4 Ways Hand Lettering Can Support Your Nonprofit Voice

  • by Christine Batta
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You can never underestimate the value of working with a designer to develop meaningful and effective typography for your nonprofit's brand. And I mean never. You just can't. As we've mentioned in our recent blog post on tools for finding a unique visual voice with type, typography is a fundamental pillar of building visual communication that reaches and activates the right audiences. One enduring solution that designers turn to when crafting a visual message is the purposeful visual storytelling of hand-drawn lettering. Here are some examples of the specific ways hand lettering enhances a message.

1. Distinct Personality

The unique characters which can be developed by hand help serve nonprofits by establishing individual personalities and strengths. Hand-lettering can be useful in blending styles for complex, 'in-between' voices, like hand-lettered scripts which meld the formal legitimacy of well-crafted tradition with the friendliness of familiarity. The flexibility for arranging hand-designed letters also invites distinct layout qualities which make a nonprofit brand or message stand out from the pack.

2. Authenticity and Tangibility

Hand lettering can help your design voice reach out as being honest, accessible and kind. The tangibility of hand-drawn letters pulls the viewer in because everyone can relate to handwriting. Hand lettering that appears spontaneous and natural creates a vibrant flow of energy from the nonprofit to the audience. Informal handwriting has such specific personalities that you can tailor it to the unique qualities of your organization, such as being energetic, quirky and slightly formal like the NeighborGood script title.

3. Local Character

Nonprofits work in places with rich visual histories of their own. Some communities have buildings with hand-lettered signage which are a point of local pride and identity. In some instances, local heritages of hand-lettering can be delicately wielded for your messages. There is an opportunity to generate enthusiasm by either speaking to an audience in a voice familiar to them or by genuinely representing a population to outsiders.

4. Engaging Contrast

Even in small doses, hand lettering can be a strong addition to your organization's identity. At a basic formal level, the contrast between organic hand lettering and more uniform digital typefaces is natural and pleasant, catching the attention your design deserves without being too aggressive. Mixing typefaces in order to achieve a more quirky, grassroots tone can create a fantastic, fresh energy.