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4 Sessions
Audit (Free)
Certificate (Incl. w/ Premium)
Program ($900 USD)
School of Visual Arts
Visual Arts, Design
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
English, Afrikaans
Typography, Handlettering, Graphic Design, Digitizing handlettering
Course Description

Custom Handlettering covers unique and beautiful handlettering used across a wide spectrum of design disciplines. The practice involves drawing letterforms already composed into words, rather than creating characters for an entire alphabet and combining them. Generated for specific uses rather than assembled from a kit of parts, handlettering provides infinite variety for type designers. Students will explore ways to build out digital variations on their handlettered characters.

Tools, methods, and techniques for creating expressive lettering using traditional tools and media such as ink, pen, paint, and brush will be demonstrated. Digitizing hand drawn type into vector designs, and combining handwork with digital design within projects will be explored.


This course is in scheduled mode and is open for enrollment. Learn more about scheduled courses here.

Session 1: Introduction, Geometry, and Tools
In our first session, we'll begin by looking at some inspiring examples of hand lettering, both historical and more contemporary. Next, we'll look at the roles of contrast and basic geometric forms as foundations for making letters. Finally, we'll preview the various tools that we'll be working with in this course.
Session 2: Developing Your Technique: Lines and Letters
In this session, I'll share some basic exercises that will help you begin to develop your technique and general comfort with lettering by hand. These are some of the same exercises that I do every day. After working on lines and curves, we'll begin creating some letters, and for your assignment, you'll put those letters together into some words.
Session 3: Developing Your Technique: Letters and Sketches
In this session, we'll continue with the exercises from last time, creating letters and words, and experimenting with the wide variety of lettering tools that we have on hand. We'll also explore some sketching techniques as an alternative approach to creating letters by hand.
Session 4: From Analog Sketches to Digital Designs
In our final session, we'll import some of our sketches into Adobe Illustrator and turn them into bold digital letterforms. From there we'll use a variety of simple techniques to create diverse variations on our original designs. For our final assignment, you'll bring together all of the analog and digital techniques that we've worked on and create several variations on a personal brand.
Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Whenever you complete a course as a premium member, you can earn a verified Certificate of Accomplishment .

This course is also part of the Program: The Complete Typographer. Earn a verified Specialist Certificate for successfully completing a Program.

These certificates are proof that you completed an online course on our platform and can easily be shared with its unique link.

Credit Elligible Program
This course is one of 5 courses in the The Complete Typographer Program and is offered for credits from School of Visual Arts.

Earn a verified Specialist Certificate after successfully completing a Program. And whenever you complete a course as a Premium member, you earn a verified Certificate of Accomplishment . These certificates are proof that you completed an online course on our platform and can easily be shared with its unique link.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course
  • Supplies
    • Flat brush
    • Pointed brush
    • Sharpie marker(s)
    • Pens/Pencils
    • other objects TBD
    • Black India Ink
    • Tracing paper
  • Software
    • Adobe Creative Suite
Additional Information

Please note: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member does not affirm that the learner has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by School of Visual Arts.

If a student signs up for the Complete Typographer program, it is recommended that these courses are taken sequentially.

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