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Hand It To Hand-Type

by Burt Durand

As an Art Director and designer, I work with typography on a daily basis. There are plenty of wonderful, elegant, playful and bold fonts out there just waiting to be discovered and utilized. A weight and feel for every message and brand. A look to match a personality. A face to the name, if you will. And while all of these options are readily available for purchase and use, I often find myself wanting to draw letters by hand.

Maybe it’s the illustrator in me that wants a say in everything, but there’s just something about a hand-drawn word that adds a little something special to a page or design. Sure, it takes a little longer to create and plan, but who wouldn’t like to have a poster featuring words made out of bacon? I once illustrated the name of a magazine using bones. Whether the letters are fitted together like a puzzle or are made up from random objects, drip or explode, words can take on a completely different life if they are illustrated. And writing out a word with an actual brush adds a bit of creative realism and familiarity that people can appreciate on a different level than a nicely set piece of type.

What child doesn’t love drawing out words in crayon? Who hasn’t tried to experiment with his or her personal signature? C’mon, you know you’ve done it. It’s just…fun. And sometimes a design or bit of art needs that added element to really grab people’s attention. Incorporating elements or characters from a story into lettering engages the viewer a little more in every detail. And while beautifully set type is definitely a wonderful art form, I tend to gravitate toward the creative energy that hand-drawn type radiates. If I’m working on a personal illustration or poster, you can almost be certain that I’ll try my best to incorporate calligraphy, handwriting or illustrated letters of some sort into the design!