs.
Shadowplay Studios Films
Shadowplay Studios deserves their own category for their hand-drawn animation, illustration, and typography. Most notably, their work for the opening credits of Juno is simply amazing.