The other day, I was in Whole Foods, which is this sort of hip grocery store chain in the US/Canada and the UK. As I was perusing all the beautiful food labels and the advertising throughout the store, one thing stood out to me in a big way: hand-lettering. Whole Foods is big on ambiance, and a lot of their charm is thanks to hand-lettering!
It would seem that Whole Foods — and many other retailers — have pinpointed that hand-lettering holds appeal for a lot of people. In a world where computer fonts are an easily accessible norm, hand-lettering stands out as a delightful anomaly! This principle also applies outside the realm of advertising: virtually any paper good benefits from hand-drawn letters.
In today’s post, my goal is to teach a new hand-lettered alphabet to you that you can easily create at home: it’s called George Style. George Style hand-lettering provides a pleasing contrast to many of the beautiful, flourishy dip pen calligraphy styles here on the TPK website. It features straight, clean lines with a hint of quirk and artistry! The George is a hand-lettering style that looks good on anything from wedding invitations to magazine covers. To make it, you’ll first need either the free exemplar (which will show you what George Style capital letters look like) or the premium exemplar (which features the entire alphabet, including lowercase letters and numbers, letter formation instructions, and more). As explained in the premium exemplar, you’ll want to start by drawing three evenly-spaced pencil guidelines for each line of lettering that you wish to create.
You don’t absolutely need a ruler to create George Style Hand-Lettering, but it helps you to make letters that look nice and clean. I like to use a parallel glider (a.k.a. rolling ruler) to make straight edges on letters that include long, skinny rectangles (like “H”, “E”, “N”, “R”, “Y”, and L” below). For letters that have curves (like “O”), you’ll just free-hand draw! There’s no need to draw the letters in pencil first: you can dive straight in with a smudge-proof pen such as Micron.
A lot of the charm of this style comes from the small, dense parallel diagonal lines featured in each number or letter. I don’t recommend using a ruler to create the tiny lines; that would be pretty time-consuming! Instead, you can free-hand draw them in. If they’re not perfectly straight or parallel, no one will notice.
As with many hand-lettering styles, part of the appeal of this lettering comes from its neat and orderly positioning. Letters look best when they follow the same horizontal baseline, so you’ll want to make sure you have pencil guidelines to help you keep everything tidy! Once you’re done lettering, the guidelines should be erased.
George Style Hand-Lettering is great for envelopes because it’s hyper-legible and artistic. Pair it with a vintage stamp collage, and perfection ensues!
How to Use the Exemplars
As I mentioned, there are two versions of the exemplars. The first is a one-page, simple exemplar that shows the capital letters of the George Style alphabet. My intention is for you to keep this page around for reference, and you can create projects like the yellow envelope above by looking at the letters on the sheet and mimicking them on envelope art, invitations, etc. If you’re interested in the free exemplar, you may download it by clicking here.
The second exemplar provides premium content for $5.00; you may purchase it by clicking here. The premium exemplar was meticulously designed over the past few weeks to show you exactly how to create each uppercase letter, lowercase letter, and number.
My intention is for you to print off the premium exemplar and use it as a guide for making each and every letter. The exemplar includes instructions on drawing pencil guidelines, tips for creating compelling lettering, and alternative letterforms that do not appear on the free exemplar. The last page of the exemplar includes practice lines so you can try out writing George Style letters before you implement them on projects like the place card below! The lettering style may take a few minutes to get used to, so it’s not a bad idea to practice.
The number one thing I want to encourage you to do as you’re making George Style Hand-Lettering is have fun with it! Feel free to switch up the lettering a bit to make it your own; for example, in the blue envelope below, I have substituted brown and red ombré colored pencil for the little diagonal lines. Also, if you have an interest in calligraphy, you’ll also appreciate how well George Style Hand-Lettering meshes with script! The envelope pictured here showcases a mix of George Style lettering and Janet Style calligraphy, but any script will look good.
The George Style Hand-Lettering exemplar is different from other TPK materials because it is not a worksheet. I chose to make it as an exemplar because there is no need to commit the letterforms to memory; you can use the alphabet and letter formation pages for reference as you are creating. That said, if you’d like to memorize all the letterforms, the exemplar will facilitate that!
I hope that you enjoy this little mid-week surprise, and that if you have any questions, you won’t hesitate to ask. Happy hand-lettering!