So maybe you’ve been practicing your lettering for quite a while and feel pretty content with your style that’s emerging. Yet, when you try to assemble your words into a longer text like a quote, or an address on an envelope, everything seems to fall apart and the result is underwhelming or simply lacks that certain look you want it to have, that look other lettering pieces seem to transport so easily.
Being able to write awesome letters is only one thing (of course it’s important to have a good foundation first). But when it comes to arranging letters and words on a page, you need to have the knowledge and tools to create harmonious layouts with your writing.
The good news is, there are a few proven rules to this and you can easily learn them.
Rules for great layouts
One thing you need to take into account is how your writing needs to be spaced – to remain legible and form a coherent text block at different sizes. Legibility is important for every design piece that has text in it.
You also need to guide the viewer’s eye over the page, so you’ll have to decide on a hierarchy for your words, emphasizing the most important words. Then there’s the question of choosing a particular style and overall mood for your text.
All of these are just about the text itself – you’ll also need to arrange the text block on the page and for that you’ll need a page layout like flush left, flush right, or centered, or a more complex one like an asymmetrical or wavy layout. Hint: As a rule of thumb, most lettering looks great centered.
And you need to decide if and where you want to include flourishing and ornaments (one great tip is not to overdo it with the flourishing!).
To summarize, here’s a checklist for creating great layouts:
- Decide on a style and mood
- Structure your words (create a hierarchy in your text)
- Structure your page (how the text block sits on the page: flush right, centered, round, etc.)
- line spacing
- space around the writing
- flourishes & ornaments
All of these factors (and a few others!) make a great layout, and you can learn about all of them in my online course Create Layouts. I’ll walk you step by step through the theoretic knowledge outlined above, and show how to apply it in two different lettering pieces, one written with the pointed pen and one with the brush pen.
Here’s what’s in the course:
- How to choose a style for your text
- How to position your elements and create a layout
- Sketching different layouts with thumbnails
- Refining your drafts with pencil and ink
- Planning and writing the finished piece
- Bonus material: Layouts for invitations & menus
- Bonus material: writing in round or wavy shapes
Here are two free videos directly from the course that show you some of the principles I mentioned above:
At the end of this class, you will have learned how to put together a text composition in different styles and layouts. You will be able to create finalized lettering pieces that look great.
Of course, you can take this course with either a pointed pen or brush pen in your hands. You’ll need a little bit of basic training, because I won’t go over the basic rules of calligraphic writing again (this is covered in my Calligraphy Essentials class), but if you feel comfortable in at least one basic style, that’s great!
This will be a 4-week-course with video and text lessons. As always, there’s a basic and a complete package: if you sign up for the complete package I will be available to review your work for the whole time, so you will have the opportunity to get encouraging feedback by me to improve your work. The basic package is great for self-paced learning without feedback.
Hope to see you in the course!