Does Hand-Drawn Typography Make Your Branding Better?
Hand-drawn typography is a form of typography where each letter or character is drawn by hand rather than being created digitally or through a printing press.
Due to its imperfect, more authentic appearance and feel, it’s frequently used in branding and advertising alongside projects to portray this desired effect.
As shown in the name itself, hand-drawn typography is created with tools such as pencils, pens, and brushes: even going so far as using software and drawing tablets to replicate organic movements in the text digitally.
For designers, it allows more freedom in creating custom letterforms, unique character shapes and effects that digital typography cannot achieve.
Some of the advantages of using this style stem primarily from its versatility.
It is useful to create desired aesthetics in various contexts, including print, digital media, social media graphics and websites: it can add a personal touch to any brand.
Similarly, hand-drawn typography, in logo design, specifically, can help brands stand out.
As many brands now prioritise minimalism, the illustrative uniqueness and imperfections can make a brand more recognisable. They ultimately make it more memorable, mainly when used across all branding/advertisement.
Overall, it is an excellent choice for brand designers looking to add their personal touch to their branding and to create authentic connections with their target audience.
In this article, we will explore the topic of hand-drawn typography and its impacts on branding and marketing.
It will discuss both advantages and disadvantages, creation techniques and important factors to consider.
Alongside this, looking at case studies of brands successfully utilising illustration in typography and its future in the world of branding.
Whether you’re a designer, marketer, or business owner, this article will give you an understanding of hand-drawn typography: it could potentially change the impact of your branding.
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make text readable and appealing when displayed.
It involves the selection of typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, and line and letter spacing, among other elements: this is a critical aspect of graphic design and plays a significant role in branding and marketing.
It can also be used to express emotions, personality and flair, and create a distinctive visual identity for a brand. In essence, typography is the visual representation of language and is essential in any communicative design.
Furthermore, brands use type to establish credibility and create consistency across their marketing materials. For instance: concept design, websites, logos, packaging, and social media graphics. It is a powerful tool for creating a strong brand identity.
Due to this, choosing the right typography is essential in creating a persona around your brand for it to be perceived by audiences the way you want it to be perceived. The right style can convey the brand’s personality, tone of voice and even values that all contribute to the connection with target markets.
It can also increase the readability and effectiveness of the brand’s message. In contrast, the wrong type can convey opposing messages that could create negative impressions of the brand: Make your message and intentions as a brand clear.
What is Hand-Drawn Typography?
As aforementioned, hand-drawn type is a form of typography created entirely by the human hand.
It is predominantly recognised for its unique and flawed characteristics. Commonly used by designers in place of digital type to create a more memorable and authentic visual experience for audiences.
Here are some well-known examples of this technique:
- Coca-Cola: The iconic Coca-Cola logo features a custom hand-drawn script that has remained virtually unchanged since its creation in 1887.
- Bonne Maman: The French food company uses illustrated calligraphy for its logo and product labels to create an artisanal, homemade feel.
- Ben & Jerry’s: The ice cream company uses fun and quirky type across its packaging and advertising to convey the brand’s playful and irreverent personality.
In comparison to hand-drawn calligraphy, digital typography uses software and presets to create and manipulate type. Typically, this style tends to have a more corporate feel, in which it is precise and uniform by design, for its audiences and what they want to convey as a brand.
Some examples of this are:
- Google: The tech giant uses a custom digital font called ‘Product Sans’ in its branding, which is simple and easy to read.
- Spotify: The music streaming service uses a custom digital font called ‘Spotify Sans’, which is clean and modern, reflecting the brand’s focus on innovation and technology.
- Airbnb: The travel and hospitality brand uses a custom digital font called ‘Airbnb Cereal’, which is playful and friendly, reflecting the brand’s values of community and belonging.
The Advantages of Using Hand-Drawn Typography in Branding
- Unique and Authentic Branding: As each letter is individually crafted, it creates a one-of-a-kind look that cannot be digitally replicated. The organic aesthetic can help brands stand out and create more personal customer connections with the brand.
- Increased Brand Recognition: Hand-illustrated type creates an association between the brand and the memorability of its logo type, for instance. It can become an iconic part of a brand’s identity and ultimately have a long-lasting impression on consumers.
- Flexibility in Branding: Customisation and adaptation is extremely flexible surrounding hand-drawn type. Letters/characters can be drawn to fit particular designs, allowing for a variety of creative options. Also, the effect of this typography can be useful for brands looking to convey a sense of flexibility and free-flowing creativity.
- Enhanced Emotional Connection with the Audience: In utilising this design technique, the brand can evoke a sense of personality, humanity and authenticity. This puts humans behind the brand instead of creating a feeling of a detached corporate identity. It can help the brand feel more approachable to new client circles as well as lead to increased brand loyalty and advocacy.
- Personal Touch to the Branding: The design elements of this type can add a handmade feel to the branding, making it more relatable and ‘down to earth’ for audiences. Furthermore, it can create a sense of nostalgia, at a time when most mainstream brands are focusing on modernism and minimalism, appealing to specific markets or evoking certain emotions.
The Disadvantages of Using Hand-Drawn Typography in Branding
- Time Consuming and Expensive: The process of creating hand-drawn type can be very labour-intensive and time-consuming, which can affect the cost of design projects. It may also need adjustments to achieve the desired aesthetic, causing a designer to increase the time and cost involved.
- Difficult to Replicate: Each letter or character is created by hand and therefore very unique. It can be challenging for designers to recreate the same look or handwriting style repeatedly, especially if the details or concept for the lettering change slightly.
- Not Suitable for All Brands: Some hand lettering aesthetics may not align with the brand’s image: it may not be appropriate for specific industries/audiences. As it can be less legible than some other typefaces, it may not be suitable for brands that require easy-to-read text or need simplicity to get their values across to consumers.
Hand-Drawn Typography Techniques
- Start with sketches: Before creating the final artwork, do some rough sketches to experiment with various styles, colouring and layouts. This helps you refine your ideas before committing to a design.
- Pay attention to spacing and readability: This hand lettering style can be harder to read than digital typography, so ensure it is easy for prospective audiences and client circles. Each character should be clearly defined and consistent.
- Use the right tools: In order to produce high-quality work, it’s vital to use the right tools. Perhaps consider high-quality pens, markers, brushes and paper that work well with your chosen medium.
- Practice, practice, practice: It takes time to perfect your design skills with typography art, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes: it’s all part of the learning process.
Digital vs. Hand-Drawn Typography: Which is Better for Branding?
To answer this, here are some pros and cons of Digital Typography, as we’ve already looked at hand-drawn type:
- Consistency: Digital typography provides consistency in branding and allows there to be a uniform and cohesive visual identity: showing the professionalism of the brand.
- Easy to replicate: It can be easily replicated across media spaces – social media, graphic website design, products and packaging – which makes it a practical and time-efficient option.
- Choice: Digital type also offers a variety of preset typefaces, styles, and designs to choose from, which allows greater flexibility and creativity for the designer.
- Cost-effective: Using digital typography can be more cost-effective than other options. It requires much less time and materials, allowing the designer and the brand to spend less of their budget.
- Lack of uniqueness: It can be less memorable than hand-drawn type, as many digital fonts tend to look very similar: The brand could get drowned out by more mainstream competitors.
- Limited customisation: Digital styles can be limited in terms of customisation and personalisation, as many are pre-designed to convey particular aesthetics.
- Less emotional impact: This typography may lack the emotive connection and personal touch that hand-drawn type can provide brands and audiences.
- Overuse: Digital type can be overused by many of the brands’ competitors, leading to a decrease in creativity and visual interest in the branding.
Both digital and hand-drawn typography have their strengths and weaknesses in branding. Digital typography provides consistency and practicality, while hand-drawn typography offers uniqueness and an emotive impact. Ultimately, the choice between the two approaches depends on the individual brand’s goals, values, and target audience.
The Future of Hand-Drawn Typography in Branding
In the last few years, hand-drawn typography has become an increasingly popular option in branding and design. There is a distinct trend towards conveying authenticity, individuality and meaning, which has caused more brands to make hand-drawn type a focal design point.
Some specific trends include incorporating organic shapes, textures and patterns, using expressive lettering, and also mixing both illustrated and digitally manipulated type. It is also being used to create fantastical designs alongside the more mainstream trend of minimalism and sophistication.
Overall, the trend towards hand-drawn typography reflects a desire for more creativity and personality in branding and design.
Here are some predictions for the possible future of hand-drawn typography in the world of branding:
- There will be an increased use and development of technology for creating hand-drawn types, such as advanced digital pens and tablets: helping processes become way more cost and time-efficient for designers.
- More brands will embrace hand-drawn lettering to differentiate themselves from others and create a unique visual identity in line with current trends.
- Similarly, with product design, there will be a trend towards more designing organic and natural-looking types to reflect the global market’s interest in sustainability and environmentalism.
- Hybrid typography (hand-drawn and digital) will continue to be used to create more dynamic and engaging visual experiences with an aim to appeal to wider audiences.
- Brands will move towards commissioning artists and illustrators to create custom typography that is totally unique to their brand.
- Like any art, its use will keep evolving and adapting to changing design trends and consumer preferences.
- More designers will experiment with unconventional styles, like graffiti and styles inspired by things of cultural significance: pop culture, books, world events, etc.
In conclusion, hand-drawn typography offers several advantages and disadvantages in the realm of branding and marketing. On the one hand, the technique can create unique, flexible, and emotionally engaging branding that resonates with target audiences. It can also effectively increase brand recognition through uniqueness and memorability.
Though it can be increasingly time-consuming, costly and hard to replicate exactly for designers: still, it may not be suitable for all brands.
On the other hand, the digital type offers efficiency, cost-effectiveness and easy replication.
Yet it may lack the organic and personal feel of the latter.
Ultimately, the choice between digital and hand-drawn typography in branding depends on the brand’s goals, values and audience.
While hand-drawn type may not be suitable for all brands, it remains a powerful tool for visually engaging and emotionally resonant branding.
If executed well, it can have a powerful impact on the brand’s success.