How to build a hand lettered logo in Adobe Illustrator

Apr 8, 2016 | Branding, Freelance, Process, Typography

How to build a hand lettered logo in Adobe Illustrator

I recently finished up a hand lettering logo project for a client and wanted to show you my complete vectorizing process to convert a hand drawn logo into a digital, scalable, vector graphic in Adobe Illustrator. This video is just under 30 mins, so get your popcorn ready…

The purpose of a logo is to communicate clearly and quickly to the viewer what your company does, what your values are, and what the identity of your brand is. This can be achieved through icons, logotypes, combination marks, or hand lettering. Hand lettering might not be the best option for your logo, but the reason it is an effective solution for some companies and brands is because of its innate sense of communication. The letters become shapes and elements of a larger composition rather than sections of a word. If graphic design is visual communication, then lettering is building a shape, style, and a composition out of the literal communication of the word you are building. This is an effective solution for brands like the one I built here, which incorporates multiple elements.

This logo was an actual client project. They already had an existing brand with quite a complex logo – I had many elements that I had to include, which made it a bit of a challenge. But my client and I were both pleased with the outcome. A logo should innately be as simple as it can be in order to communicate what it needs to. This particular logo was going to live on signage and needed to be modular for different applications in the digital space.
We were struggling to launch our gift store “The Cove” to the next level and a new logo was imminent. We overwhelmed Tyler with all the type we needed to included in the logo and he produced a simple and stylish embodiment of what “The Cove” represents. The logo is modular and can be used in so many different ways. Anytime we need another creative mind to drive our business we will be calling Tyler back!


Jacob Zablowski Marketing Manager, Jabos Ace

The purpose of this video is to give a glimpse at my process in Illustrator, and to showcase how many different tiny design decisions are made during the vectorizing process. From tweaking the weight of each stroke to adjusting the spacial relationship of each element, font selection, and where the terminal of each letterform should sit, etc. Let me know in the comments below if this was helpful or if you enjoyed this video!
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Here’s a helpful guide if you want to jump around:
0:02 – Import scan of logo sketch
0:08 – Vectorize “Cove”
4:43 – Vectorize “Gifts”
14:51 – Explore font options for “Home . Fashion . More”
15:16 – Explore font options for “The”
15:39 – Adjust spacing
19:06 – Scan in hand lettered “The”
19:29 – Vectorize hand lettered “The”
24:12 – Adjust serifs on “Gifts”
25:47 – Adjust spacing
26:16 – Adjust kerning of “Gifts”
27:10 – Final tweaks
28:15 – Check negative spaces
28:54 – Import to Photoshop and add a texture mask
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HELPFUL TIP: In Illustrator, I like to work on a very large artboard (I think this was 30″x30″) when working on type so that I can control the anchor points and bezier curves with more accuracy while using the nudge tool (aka arrows on my keyboard). The larger the artboard, the smaller the nudge.

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