#21doodledays Letters

Letters are difficult for me. My hands aren't as steady like a youngster, and I seem to see everything in a slanted way. I have been practicing this year, so the letters are much better.

The thing is, writing for display is an art form. I've always told my students that when creating a poster, the letters are NOT handwriting, they are art. Each letter is its own piece of art, so consider each part of the letter part of its sketch. Just like you'd draw a cat-- first as a circle, then with two triangle ears. Each part is drawn deliberately; each part is considered separately and combined in distinct strokes to create the whole.

So it is with letters and numbers-- once I began to treat my poster letters and numbers as individual pieces of art, my lettering improved. Each line is a deliberate stroke, drawn with the whole arm, not just a twist of the wrist. Each stroke is a considered, drawn deliberately, then connected with the next deliberate part of the letter.

So the last capital letter A in the picture would be drawn in this order:

Three vertical lines, the first one long, the second one even at the bottom, but shorter than the first, and the third line, again even at the bottom, yet shorter than the second line. This deliberate focus creates the anchor for the next part of the artsy A, the diagonal. It fits nicely along the angle created by the three consecutively shorter lines. Finally, the three  vertical lines and the diagonal line are connected with a horizontal line just below midway of the shortest vertical line.

Even if I were drawing a poster with a regular capital letter A, I would consider the form I wanted to create and the steps I'd take to carefully draw, not write, each part to create the whole:

When I share this with my students, their posters immediately improve. Of course, there are a few more tricks with spacing and alignment, but thinking of letters as art is a first good step.

So for this, I created 11 lettered works of art. :)  I drew the D and M first, then spaced in the REA. Then I considered the spacing of the components of DRAW as between the letters of DREAM. Then the DO below the RA. I added the scalloped border and the dashed lined sides embellished with dots. I might add two faces to the side of the DO later to balance that white space, but we'll see. The words are important.

So DREAM an idea, DRAW it, and DO it!

Don't let any obstacles, negativity, world issues, backtracking stop you. Focus on the dream, and adapt it to improve, if needed when the world gives you lemons.

Go ahead now, create your own poster by carefully considering the strokes for the shapes of your styled letters.

Update: September 9

As you can see, I need guidelines if I'm doing something official; my straight lines are slanted!  But with the point here is practice in the strokes of each letter and in developing my styles of lettering.

Another aspect of lettering on posters or in notes is the case of letters. For attention and titles, use capital letters, but for explanation and information, normal lettering with capital letters and lower case is important. Our brain can more quickly read lower case text because of the tall and short letters forming the patterns we recognize.


Readability is easier

 with lower case.

Develop your style of lettering, and consider the purpose of each section of the text to determine the style and case needed. Vary styles to add interest and direct the line of viewing-- but not too many styles!


Day 9 Letters in #21doodledays by @DianeBleck 
My #21doodledays on Flickr

About Case

I should note, that distance is a factor as is a person's ability to see and read. I found three articles that indicate that capital letters are not necessarily harder to read than lower case letters: 

However, those who use text -- journalists and cities [street signs] disagree:
And text designers:

And my husband, publisher and editor, insists that all capitals is not readable. And he adds, "Capitals are used for a reason-- should we go back to Hebrew writing of all caps, no spaces, and no punctuation? We developed these rules for a reason." We use cases, spaces, and punctuation for legibility and clarity so what we write can be easily understood.

For me:





Readability is easier

 with lower case.

Can you Read this Paragraph?Eevn touhgh the wrosd are srcmaelbd, cahnecs are taht you can raed tihs praagarph aynawy. The order of the ltteers in each word is not vrey ipmrotnat. But the frsit and lsat ltteer msut be in the rhgit psotitoin. The ohter ltetres can be all mxeid up and you can sitll raed whtiuot a lot of porbelms. This is bceusae radenig is all aobut atciniptanig the nxet word.

When you read you don’t absorb exact letters and words and then interpret them later. You anticipate what will come next. The more previous knowledge you have the easier it is to anticipate and interpret.
From How People Read 
Try this:


I find that much more difficult to read than with mixed letters and punctuation. The article, How Do We Read Words and How Should We Set Them?, suggests that mixed case text is more easily readable.

Apparently it's personal use and practice that dictates speed and recognition of words. We also read the word before we read the letters [!] using context and prediction. However, since most people still are accustomed to reading mixed case, I think it's important to use mixed case text for information when creating posters, leaflets, quotation cards. 

As always, audience and purpose dictate the needs.

Reflect curiosity and wonder --Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...