The Beauty of the Hand-Drawn Typography Trend in Design

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:

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?

Corporate ID

Hollandaise

Spindle Magazine

Healthy Hounds

Laura Berglund Products

Jamie Oliver Products

Chipotle Brand

Here, these two posters illustrate the earthier qualities of hand-lettered typography. The artist, Tad Carpenter, beautifully integrates type with his illustrations.

Tad Carpenter


Shadow Art Fair


This poster definitely targets an artistic, indie audience utilizing artistic, indie type and design.

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.

Project 365

Red Velvet Art

Frank PR

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.

Alison Carmichael

Eduardo Recife

Hi My Name is Fiodor

Adam Amaral

Sonmi

Linzie Hunter

Fuzzco

Buckingham Studio

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.

Juno Film


View the Video

Chase Film


View the Video

Interested in More? Here are some great Resources:

50 Creative Examples of Illustrations in Web Design.
21 Best Fonts for Hand Drawn Style Web Design via WebDesignLedger.
Hand Lettering (Inspiration) via the NY Times.
via GOMEDIAZINE
So You Want to Create a Font via I Love Typography.

Author: (2 Posts)

Hannah J. Conti is a freelance writer and designer. She lives in NY with her husband and their brave pet fish, Jean-Luc Picard. Conti can be found at hjconti.com and on twitter @hjconti.

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