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  • Writer's pictureCajvanean C. Alexandru

The Art of Crafting Wordmark Logos: Why I Prefer to Do It By Hand from Scratch

The Art of Crafting Wordmark LogosCajva

Whether it's Ancient, Blackletter, Serif, Script, Slab, or Sans, I love all types of styles. In fact, I consider myself somewhat of a type nerd, which is quite common in our field of graphic design. While some of us feel the need to debate the subtle differences or similarities between certain typefaces - grunts Avenir is better than Futura - the rest of the design industry goes on about their days using fonts and typefaces like it ain't no thang. Besides typefaces, I also have a passion for calligraphy, lettering, and graffiti.

While I respect the typefaces I use in my designs, from time to time, I felt the need to express my own creativity. Initially, I would edit existing typefaces to craft a unique wordmark-style logo. Common practices involved erasing the stroke inside the letter 'A' (also known as the crossbar) to achieve an upside-down 'V', eliminating the apex or vertex of certain letters, elongating the ascender (vertical stem of lowercase glyph) or descender, resizing the arms of the 'E', adjusting the crossbar of the letter 'H,' and, in some cases, modifying swashes or creating quaint embellishments known as gadzooks to combine letters through ligatures. However, these practices are now nearly extinct from my repertoire. Nowadays, I prefer to start from scratch.

DEW Lettering Black letter wordmark design by cajva

Calligraphy or hand lettering?

Why not both? My technique and process involve a lot of hand lettering, but from time to time, I also use calligraphy tools and systems to craft and design my words. But what is calligraphy, and what is hand lettering?

From the Greek 'kalos,' which translates into beauty, and 'graphein,' the term for writing, it turns out that calligraphy is nothing but beautiful writing. Calligraphy involves a specific process and specialized tools for writing. Fountain pens, quills, brushes and nibs, ink, and pigment grinding are some of the things you will find in this beautiful and fascinating world. The technique is a form of handwriting but with a variation of strokes and styles.

Hand lettering is basically drawing letters, different from calligraphy, which, as I mentioned, translates into "writing" letters. For this, you don't need any tools, and you can design an entire word letter by letter.

Now, I take all that and combine it with the power of a computer and software to deliver state-of-the-art lettering and writing that extends beyond language, geographical borders, or time. Words and the design of words are a form of power and culture. To put it in perspective, we deal with an unstoppable force and an immovable object at the same time.

Fireball Lettering Wordmark Design by Cajva

What's such a big deal in designing words?

I believe that designing words, combined with various techniques, is more than beautiful lettering and writing; it's about how it makes us feel. It all comes down to a personal note and how we connect with the letters. Consider how we associate different typefaces with various emotions. Hard to imagine? Let's think about two movie posters—one for a dark horror movie called 'The Haunted Manor' and how the title would be written, in comparison with a Pixar family movie that shares the same name. Doing this exercise makes it easy to see how the use of different type styles changes our perception of the movie content

example of different typefaces for the movie title "the haunted manor"

Why I prefer to create the wordmark logos myself?

I see it as my responsibility to deliver authentic, original, and creative work. My customer is not obligated to know how these are made or even have the knowledge to appreciate the craftsmanship behind the work I do. It is I who has to ensure that they receive the right design—design that will serve and help them on their journey. Besides, it's quite challenging and fun to come up with ideas for letters or entire words. Some of these words are complete art compositions that could sit nicely on a shirt or on a wall inside a museum. There are entire communities and dedicated people who appreciate and praise quality calligraphy and lettering.

Examples of wordmark logo design I did from scratch?

Lettering wordmark typefaces logo design by cajva

To typeface or to font

At the moment, I don't create full typefaces or font families. However, I definitely want to, and I hope in the future to launch a few typefaces of my own making. I would love to create one based on the 'Universe Blank Verse' lettering.

Some calligraphy artists, typefaces creators, lettering artists I like

Artists such as Jonathan Hoefler, Akir Ovitch, Fralligraphy, Alex Mihis, Sachin Shah, Taras Makar, Shane Huss, Lalit Mourya, Mirko Reisser, Srdjan Vidakovic, Zepha, Theosone and so so many more that I think I would need a few blog posts just to name them all.

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