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How to Digitize Custom Lettering

When digitizing custom lettering for a client, copy and paste functions can be your best friend. 

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When digitizing custom lettering for a client, copy and paste functions can be your best friend. If you are missing source material for a letter necessary to some added text, you can look for like letters to copy and re-use in place of the missing letters. For example- the letters p and b are often very similar shapes. When rotated 180 degrees, the q is sometimes close to a horizontally mirrored p.

Even when you don’t have letter doppelgangers, copying elements from other letters can help you achieve a more congruous look instead of plugging in letters from other typefaces.

Characteristics like the size of the bowls and openings, the heights and lengths of ascenders and descenders, and the shape and angle of strokes are often repeated throughout a typeface. 

When you don’t have the necessary elements, ask your customer if you can replace all the offending text with a typeface which you have full access to. If that’s not an option, or the original typeface is hand-drawn or otherwise altered from a base font, copying letters and elements from the known set can create a greater sense of consistency in your type.

Have a look at the graphic below. In this example the “Divina” text was the only available set of letters. The letters I, A and N in Brian were directly copied. The letter r is based on the N and the letter B is a modified D from a similar typeface.

As simple and clunky as this typeface is, it was on an heirloom stocking and the customer wanted the letters to match.

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Mike Clark

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