Difference between Lettering & Calligraphy

Calligraphy v/s Hand lettering 

If I had a penny for every-time someone asked me the difference between these art forms, I'd be super rich. But if you're confused, don't worry, I am going to make your life easier by breaking down both the terms. Well, both the terms may overlap, but they are not the same! ;)

Calligraphy is the art of writing letters whereas handlettering is the art of drawing letter.
Lets see what that means:

1. Calligraphy is actually having a good handwriting and 
making layouts with perfect muscle memory. It has fixed kinds of scripts available. It takes years to master scripts in calligraphy. It is often written with pressure-sensitive tools, usually in a script style like copperplate, spencerian etc

Usage: Wedding Invites, Certificates etc

Please find some examples below by artist Paul Antonio (left) and Barbara Calzolari (Right):



2. Hand Lettering is a more free form of writing. It can be considered a subset of typography but with lesser rules. It's more like drawing letters or drawing expressive type in different kinds of layouts.

Usage: Murals, custom artworks or posters.

Please find some examples below by artist Stefan Kunz (left) & Lauren Hom (right) :

Even though hand lettering is more experimental, it is better to stick to some basic rules of typography like kerning, spacing or proper serifs or the letters will look really weird when you make the composition.

Also, I am a lettering artist, not a calligrapher ;)

I hope this helps! Don't worry you are not the only one confused in the beginning, you'll get the hang of it as you keep going!

Check out the video here.

Still confused? Mail me at Lettersandallthat@gmail.com 

Blog by Bhavna Ahuja