What is the Different Between Typography, Calligraphy, and Hand Lettering?

Difference Between Typography, Calligraphy, and Hand lettering

When I tell people that I enjoy practicing hand lettering, the usual response is like, “Oh Calligraphic! I love calligraphy!” However,  hand lettering and calligraphy are different. Allow me to explain the difference between typography, calligraphy, and hand lettering.

What is Typography?

Typography is the arrangement of type. Typesetters arrange individual metal letters to act as a stamp. It is important to craft the layout so that it is legible and appealing. Typography is just as much an art as photography.

Thanks to the digital age, more people have the opportunity to learn and print using typographic skills. These skills include the understanding in leading, kerning, typefaces and point size. All of this said; Typography is a typeset.

What is Calligraphy?

Calligraphy focuses on the execution of decorative lettering with a pen or brush. This art form is about technique, striving to master consistency within one smooth stroke. Therefore, calligraphy is written.

What is Hand Lettering?

Hand Lettering is customizable because it is hand drawn. Lettering has the freedom to be creative and illustrative. The artist has the liberty to alter the rules about leading and kerning to develop their own layout. Lettering is “drawn.”

I hope that clears up the difference between typography, calligraphy, and hand lettering!

Pin the image below!

Difference Between Typography, Calligraphy, and Hand lettering

Want to learn modern calligraphy?

Check out my 30 Days to Better Brush Lettering.

For any questions or reactions, please comment below.

Want to practice hand lettering? Come join the Facebook Group, Hand Lettering and Art | Crystal Whitlow Design. On this Facebook group, you are free to share your work as often as you like. You are welcome to ask questions and get feedback as well.

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Comments · 12

  1. I love simple and understandable you defined them. I’ve actually been tossing between is this calligraphy or handlettering, and I think I finally have an answer! Thank you!

    1. Yay! I’m so happy that this made since and helpful you out! 😀 Let me know if you need anything else! ^_^ I visited your website! Super fun, clean and creative!

  2. This was so useful! I’ve been trying my hand (ha!) at hand lettering recently and never quite understood how to define it. Now at least I know what I’m filling my old sketch books with! 🙂

  3. My daughter practices Calligraphy everyday and has been for the past few years. One of my favorite writing styles! I knew what the differences were visually but your explanations put it in simple, clear terms. They are all beautiful as far as I’m concerned!

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