The Lettering and Calligraphy Community.
You’ve heard of it before. You know a place exists where inspiration runs wild and supportive words flows freely. The online Lettering and Calligraphy Community is my favorite place to hang out on the internet. Active participation in the community has helped me make connections, better my lettering, and learn things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. If you’re a hand letterer or calligrapher, you belong in the Lettering Community. This post will show you the benefits of being part of the community and provide actionable tips to help you get involved.
Benefits of Getting Involved
There are tons of reasons to get involved in the lettering community. Surrounding yourself with a community of people who appreciate and understand lettering can be the key to thriving as a lettering artist. Here’s a few benefits to getting involved in the online community:
Offer Feedback and Support
The only way to improve is to know what you need to practice. The lettering community is a great resource for critiquing your work, offering suggestions for improvement, and cheering you on when you feel stuck. You’ll learn that you’re not alone in your lettering struggles (writing the letter “s”, anyone?), which is a great resource when you’re feeling inadequate.
Grow Your Following
People can’t follow you if they don’t know you exist. The best way to get your name out there is by hanging out where other letterers hang out. The first time I had a photo reposted by a lettering challenge account on Instagram I gained 100 followers overnight. All it took was participating in their daily challenge and tagging them in my post. For those interested, this is the post I’m referring to. It’s also one of my most popular pins on Pinterest too, and it still drives a ton of traffic to my website!
Decided to join in today on #handletteredABCs even though it’s half way over. I just couldn’t resist when it came to one of my favorite letters. It’s just something about those “m” curves, mmm. 😆😁 Plus, I’m always up for a reason to practice with my brush pens! ☺️ . #CrystalLetters #KeepAthensCreative #lettering #handlettering #handlettered #lettering #art #calligraphy #vscocam #typography #brushtype #thedailytype #goodtype #handletteredtype #thatsdarling #cur8 @typespire
Learn New Techniques
Others who have been-there-overcame-that are quick to offer advice for improvement. The lettering community is all about Community Over Competition, meaning there’s strong encouragement to share what you know to help others learn.
Inspire New Ideas
Have you ever thought about writing calligraphy on the outside of a banana? No, then have you ever wondered how to use your iPad for hand lettering and calligraphy? Being involved in the lettering community can open your eyes to ideas and techniques you never even knew existed, allowing you to stretch your own creative limits and create amazing work of your own.
Ways to Get Involved
Follow and participate in Lettering Challenges
Instagram lettering challenges are one of the easiest ways to participate in the lettering community. Each challenge is a little different, but they all typically follow the same format:
- A lettering account with a large following posts a challenge prompt
- Participants respond to the prompt by creating their own lettering and snapping a photo, including provided challenge hashtags in the description
- Lettering account chooses it’s favorite submissions and re-posts the photo, crediting the account who created
Even if your submission doesn’t get reposted by the main account, participating in lettering challenges is a great way to practice your work and try out new techniques.
If you’re interested in getting involved with a lettering challenge but don’t know where to start, check out @letteringchallenges for a curated feed full of ongoing themed challenges to participate in. A few of my favorite challenge accounts to follow along with are @letteringleague, @handletteredabcs, @calligrabasics, and @surelysimplechallenge
Comment on Other’s Work
Everyone loves compliments. While liking someone’s photo is nice, leaving a heartfelt comment on a post of their work is a much better way to make friends, and even sometimes an effective way to gain new followers.
Think about it, do you click on the profile of each and every person who double taps your lettering photos? Probably not, but you are much more likely to investigate an account that leaves a genuine comment on your work, even if it’s just to see what they’re all about.
Just be sure your comment isn’t overly generic. The best comments are not only flattering, they’re also valuable. Try suggesting a technique you’ve found effective, personally relating to whatever the post description is talking about, or offering up info on a resource the author may not be aware of.
Where do you find lettering to comment on?
Aside from already-famous lettering artists, the best way to find new lettering accounts is by searching Instagram hashtags. There’s a ton of hashtags you can utilize in your search, but here are a few of the best tags I’ve found to find endless posts of quality lettering.
Make sure to be precise in your hashtags if you’re looking for a specific kind of lettering! For example, whenever I want to look at just lettering created with an iPad Pro, I search #iPadLettering instead of just plain ol’ #lettering.
The Best of the Best
One of the only true Lettering Communities I’ve found so far is The Lettering League. It’s both an Instagram account and Facebook group, which is the only cross-platform lettering community I’m aware of. The League is active on both, but each platform offers different opportunities for ways to engage with the community.
The Instagram hosts weekly-rotating challenges that range from creating based around a theme such as lettering your “dream job” from childhood to trying out new tools or styles in your lettering. It also sometimes features takeovers from experienced lettering artists that share tips and techniques for improving your lettering work.
While the Instagram account is a resource all on its own, the Facebook group is the true highlight of the Lettering League. Inside you’ll find artists sharing their most recent work, questions on how to create a specific look, tips and tricks from talented letterers, and much, much more. In all, it’s the closest thing you’ll find to an actual “lettering community” in the traditional sense of ongoing conversations and valuable information.
Disclaimer: I’m an admin for the Facebook group and I help manage the Instagram account. But even if I wasn’t personally involved, I would still recommend the League as a great resource to start growing your Lettering Community.
Find Your Fit
Now that you’re armed with why and how you should get involved in the online lettering community, what are you waiting for? Search your favorite hashtag from the list above and start connecting!
The tips in this article are what have worked for me and how I became involved in the Lettering Community. If there’s something I missed, make sure you share your unique lettering story in the comments below!