Illustrative Lettering Creative Session Wrap

It’s a wrap. This session has covered a mix of illustrative lettering articles on theory and in depth case studies. We’ve taken a close look at various artist’s work and their various processes of constructing illustrative lettering. We’ve looked at how to derive inspiration from your imagination, the history of type, and how to create letters with an illustrative flair. This session posted across numerous Tuts+ sites: Psdtuts+, Vectortuts+, Cgtuts+, and Phototuts+. We’ll continue to expand each session as we cover new topics and integrate your feedback. Let us know what you think of this session’s material.

Illustrative Lettering CS Content

  • Developing a Passion for Illustrative Lettering

    In this article I’d like to present some thoughts and theories that I use for creating illustrative lettering. I will show samples and explain a bit of the background info to further emphasize my thoughts. The goal is to simply supply some insight and hopefully a bit of inspiration.

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  • Creating Typography Inspired by the Seventies and Eighties

    Typography from the 70s and 80s is inspirational to both designers and illustrators. It often takes on a storytelling role in it’s design. With the tools that you and I have available to us today, we can be inspired by the work that has been done in the past, but try to push forward into new territories. I’d like to share with you some tips and observations I have made from doing numerous retro typography illustrations.

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  • Developing Illustrative Type to Complement Your Style

    My name is Jonny Wan and I am a freelance illustrator based in the UK. My style is based upon shape experimentation, patterns and textures and I draw inspiration from ancient cultures and civilizations. More recently I have rekindled my love for type and now developing a way of working with type that is congruent with my illustrative style so the two can work in tandem when applied to commissions that requires both.

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  • Alphabetic Inspiration: A-Z Experiments with Letters, Hand-Crafted Type, and More

    This inspirational post is all about creating non-traditional type, letters, and alphabets. Some of these are made to into functional fonts and others serve as realized concepts. Consider doing some experiments with photographing objects made into full alphabets, hand crafting letters, working with 3D, trying unusual mediums, and more. Construct an image based font you can use in Photoshop, build your first pictorial font, or just have fun hand crafting some letters.

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  • From Paula Scher to Wilco: Illustrative Lettering as Cultural Storytelling

    Illustrative lettering, by definition, lives at the beautiful intersection of typography and illustration. It blends the aesthetic sensibility of the type designer with the creative edge of the artist and the narrative magic of the storyteller. This latter property is incredibly important, particularly in understanding the broader cultural and social relevance of illustrative lettering as a tool of self-expression and a storytelling medium.

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  • Wearable Letterform: a Typographic Form for Ephemeral Messages

    Say it loud: How to publicly display messages in a highly visible way, without doing anything illegal? Say it fast: Messages evolve in a perpetual flux. If you take the example of a poster or a title in a newspaper, their context is permanently shifting: who the audience is, where it is read from, what the weather is like, what the buzz of the precise moment is. How can we display a physical message while keeping it flexible enough so that it can reflect on its context? Interested, read on!

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  • Ace Hotel Wall Murals

    As a designer, I feel it’s always a good idea to take on new and challenging projects when the opportunities present themselves. For example, when I was approached by Ace Hotel in NYC to do a series of murals that would cover multiple walls of some of their hotel rooms, I jumped at the chance… even though at the time I had no earthly idea how I was going to do it. I figured out a way though and now I use some of the techniques I developed for this project in other design projects.

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  • Inspiration: 45 Examples of Illustrative Lettering in Vector

    From the very first Phoenician alphabet, through Chinese calligraphy, to illuminated manuscripts, and to desktop publishing, the written word has been one of our primary means of communication. Not content with plain text on a blank background, artists through the centuries have created beautiful, awe-inspiring designs with type. Whether its purpose is to inspire or identify, illustrative lettering communicates to the heart as well as the head.

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  • Finding Your Hand Drawn Lettering Voice

    Learning to letter by hand is a journey, or at least it has been for me. Starting with a passion for letters and typography, I experimented with tracing type, fitting letters into unusual spaces, and discovering how to pull words and styles together cohesively. It can take quite some time for your compositions to come together, your focus tighten, and your voice to develop.

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  • Creative Illustrative Lettering Challenge – Part 1

    This session we proposed a challenge to two illustrators. We asked each of them to take our own “tuts+” brand name and illustrate it with a creative lettering solution. Learn how each of them went about solving this, and the concepts they worked with to bring about the final work. In this Part 1 of this challenge, we’ll look at Wojciech Pijecki’s solution and how he combines expressive and abstract concepts, with lots of colorful elements, transforming this brief into a vibrant work of art.

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  • Creative Illustrative Lettering Challenge – Part 2

    This session we proposed a challenge to two illustrators. We asked each of them to take our own “tuts+” brand name and illustrate it with a creative lettering solution. Learn how each of them went about solving this, and the concepts they worked with to bring about the final work. In this Part 2 of this challenge, we’ll look at Jacob Bian’s solution and how he uses figures, motion and depth within a 3D scene, to transform this brief into a creative work of art.

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  • Evolving Your Illustrative Typography, Through Experiments and Techniques

    To grow and develop your illustrative typography style first involved letting go. Don’t get overly concerned with your style early on. Give yourself the time needed to experiment. Try different techniques, different mediums, different approaches. Give yourself the space to make mistakes and learn from them. By practicing your illustrative lettering with craft personal projects you’ll gain experience with your tools. Over time, you’ll develop methods and techniques that will help you to deliver consistent professional results.

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Your Thoughts on this Illustrative Lettering Session

We’d love to here your feedback and suggestions on how to improve Creative Sessions. We’re actively working to improve Creative Sessions, with more high quality material, and new intensive two week sessions releasing each month. We look forward to your comments.

Coming Soon, Digital Illustration Creative Sessions

Our next session will be on digital illustration. In the next session we’ll cover a wide spectrum of digital illustration topics. We’ll dive deeper into the theory in topics like digital painting, finding your illustration niche, and how to apply surrealist concepts in your work. We’ll also follow some digital artists through their working process with case studies and we’ll touch on some of the business of digital illustration. We have a great session lined up on digital illustration coming soon. Expect to see this next session post around the middle of June.


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