@Brush Lettering @How to

The science behind modern brush lettering

February 26, 2016

When you first start off with brush lettering, you will probably write in a straight line, where all of your letters sit on the same baseline. As you progress further into brush lettering, you may see more ‘modern’ styles of brush lettering, where letters seem to bounce around. You want to imitate  that. You’ve tried and tried, but something just doesn’t look right. How is it done, exactly?

What makes this

More visually appealing than this?


No, not really, but it is sort of science. You see, getting those bouncy letters does not mean having each individual letter varying in vertical placement. Instead, you want to think about the center of gravity. More simply, you want to think about where the average location of the weight of each letter is. You want the center of gravity for all the letters to lie in the same horizontal plane. As long as you keep that in mind, you can extend your strokes as far high and as far low as you want.

Make sense? No? Let’s illustrate this.

I’ve drawn lines through each letter to show you where the center of gravity or average location of weight is. Notice how it differs for each letter. This is what makes the whole word unpleasing to look at. It looks modern, but somehow it seems unruly and unpolished.

Let’s compare it with this.

Ahhh, that’s better! The center of gravity for each letter is more or less in the same horizontal plane! There is still the ‘bounciness’ that you get with the higher and lower strokes in each letter, but the balance in the location of weight of each letter is much more appealing to look at.

Easy, isn’t it? Here’s another example:

Now that you’ve got the basic idea, you can create all sorts of magical, visually appealing pieces of lettering! Do try it out, and see what a difference it makes in your lettering.

Stay creative!


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  • Reply Kelly Thompson May 23, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Great post!! Very helpful! I’m so glad I found your blog and IG. Thank you so much!! Keep bringing them!

    • Reply Jo June 1, 2016 at 6:09 am

      Thank you Kelly! So glad you enjoy my posts!

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