It’s not about the brush, the technique, or practice. It’s about what you are writing. Scrolling through Instagram typographer or hand letterer accounts can be dull. The typography is top notch but the words have no message – no bite.
Here’s the formula: 1 to 3 positive words loosely relating to the idea of overcoming a challenge. Here’s some good examples – Stay Strong – Rise Above – No Limits.
Typographers can work for years writing the same words with the same message in different script and it’s always going to be a little flat. They tell the world “look I can draw.” Unfortunately, they miss the excellent opportunity to tell the world, “I have something to say and my drawing helps you see it.” It seems like typographers need some help, so I will offer some ideas free of charge.
1. Force imagination Write something that causes the reader to imagine – “John left at 6:43 PM” or “Cars don’t run on…” where did John go? Why is the time so specific? Did he ever come back? Cars don’t run on what? Love? Gasoline? What are you trying to say?
2. Relatable and specific Write something that everyone goes through and understands – “Two different socks” “Top shelf climber”
3. Current events Write something about events on the internet or in the real world “RIP Twitter” “Vine vine go away come again another day” “Alternative facts for sale”
Currently, I consider most typography and hand lettering to be unfinished. The art is often splendid but the message is lacking. Art is the vehicle through which a message is sent. If you are a typographer, please consider thinking a little longer about the message. Art should come second.