What Is The Difference Between Calligraphy and Hand Lettering?

Difference Between Calligraphy and Hand Lettering: If you are a beginner and started to learn to letter or calligraphy stuff you ever doubt one’s that what is the difference between these two.

So you are really looking for the answer then you are on the right path.

Today we are here you clear your all doubt about this topic and we can explain all the things in detail in this article So stay with us and read till the end.

Now don’t want to waste too much time let’s get into the main topic.

Calligraphy Vs Hand Lettering

Calligraphy and hand lettering are both visual art forms of writing letters although there are various differences between them.

So let’s understand the differences between Calligraphy and Hand Lettering?

Hand lettering is simply going in a single flow. But Calligraphy is something that can’t be done in a single flow.

So We need to go back and fix mistakes or add things to make it look attractive.

The other major difference is the ‘Process’.

The processes of hand lettering and calligraphy are quite different.

Hand lettering is just raw lettering or drawing without following any particular style.

Calligraphy needs patience and practice.

Calligraphy is made by using a specific type of pen-like a fountain pen, brushes, pointed pen, etc.

Hand lettering doesn’t need any special kind of pen.

What Does Really Mean by Calligraphy?

What Does Mean By Calligraphy?

It is originated from two Greek words KALLOS (beautiful) & GRAPHEIN (writing) literally concludes calligraphy means beautiful handwriting.

This is the art of drawing letters in any style to make them look nice and flawless.

It is believed that calligraphy was first used by Romans.

The person who does calligraphy is called a “Calligrapher”.

A set of skills, techniques & practice is required for calligraphy.

Calligraphers use a range of fonts and styles to produce decorated letters.

The normal sense can be said as beautiful writing made with a special kind of pen in an artistic manner.

Most Popular Types of Calligraphy

In this section, we will explain the three major types of calligraphy.

So These styles are popular worldwide in today’s time.

  • Traditional Calligraphy.
  • Modern Calligraphy.
  • Arabic Calligraphy.

So Let’s get Into the explanation:

Traditional Calligraphy

Traditional Calligraphy is as it sounds an art that is being used since ancient times.

There is lots of history involved in traditional calligraphy.

The most important things type of pen used in traditional calligraphy is basically a pointed pen because saints, writers in old days didn’t have digital brushes or marker pens.

They mostly used fountain pens which are pointed from the tip.

There are also certain rules:

  • Adjustments.
  • Spaces.
  • The style is quite different from Modern calligraphy.

There are many types of traditional calligraphy.

  • Roman Capital.
  • Uncials.
  • Insular minuscule.
  • Blackletter.
  • Italic.
  • Copperplate.

Let’s go through them one by one:

1) Roman Capital –

Roman capital is a mode of writing consisting of Roman capital letters. it was used in ancient Rome.

So, There were 23 alphabets in roman capital letters and all of the 23 letters were capital at the beginning with no lower case, also no word separation.

The name is derived from the same.

2) Uncials –

Uncial lettering is a modification from old Roman cursive.

It was used for the first time by the scholars of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Maurice.

So, Uncials are used especially in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the 4th to 8th century AD.

It is also used in Gothic and Coptic scripts.

3) Insular Minuscule –

Insular minuscule is the artificial hatching of letters with sharp arches in curves.

It was mostly used in the medieval period.

Originating from Ireland, the Insular minuscule comprises a diverse family of scripts used for different functions.

4) Blackletter ( Gothic ) Style –

Blackletter, also known as Gothic style, old English script, the texture is basically used for Gothic language.

So, It was invented around the middle of the 4th century by Bishop Wulfila( 311 – 383 AD ).

It was commonly used for Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish until Hitler officially finished it in 1941.

5) the Italic Script –

Most of us get confused between Italic and Cursive handwriting.

Cursive is when each word is written with the words connected.

We can say Italic script as the semicursive and Italic script is most popular in contemporary calligraphy.

A slanting font style called italics is used when writers wish to highlight or give special meaning to a word or words.

It is also known as Chancery cursive.

6) Copperplate Calligraphy –

Copperplate calligraphy is well known and most appreciated of all time.

It is made by using a pointed pen 55 degrees from flat as it has a steep slope.

Everything in copperplate is a game of strokes, thin upstrokes, and thick downstrokes.

It was the most widespread script between the 17th and 18th Centuries.

We can conclude that it is not an easy job.

Modern Calligraphy


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Modern calligraphy can be simply defined as any calligraphy that is not traditional. it was started at the end of the 19th Century.

Edward Johnston is regarded as being the father of modern calligraphy.

Therefore It is believed to be originated in China.

But different forms were created in various countries around the world including:

  • Japan
  • India
  • Tibet
  • Europe

Modern calligraphy is not hard to learn but it’s hard to master.

So many styles can be classified under modern calligraphy like an umbrella.

Basically; it is different for different people.

It is fun and popular, brighter colors are used and can be done with the use of brush pens or by any digital medium. After all “Digitalization is Modernization”!!

Here is the dedicated article about modern calligraphy How to do Modern Calligraphy – Beginners Guide.

Arabic Calligraphy


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So, Arabic and Islamic calligraphy is the Islamic way of artistic expression.

After the holy book Quran was revealed, Muslims made it their mission to draft it in a beautiful way and that’s when Arabic styles were given importance.

But, Before that, it was not considered art.

From an artistic point of view, Arabic calligraphy has been known and appreciated for its variety and great potential for development.

It is linked with Arabic civilization in various fields like religion, art, architecture, and education.

Arabic calligraphy is known to be used most widely around the world.

It is very beautifully and creatively made.

The most common calligraphy pen used is “Qalam”.

Arabic serves as a major source of inspiration for Arabic typography.

What Is Hand Lettering

Hand Lettering

Hand lettering is just lettering in any style which goes in one flow.

It is a great connection between design and letters as we can see a piece of art made by using Hand Lettering.

Hand lettering as a hobby can be relaxing and satisfying because it contains various benefits like you can monetize it by creating it for clients and displaying it in the exhibition.

Hand Lettering needs focus and in that way, so it can increase your concentration power, power to grasp, and many more.

What Is Typography?


Typography is a technique of arranging letters in such a way that makes the written language clear and appealing, and readable.

Broadly, typography is the way that text is arranged and presented.

It is a must-have skill for designers.

Typography is used in various fields For example:

  • Media
  • Web designing
  • Photography
  • Advertisement

Typography needs thoughtful because it is communication composed in type.

It is so much more than just choosing beautiful fonts.

Good typography can establish a strong visual order and holds the power to build brand glory.

For example, The collection of types involves various steps like:

  • Selecting typefaces
  • Line lengths
  • Line spacing
  • Colors

The practice and study of typography include a broad range, covering all aspects.

Typography is widely being used in the digital era as it provides strong touch in a very simple way which also saves time.

Other Calligraphy Related Terms

Faux Calligraphy –

Faux Calligraphy

This is a common term for forms of letters that are meant to look like calligraphy but made by the hand lettering.

So, It is all about drawing basic letters and going back and filling where the weight of letters is weak to look like real calligraphy.

The only thing you need for this style is paper and pen.

It is the easiest style if you want to learn from very basic.

So, Here is the dedicated tutorial on Faux Calligraphy 

Brush Lettering –

Brush Lettering

So, Brush lettering requires a brush pen and some practice.

In no time you can become good at brush lettering.

The style of writing brush lettering is very similar to calligraphy.

So Brush lettering is generally known as modern calligraphy also because it is very famous in modern times.

It can be characterized by thick lines on the downstrokes and thin lines on the upstrokes.

Chalk Lettering –

Chalk Lettering

So Chalk lettering is the art of Hand Lettering on a chalkboard.

We can create Great Things on chalkboards with the use of good-quality chalks of different colors.

So, It is a very unique kind of art that was popularized through its use in cafes and boutiques.

We all have done it in school when the teacher was not around.

That was fun..no?

Well, you know that Chalk lettering is cheap, accessible, and easy to make.

Just like calligraphy, chalk lettering gets better with practice.

Sign Painting –

Hand Lettering

Sign painting is a kind of craft.

For example, You must have seen writings on the:




Signboards for promotion, reports, launching products or services, hosting events.

So, These are examples of sign paintings.

Sign painting is an art and the artisans who do sign painting are known as “Signwriters”.

Sign painting is also a very widely used lettering style.

Why You Should Know About These Differences?

So If you want to go deep into the world of calligraphy.

You must know different types of calligraphy and the difference between them.

Printing was invented in 1440 and we have history from the very early time when there was no name of the print.

Calligraphy was used by saints to write down the books and keep our culture.

So, The Firstly font was invented in the west.

The second font was invented in India during the Ashoka period and used in the Sanskrit script.

By the time, everything is changing and being digital but we should always be rooted in our culture and faiths.

Final Thought

So This is the origin of society.

It has always shown beauty and power from 600 BC to the 21st century.

So Calligraphy plays an important role in ancient history.

With the help of calligraphers, our history and culture are saved.

It develops self-discipline, patience, and peace in the mind of the calligrapher.

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