Hand lettering: A designer's retreat

As design professionals, the majority of us live having accepted the fact that we have little control over the projects we're involved in. It's somewhat tragic that a people so passionate, with an innate appreciation for beauty, and talent for creation, are forced to repress themselves in such a manner. Some gain solace in taking pride over the small things--a perfectly organized drawing set, the pristine linework in a detail drawing. Others take ownership over the forgotten corners of a project, tiny pockets the design lead is most likely to overlook--shelves in a janitor's closet, the upper cabinets at a kitchenette. 

Well, I have stumbled upon something restorative for all those tenured, repressed designers out there. It's called hand-lettering. Sound too simple? It is.

 Faber-castell ink pen, eraser pen, Ames lettering guide, bond and drafting tape. Hand lettering can be a surprisingly therapeutic exercise for architects, landscape architects, and interior designers. 

Faber-castell ink pen, eraser pen, Ames lettering guide, bond and drafting tape. Hand lettering can be a surprisingly therapeutic exercise for architects, landscape architects, and interior designers. 

Take out your drafting tape, square a sheet of bond on your drafting desk, grab a light but steady hold of a 4H lead, and let yourself go. The alphabet and numbers at 1/8", 3/16", 1/4" spacings. How long ago was it since you drafted something with your own hands? Draw each guide, each line, with perfect precision. It is so unexpected, so thrilling, as if a forgotten part of you is waking up.

 Lead guides prior to inking.

Lead guides prior to inking.

You may not believe it just by reading this--it's just lettering, right? But there is something powerfully simple about this exercise that can restore an illustrator's spirit. They need to incorporate en exercise such as this into the agenda for design professional's conventions, if you ask me. As for yourself, you may just have to give it a try to find out.