The 10 Commandments of Lettering by Martina Flor | Martina Flor | Skillshare

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The 10 Commandments of Lettering by Martina Flor

teacher avatar Martina Flor, Lettering Artist, Author & Educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      I. You Shall Have A Message To Convey


    • 3.

      II. You Shall Prioritize Readability


    • 4.

      III. You Shall Not Letter Statements You Don't Agree With


    • 5.

      IV. You Shall Not Use The Term "Lettering" In Reference To Calligraphy


    • 6.

      V. You Shall Acknowledge the Role Of Calligraphy In The Shape Of Your Letters


    • 7.

      VI. You Shall Give Consistency To Your Letter Shapes


    • 8.

      VII. You Shall Consider Negative Space


    • 9.

      VIII. You Shall Not Fear Ornaments And Flourishes


    • 10.

      IX. You Shall Care For Detail


    • 11.

      X. You Shall Create Something Unique


    • 12.

      Take The Ultimate Lettering Quiz


    • 13.

      What's next?


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About This Class

Welcome! In this training, you will discover the holy grail of lettering,  take a vow of loyalty to beautiful letterforms and set yourself up for success. I’ll walk you through each one of the 10 Commandments of Lettering, a sort of guide to the principles that every single lettering artist should be committing to. Are you ready to take a vow of loyalty to lettering? Let's dive in!

Find out how much you really know about letters.

Meet Your Teacher

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Martina Flor

Lettering Artist, Author & Educator


Martina Flor combines her talents as both a designer and an illustrator in the drawing of letters. Based in Berlin, she runs one of the world's leading studios in lettering and custom typography, working for clients all over the globe such as The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, HarperCollins, Monotype, Etsy, Adobe, Mercedes Benz, Lufthansa, and Cosmopolitan, among many others.

Martina Flor earned her Master's in Type Design from the esteemed Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands. Since then she has dedicated a large part of her time to teaching lettering and type design. She has published two books in several languages, The Golden Secrets of Lettering and The Big Leap, and launch... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Welcome, My name is Martina Flor and malaria in artist and educator and I'm extremely excited to have you in illustrating. Before we get started, I want to tell you a little bit about me. I've been learning, doing, and teaching lettering for the bath 12 years. You may also know me as the author of the book The Golden Secrets of Lettering, which was printed in six languages and sold over 50 thousand copies worldwide. With this book, I got to positively influence the life and work of many lettering artists and creatives. You may be one of them so much so that they call it did bible of lettering. This makes me extremely proud, but also entitled enough to create the Ten Commandments of lettering. And so this is what this training is about. Ten principles that will guide your way at a lettering artists to create great lettering. I'm sure that you are here because you're Offered Rate great. Throughout the next few lessons, I will break down the commandments and open your eyes to the world of drawing letters. After this training, you will know exactly what to do to take your lettering to the next level. So you already are you because I am live birth. 2. I. You Shall Have A Message To Convey: Number 1, you should have a message to convey. Literally use frame merrily a communication tool. What makes lettering such a fascinating discipline is how content. So the texts you're drawing and it's achieved, the actual form of these words are counterparts for the same message. So it is not about illustrating a text in any random way, but it's about being intentional with what you want to say and in which way you want to say it. So for instance, I could say love in a very bubbly way, like I love you so much. Or I could say love in a more delegate way. I love you. Can you see that the shape of earth can even sometimes contradict the actual texts, or I can say a really bad word in an elegant way like that. If the power of lettering to communicate much more than the literal meaning of the word. So remember, you have a story to tell beyond the actual texts that you're drawing. 3. II. You Shall Prioritize Readability: Number 2, you shall prioritize readability. We have learned that in lettering the message is important. So it's equally important that we are able to read that message. If there's something that lettering apart from other artistic disciplines using letters like street art, is that the message is the actual heart of the piece. We start with the letters and because of them, and we build around them, not the other way around. And so effect Illustration decorated elements and fluorescence. You know, I love all of it, but they should always be put in service afterwards. And the story you're trying to convey and never get in the way of readability. So when it comes to adding, decoration and effect, I have a personal rule which is bring them in, but don't let them mess around. 4. III. You Shall Not Letter Statements You Don't Agree With: Number three, you shall not literal statements. You don't agree with. You literally statement, you're putting your craft and skills in service of promoting that message and giving it a voice. Especially if you're working as a professional letter in art, if you will often be illustrating texts and words that are given to you. And so before committing to it, make sure you double check whether it might have political and religious connotations that may not align with your values and beliefs, with your art, better support messages you believe in and agree with. I have a personal story around this. I was once commission to create a series of lettering pieces for a coloring book for teenagers. After the contract was signed, I was getting ready to work and he started going through the text I had to illustrate. And among them, while there were some statements that I didn't personally agree with, they were not aggressive or offensive bad. I thought that they picture a vision of what a girls should be. That to me was old and outdated. This experienced Dogme that as a lettering artist, you should always read the text before committing to the assignment and signing a contract. Your art is just too valuable to contribute to causes uterine and laneway. 5. IV. You Shall Not Use The Term "Lettering" In Reference To Calligraphy: Number 4, use or not use the term lettering in reference to calligraphy with the right of lettering as an artistic the fifth limb, there has been some confusion around what lettering AFM, what's not, which is totally normal. Let's throw some light on it. Accurate definition, Larry is about drawing word. Why? Calligraphy is about raiding, works great. And I know what you will see that there's a lot of calligraphy out there under the category of lettering, especially when it comes to brush calligraphy. But this is still calligraphy. Most likely if it's done with a calligraphic tool, you're looking at calligraphy if it's drawn, so for instance, done with the pencil, then you're most likely looking at lettering. They're both beautiful disciplines and they influence each other greatly. Well, to be honest, lettering owes a lot to calligraphy and this is why we have an entire commandment research for it. 6. V. You Shall Acknowledge the Role Of Calligraphy In The Shape Of Your Letters: Number five, you shall acknowledge the role of calligraphy in the shape of your letters. Calligraphy is the mother of all letter shapes. In the past, it was very important to reproduction tool. In medieval times, books were written by hand and therefore various cars and expensive. Luckily, things have evolved and we live in a world where books are a commodities and accessible to all of us. So ileal area. However, the impact of calligraphy on letter forms is still apparent in the structure and shape of our letters today. You can see it in lettering pieces that become inspiration from path, historical eras like this one inspired by medieval books. A more modern lettering pieces, you will see a strong imprint of a calligraphic tool. Now, I don't think that you need to be an expert calligrapher to rocket a lettering. But that in calligraphy and understanding how tools work will help you understand the shape of our alphabet and find solutions to your own design. As I always say, a smart literary and RDs, or we pass a set of calligraphic tools at hand. 7. VI. You Shall Give Consistency To Your Letter Shapes: Number 6, you say give consistency to your letter shapes. Consistency is everything. Remember that the first one is consistency. Can reach dictionary defines consistency at the quality of always behaving or performing a similar way, or of always happening in a similar way in literal signed distance plays into creating letter forms which share features. This means that in order to make a set of letters or words look like they belong together or they belong to the same family, they need to have some common aspect. The contrast, for instance, which is the difference between the thickest and thinnest part of your letters should be consistent. The spacing that is the space between military should be consistent as well. And that applies to all aspects of your letter forms. The weight, the x-height, this time, the calligraphic origin. The reason finding the patterns that make your letters belong together is paramount in lettering design. 8. VII. You Shall Consider Negative Space: Number 7, you said it consider negative space. We have been talking quite a lot about letter forms, but they are not the only important aspect of letter making. Like with a yin-yang, you can identify substance thanks to the lack of substance and in lettering letter forms exchanged with and because of the white space around them, so to speak, around the letter is also something you to take into account when drawing letter forms. The space inside the letter, influenza to space outside the letter and vice versa. A word that is a space to tide looks overall heavier than a word that is based to loosely, therefore is the space has an impact on the perception of your letters and should be taken into consideration at all times. Even when designing black and white, that you version of colors can cause the letters to look very different. Look at this letter e, Bs on black background and the same in black on white background. Letterforms on the white background look thinner and overall less consistent because of how the negative space is perceived. 9. VIII. You Shall Not Fear Ornaments And Flourishes: Number eight, You shall not fear ornaments and flourishes. Or you know me, I go crazy when it comes to the grade of elements and fluoresces. And I loved them for a couple of reasons. One of them, because they can really compliment your lettering and even help you solve balance and competition issues. So for instance, in a lettering piece, we're strong capital letter that is causing this balance. Flourishing can help you balance that out. You could even sustain your lettering piece and create a frame around it that reinforces the meaning. The other thing that I love about the correlative elements and flourishing is that they can create a sense of wonder than makes a mark on the reader. When use wisely decorated elements can be a great addition to your piece. Don't be afraid of them. Instead, make them your friend. 10. IX. You Shall Care For Detail: Number nine, you said care for details. Details are not just detail. They just make the whole different. Always go that extra mile for that detail that other non-trained eye might not know this. So often that curb move that anchor 0.1 millimeter to the left, make the optical adjustment in the cross stroke of that letter, if you can see it and you know how to improve it, go for it. That often make the difference between good and amazing. 11. X. You Shall Create Something Unique: Number ten, you said something and they know what you're thinking here or yeah, As if it's that easy to create something unique. And on top of that, there's so many other artists out there doing great work that he feels almost unattainable to be able to create work that stands out. I get it, but I want to tell you that it's possible for you to create work that is unique and it stands out in a crowd. For this, you will need to acquire tools that allow you to understand what you're doing so that you don't need to check on someone else's work or scroll through your social media feed to find solutions for your own work because this is when your work starts looking like someone else's work and you certainly don't want that. I know because I was there too. And it wasn't until I quit this pattern that I started taking off with my work. Instead of investing my energy there, I dedicated myself to learning the foundations of letter design and acquiring efficient techniques and seeking guidance from mentors and feedback from creative communities. I believe that this is what allow me to focus on my own game and developed skills to finally get to the point where I was creating work that no one else was creating work that I was really proud of. I know how much of a game changer this can be, and this is why every year I take a limited number of students into my lettering seminar program. This eight week seminar is the closest thing to a full-blown university education on hand lettering. 12. Take The Ultimate Lettering Quiz: The ultimate letter in Greece. Find out just how much you really know about letters by taking the quiz for free on Martina slash quiz. Enjoy. 13. What's next?: Now that you know what the Ten Commandments of lettering are all about, It's time to take a vow of loyalty to them. Below, you will find wallpapers and printables to always keep his commandments near you as well as stories for you to share your vowels with the world. You are now one of us. And with great power comes, great responsibility. Is it likely come with quite good, right? How do you think I was? Yeah.