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What is lettering and how to make money on it
What is lettering and how to make money on it

Drawing letters can become not only an interesting creative hobby, but also a source of income.

What is lettering and how to make money on it
What is lettering and how to make money on it

The word "lettering" is new to many, but what it means we are constantly confronted with. A beautiful label, an original sign in a store, a menu written on a blackboard in an interesting font - all these are examples of lettering. Don't forget about greeting cards, T-shirt prints, logos …

Lettering surrounds us everywhere. And you can learn how to independently create interesting compositions from letters. We will tell you where to start for a beginner and how to achieve success in this type of creativity.

What is lettering

Drawing beautiful letters is called lettering, and in this sense it can be compared to calligraphy. Indeed, both there and there the goal is to get an original outline of the letters, which would be distinguished by originality and uniqueness, reflecting a special mood. However, in lettering, the emphasis is still on drawing, it is closer to the visual arts than to writing.


Author's works

For a long time, "drawing letters" was just one of many creative directions. But in the 21st century, it has rapidly developed into an independent, demanded and very well-paid type of activity. And you can be sure that this trend will not go overnight. While there is a need for the original execution of the text, letterterers, that is, specialists in working with letters, will also be needed.

Where to begin

Most believe that there is no point in taking up drawing letters if there is no way to devote at least a few hours a day to this lesson. In fact, this is not the case. The main thing is to practice regularly, even for 5 minutes a day. Such activities will be more beneficial than an hour once a week.

A distinctive feature of lettering is that you do not need to have a basic art education for it. Basic drawing skills and 5-30 minutes of time daily will be enough.

Of course, business will bring success faster if you do not have to master the basics on your own and fill the bumps. Therefore, the winners are those who already know how to draw, have an idea of composition, perspective, color combinations, and so on. But all this is quite realistic to learn, so the lack of professional artistic skills should not stop you.

Lettering is ideal for beginners, and here's why:

  • It is much easier to make progress in it than in any other kind of creativity.
  • It does not require sophisticated skills, because in order to compose beautiful compositions from letters, you do not need to be able to sculpt a plaster head or draw a jumping cheetah.
  • There are clear rules for writing letterforms, and for the commercial success of your work, you just need to adhere to them.
  • Already after a month of regular exercise, you can notice a tangible increase in skill.

For these reasons, it is possible to excel at lettering without a creative background. There are several Letteres whose names are known all over the world, such as Stefan Kunz and Lauren Hom. They acquired their skills on their own, and their example is the best motivation for those who doubt themselves and their abilities.

Where and how to study

It is best to start with the words - this will allow you to "fill your hand", to master the basic techniques and moves. And then connect your imagination, study the work of other authors (for example, on Behance) and experiment!

Children's recipes for training will not work, because lettering harmonious from the point of view of lettering often differs from what we were taught at school. In lettering, each letter should look compositionally attractive, so you should pay attention to special recipes for modern lettering that can be found on the Internet.


If the lesson fascinates you and you understand that you want to master it, it makes sense to enroll in online courses. Most novice letteres need to be judged from the outside, since it is very difficult to notice the shortcomings of their work for yourself. And in the process of learning, you will not only get acquainted with new techniques, but also learn to see mistakes and correct them.

A sense of style and personal taste are of great importance. They will come only with experience, so train regularly and be guided by the masters whose works are original, interesting and, most importantly, in demand.

What tools are needed

The choice of tools and materials largely depends on what goals you set. For example, to draw letters for personal needs (for example, to decorate a postcard to friends), there is no point in spending money on expensive professional tools. And if you plan to create quality projects for commercial purposes, then, of course, you need to invest in the best materials.

On the other hand, if you try to draw with quality pencils or brushes at least once, you will immediately feel the difference. Working with good materials is much more pleasant and comfortable, and the result immediately becomes much better.


The minimum set you need to start drawing for yourself:

  • A soft, simple pencil. It is best to take 2B, but if you like to press when drawing, you can limit yourself to HB or B (bold lines are more difficult to erase, they leave a mark on the paper.
  • Eraser. It is desirable to be soft, so that it removes the pencil well and does not smudge it.
  • Paper - you can take a regular office paper for sketching or buy an album for drawing.
  • Colored markers, pencils or pens. Needed to trace the contours and paint over.

A professional kit is useful for those who want to create a competitive design or draw letters at a high level. It includes:

  • Soft pencil. Again, for those who do not like to press hard, 2B is suitable, and if you paint with pressure, then it is better to take a harder one.
  • Eraser. It is important that it is very soft and does not leave marks. Many illustrators use a nag eraser that does not scratch the paper, and the resulting work looks neat and presentable.
  • Liners. Needed to trace the contours. For fans of thick lines, 0, 8, 1, 0 and 1, 2 are suitable, thinner liners are labeled 0, 2, 0, 3, 0, 5. There are no universal recommendations regarding liners: choose those with which you are comfortable working.
  • Brashpen with two tips. It is a tool with a marker on one end and a brush on the other. You can use a marker to make a contour or paint over letters, and the second tip is perfect for those who are mastering brush lettering, that is, drawing letters with a brush.
  • Single-tipped brush pen. This tool is more difficult to learn than the previous one, it is more difficult to control spelling, it requires higher skill and therefore is not suitable for beginners. However, it is he who is needed if you want to create letters that are fashionable today, in which there are very thick and thin lines.
  • Paper. Its density should be at least 80 g / m², that is, ordinary office sheets for a printer will do.

This list of tools is not universal. Over time, every letterer understands what is more convenient for him to work with, and collects his own set of favorite instruments. However, it is better to use this list to get started.

How to make money on lettering

The success of lettering is determined by the commercial benefits it brings. Oddly enough, but beauty is far from the main thing for successful sales. It is necessary that the work is in demand, and for this it is important to create, first of all, trendy things.

The main principles of successful lettering:

  • laconic composition;
  • minimalism;
  • following trends.

If the first two are developed with experience, then the second is the result of a close study of the market, the work of popular letteres, as well as an analysis of the compositions that are on sale and in demand.

For successful sales, it is very important to know at least some of the principles of the functioning of this market. Many letterers were successful just because their first major was in economics, advertising, or sales. Using their knowledge, they were able to correctly declare themselves and attract customers.


Author's works

You can sell works in two fundamentally different ways:

  • through social networks or your own website;
  • on microstocks - sites where anyone can post their creative work for sale.

Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let's consider them in detail.

How to sell artwork via social media or your website

This option requires active promotion actions.

  1. Define your target audience. To do this, set the area in which you will be creating, for example, creating lettering for T-shirts and greeting cards, or working on brand logos.
  2. Create a unique selling proposition - something that sets you apart from the competition.
  3. Work on the image. Collaborate with other bloggers, participate in themed events, or run a workshop.
  4. Build a portfolio and add to it regularly. Potential clients need to know what you can do.


  • You work with clients directly, and it is convenient: you do not need to anticipate the desires of an abstract potential customer, your customer will tell you exactly what he wants.
  • Properly configured social media advertising can bring you widespread visibility, especially if you post it on popular blogs and correctly identify your target audience.


  • Promotion of a blog on social networks requires active participation and material investments, this is not passive earnings.
  • Success almost always depends on the external attractiveness of the blog, your activity and advertising - without this it will not be possible to attract a customer.

How to sell through microstocks

Microstocks are universal bases for the sale of products of your creativity, since both masters with a name and novice letters are represented on them. These sites do not make high demands on the level of performance, so even beginners can successfully make money on their compositions.

  1. Register on one or several sites (Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Depositphotos and others), read the rules for posting works (resolution, quality, profile requirements).
  2. Upload your works and wait for buyers.


  • This is a relatively passive income: each job can be sold as many times as people want to buy it, so in theory the income from it is unlimited.
  • Microstocks do not require your constant presence, advertising, and so on.
  • This type of business does without material investments.


  • At first, profit grows very slowly.
  • There is a lot of competition on microstocks, so you need to constantly improve and follow trends.
  • The work involves a flexible schedule, which means that you need good self-organization. It is necessary to regularly replenish the portfolio, master new directions, develop your own style that will attract buyers.

Ideally, it is good to combine both methods of monetization: their advantages and disadvantages mutually compensate each other and allow you to establish stable regular sales. By concentrating on one thing, you miss out on the opportunities that the other offers.

In any case, be prepared for the fact that there will be no immediate result. Perhaps, in the first months, the profit from micro-stocks will be minimal, and social networks will require investments in promotion. Be patient. When everything works, you will see how profitable this business is.


New trends are always attractive and convenient for monetization. Lettering, despite its novelty, has a huge advantage: it will not lose its relevance over the years, which means that it makes sense to invest time and effort in mastering it.