• Serena Kramer

Is that Calligraphy or Hand-Lettering?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

Hello, Dah’lings!

Life has been beautifully busy! It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but that’s because a lot of changes are happening! Let’s fill you in on what’s going on behind the scenes…

First, I started a new full-time job teaching online in the Graphic Design program for the Los Angeles Film School in July of 2018. It has been a busy blast developing curriculum, teaching and mentoring students how to build brand personalities, build strategic advertising campaigns as well as corporate identities for clients. Prior to that, I taught 9 years online at Full Sail University, which was a fun ride, but I’m thankful for the new adventures at LAFS, too.

I’ve also been hired to provide calligraphy for clients like Jimmy Choo, Microsoft, and Kessler Hotels to name a few. It’s been a charming season of weddings, too, all of which have been full of pink gold, metallic inks, and gorgeous shimmering envelopes!

Meanwhile, I’ve secretly been doing a lot of research over the last three years. I’ve been actively listening to clients and calligraphers alike. I’ve been experimenting with communications practices through various forms of social media, studying the effectiveness of each, and studying the calligraphy community and its audience. Based on what I've learned, I will be making some changes that will impact my services moving forward.

Progressing forward, I will only be focusing on dip-pen calligraphy. This is also what sparks the most joy for me. (Thank you, Marie Kondo!) Traditional ‘hands’ such as Copperplate or Spencerian are elegant scripts that I adore, rich in history and in practice. They require understanding the relationship between nibs, papers, and inks, and how they interact with one another, and calligraphy requires a lot of discipline. The authenticity and experience of a dip-pen on paper is what inspired me to learn calligraphy in the beginning, too.

That means I will no longer take on clients asking for hand-lettering. I often find that most people assume hand-lettering and calligraphy are the same thing, but they're not. In fact, there’s apparently a lot of people confused by this distinction, so I’ve included my favorite explanation about that from Lettering Daily. Another issue that always gets confused is fonts vs. hand-lettering vs. calligraphy. So often, I see stationers posting pictures of handwritten calligraphy or hand-lettering that they grabbed from Pinterest, asking colleagues to identify the "font." They get very frustrated when they learn it was all handwritten. As an aside, it should also be noted that a calligraphy 'hand' is not a font. If you use the terms interchangeably, it's okay; no one is going to throw a brick at you, but I assume you'd like to know the difference. (Also, here's a quick run-down of the difference between a font and a typeface.) I know — there's so much detail! Each discipline— calligraphy, hand-lettering, typesetting, layout and design— require their own guidelines, principles, and production techniques.

I’ll continue to use the iPad Pro and Procreate for calligraphic elements, and I encourage anyone who is learning the art to do the same! You’ll find it to be an amazing tool for calligraphy, hand-lettering, and art in general. You apply the same skills you would on paper onto your canvas in Procreate. The brushes and pens have evolved to be super responsive, and they can provide you with endless joy (until your battery is dead, of course). Remember… if you decide to use the iPad for calligraphy practice, make sure you maintain consistency with your posture and pad-to-pen positioning as you would if you were practicing calligraphy on paper.

With all of that said, I look forward to sharing my calligraphy journey with you! Thank you all for your patience, support, and friendship! For those of you interested in pursuing hand-lettering, you should follow @lettering_daily on Instagram. There, you will find a plethora of amazing work by talented people all over the world to inspire you!


Pointed Pen Calligraphy using the vintage Blanzy 2552 nib, Dr. Ph. Martin's iridescent white ink on black envelopes.

Warmly,





#dippencalligraphy #pointedpencalligraphy #handlettering #letteringdaily #vintagenibs #handwriting

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Be kind. Don't steal. © Calligraphy by Serena — Orlando, Florida — serena@calligraphybyserena.com |  321-297-4802

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