Beyond words: the art of hand-lettering

Paperless Post hand-lettering

As the things around us become increasingly digitized—yes, including notes and invitations—the authenticity of the handmade has become ever more valuable. The design community’s enthusiasm for hand-lettered typography has reached a fever pitch, and we’re not sorry to say we’re part of the crowd.

Our designers specialize in all manner of visual disciplines, so calligraphy and hand-lettering are firmly in our wheelhouse. In this series of photos, art director Cat looks beyond staid fonts to creative an expressive design through the character itself.

Paperless Post hand-lettering

Step 1. Cat sketches different type styles in pencil. 

Paperless Post hand-lettering

Step 2. After choosing a style, she redraws the letters and refines the concept.

Paperless Post hand-lettering

Step 3. Cat uses a lightbox to transfer the drawing to heavier stock paper.

Paperless Post hand-lettering

Step 4. Using a fine watercolor paintbrush, she creates a wood grain texture. 

Paperless Post hand-lettering

Step 5. After applying a few watercolor washes, she outlines the finished art in ink.