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10 easy ways to take your lettering to the next level

Lettering artist and asset creator Snooze One shares his top tips for adding the finishing touches to your lettering to make it stand out from the crowd.

I’m always searching for new ways to spice up my work and elevate it to the next level. Here are my top tips for adding visual flair to your lettering to make it really stand out.

1. Add highlights and shadows

To kick things off, I’m starting with highlights and shadows. They can add a nice finishing touch to your letters and make them pop. It might sound like a very basic idea, but you can do quite a lot of different things with it: you can play with basics drop shadows, work on a detailed shading effect or try a more complex bevel effect. You also can add reflections and go for a chrome-like look.

2. Play around with perspective

Playing around with perspective is a great way to add some depth to your artwork. It could be a simple detail you add in at the end to your work, like an orthographic perspective, or something more complex you need to think of before jumping into the process, like arranging your letters at different angles.

3. Add outlines

Another thing I like to add are outlines. This can be as simple as an outline around your letter, or you could place it slightly offset. You could also add multiple outlines on top of your lettering. One detail I personally love is rough lines around the lettering, which give your work more dynamism and character!

4. Experiment with colour

Using colours in your work will make your work stand out more, and it can help to convey your message even better. Think about the atmosphere you want to create and what colours can support this atmosphere. Colour each letter differently, give only parts of your letters different colours, add a gradient, let the colours overlay, add colourful backgrounds or details to your work. You can do a lot with it!

5. Incorporate illustrations

Adding illustrations to your lettering can be really eye-catching. They can support your message and create a playful look. For my style, I don’t mix lettering and illustration that often, but it is a very powerful combination, and it adds a new layer of communication besides the letters to your work.

6. Add extra elements

I love to add extra elements to my work, and I get lost in them very quickly. Adding circles and other simple shapes, or even some sort of line that twists itself through your letters is a great way to fill up some empty space, and to balance out your composition. They can also give your piece that final touch you might be looking for!

7. Create effects

If you feel your lettering is missing something, adding effects can spice things up! Try adding a flame effect to your letters, some slime or paint drips on top of the lettering or a pixelated look to the edges—experiment and have some fun.

8. Make them dynamic

Bring your lettering to motion. Make it look like your letters are dissolving or fading away. Slant your letters to make them look more dynamic or even add an exploding effect!

9. Add destructive effects

You can also distort and deconstruct your letters! Changing the form of your letters in a destructive way can be a fun process. Make it look like they are falling apart, twist the shape of the letters, or add a glitch-like effect to them!

10. Fill your letters

Build your letters up using different shapes or illustrations, like flowers or simple lines! You can also add things inside the letters, like additional text or patterns.

And that’s it! Those were my top tips to spice up your work—from highlights and shadows to more elaborate effects you can apply to your letters. It is fun to play around with these different ideas and go a little crazy with them—the fun really begins when you start to combine them!

About the artist

Snooze One is a lettering artist from Berlin, Germany, who has a great passion for experimenting with letters. In 2015, he started practising calligraphy and absolutely loved it.

Since then, he has created many traditional lettering pieces, but he also appreciates the flexibility and new possibilities of working digitally.

As well as working freelance creating hand-drawn lettering, he also makes resources for designers to help them achieve authentic hand-written lettering in their work—including brush packs that are compatible with Affinity Designer.

You can find more lettering work by Snooze One on his website and Instagram.

Visit his shop to check out his Outline Brush Pack for Affinity Designer.

Spotlight editor

As editor of Affinity Spotlight Melanie oversees the stories, interviews and tutorials published on the site. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, reading crime thrillers, Pilates and dabbling in a spot of oil painting. Get in touch with Melanie if you would like to contribute or be featured on Affinity Spotlight.

Credits & Footnotes

All images copyright © of Snooze One and used with permission.