Handwriting can reveal a lot about a person’s personality and add visual interest to designs. With the rise of digital communication, handwritten elements stand out and connect with viewers. Using handwriting in designs when appropriate creates warmth and humanity. This article explores tips to seamlessly incorporate handwriting into well-crafted designs.

Selecting Handwriting for Designs

Choosing suitable handwriting is crucial for handwritten designs. Consider the following when selecting handwriting:

Purpose and Audience

Match the handwriting to the design’s purpose and target audience. Formal scripts suit professional documents while casual handwriting works for youthful brands. Ensure legibility as handwriting can be challenging to read.

Handwriting Style

Flowing cursive scripts add personality. All-capital letters make a bold statement. Clean printed letters provide clarity. Decide which style matches the desired tone.


Use handwriting from a designer, founder or relevant employee when possible to add authenticity. If using stock handwriting, choose a style that aligns with the brand image.


Handwriting can convey different moods. Quick loose writing feels energetic. Elegant scripts evoke sophistication. Pick handwriting that enhances the desired feeling.


Stick to one handwriting style within a design for cohesiveness. Avoid mixing multiple styles unless strategically combining formal and casual scripts.

Hand Lettering vs Handwriting

Hand lettering and handwriting both involve writing by hand but differ in key ways:


Hand letterers carefully construct letterforms, often using rulers and guides. Handwriting flows naturally without intense preparation.


Lettering aims for perfect consistency between letters. Handwriting has natural variations between letters.


Lettering prioritizes legibility and clarity. Handwriting can be messier with irregular spacings.

Learning Curve

Lettering requires practice to master shaping consistent letters. Handwriting builds on childhood foundations.

Consider whether polished lettering or organic handwriting better suits the design concept.

Use Cases for Handwriting in Designs

Handwritten elements can enhance designs when used intentionally in these types of content:


Handwritten logos convey approachability and personalization. Casual scripts work for Startups while refined scripts suit established brands.


Handwriting on packaging adds character and feels authentic like someone wrote directly on the product.

Cards and Invitations

Hand addressing cards or envelopes makes them more special. Handwritten notes inside feel personal and heartfelt.


Handwriting can make ads feel less corporate and more down-to-earth. It works for connecting emotionally with consumers.


Handwritten menus and signage feel cozy, intimate and owner-operated. This helps restaurants appear less corporate.


Handwriting on websites adds warmth and approachability when used minimally. But avoid overusing it or making content hard to read.


Authors can provide samples of handwritten pages in fiction books to lend characters authenticity.

Handwriting succeeds when matched intentionally with the tone of the design. Avoid in inappropriate contexts.

Tips for Visually Appealing Handwriting

When incorporating handwriting, follow these tips for enhanced aesthetics:

  • Use thick lines and large letter sizes for clarity.
  • Write largely on lineswide enough to accommodate ascenders and descenders.
  • Be consistent with slant, size, height, and space between letters and words.
  • Follow the natural flow of handwriting rather than rigidly drafting each letter.
  • Use pen nibs or brushes for shaped thin and thick strokes adding dynamism.
  • Incorporate hatching, crosshatching, and shadows for extra dimension.
  • Break sentences between natural phrases to prevent awkward breaks mid-word.
  • Start sentences with lowercase letters for casual vibe and capitals for formality.
  • Write out numerals rather than using Arabic numerals for consistency.

Creating Textures with Handwriting

Handwriting inherently provides visual texture. Take it further by:

  • Varying pressure for thick and thin strokes.
  • Rotating the paper to achieve different stroke weights.
  • Changing writing speed from quick lively strokes to slow refined ones.
  • Adjusting pen angles to create narrow and wide strokes.
  • Letting ink soak and spread into paper for blotchy textures.
  • Scanning crumpled or folded paper with handwriting.

Experiment creatively with handwriting tools and surfaces to achieve beautiful, textured results.

Balancing Handwritten and Non-Handwritten Elements

When combining handwriting with other visual elements:

  • Use handwriting strategically rather than liberally to avoid clutter.
  • Restrict handwriting to headlines or intro paragraphs for clear body text readability.
  • Keep ample white space around handwritten passages and between letters.
  • Allow handwriting to stand out by keeping other design elements minimal.
  • Unify layout with grid systems and clean frames containing handwriting.
  • Use handwriting to customize templates, wireframes or standardized documents.

Handwriting succeeds when it enhances but does not overwhelm designs. Skillfully balance handcrafted and digital elements.

Protecting Handwritten Work

Preserve handwritten design elements from damage by:

  • Reproducing work with quality scanners and printers before finalizing designs.
  • Using pigment ink, which lasts longer than dye-based ink.
  • Spraying with sealant or laminating work.
  • Scanning work and recreating using vectors rather than original scans.
  • Storing scans and backups in multiple locations to prevent data loss.
  • Using acid-free, archival quality paper for maximum longevity.
  • Keeping work covered and out of direct light to avoid fading.

With care, handwritten designs can stand the test of time and remain beautiful for years.

Achieving a Handwritten Look Digitally

To imitate handwriting digitally:

  • Use scanned handwriting images sparingly for legibility.
  • Convert scanned handwriting to vector outlines and edit in Illustrator.
  • Try handwriting brush and vector packs for programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Use tablet and stylus to write then edit digitally.
  • Practice hand lettering using software tools. Mimic natural handwriting by purposefully varying strokes.
  • Use font styles like brush scripts or variable “rough” fonts.

Balance digital efficiency with natural imperfection for authentic, handcrafted vibe.

Handwriting personalized designs when appropriate. Avoid forcing handwriting where it doesn’t belong. With mindful incorporation, handwriting makes designs feel human-centered. Let the writing flow naturally to craft personalized designs. Experiment and find what works for your unique brand voice and audience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Handwriting in Design

How do you incorporate handwriting naturally in design?

Use handwriting intentionally in small doses. Let it flow smoothly rather than over-engineering placement. Match styles to brand voice and only use where appropriate to avoid seeming forced.

What types of designs can benefit from handwriting elements?

Handwriting works well for designs wanting to convey approachability, personalization, nostalgia, or human connection. It suits casual brands more than corporate ones.

Is handwriting still relevant in the digital age?

Handwriting endures as a way to humanize designs and counteract excessive digitization. Written communication is still vital, so handwriting maintains relevance when applied thoughtfully.

What writing tools best lend themselves to design?

For consistency, use fountain pens, brush pens, or markers over pencils and ballpoint pens. Use soft nibs for stylistic variation. Paper texture also impacts writing style.

How do you create balanced layouts when combining handwritten and typed text?

Be judicious with handwriting usage. Pair handwritten headers with clean readable body text. Leave ample whitespace around handwriting. Create hierarchy through strategic placement.


Handwriting in design is powerful when done skillfully. Consider the context and audience to determine if and where handwriting elements can enhance the overall design. Follow principles of contrast, balance, hierarchy, and consistency when incorporating handwriting. With experimentation and practice, handwriting can become a key part of creating engaging, human-centered designs that forge genuine connections. Handwriting allows designs to speak in a range of unique voices.