WEEK 1

Finding your signature style isn’t some magic potion or secret sauce, although trust me, I know how much it can feel like that sometimes. But really, it’s just a series of decisions about how you form your letters that becomes second nature over time.

This challenge is designed to show you some different paths those decisions can take, flex your creative muscles, and chisel away all the lettering noise until your own style shines through.

Let’s get those creative juices flowing with a little intro!

Your prompt this week is to letter your name in 8 totally different styles (yup, 8!) and upload a photo to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

This is not only a great way to introduce yourself to your fellow challenge participants (and me ), but also to test the lettering waters and experiment with some styles you might not be totally comfortable with.

Stuck on how to think of so many different styles? Here are some of my favorite sources of inspiration when I’m feeling fried:

  • Pinterest
  • Instagram (I especially love the #letterarchive_ series!)
  • Creative Market

Just remember – these are sources of inspiration, not places to straight up copy. Pay attention to what you like about a certain letterform or overall style, and see how you can make it your own in your design. Your inspiration will probably show through, but it’ll emulate a design, not steal it.

WEEK 2

Figuring out styles you love, and even more specifically, what it is you actually love about them, is a key piece in developing your own style. After all, all hand lettered designs have their own feeling or mood or vibe – that’s the great part about hand lettering! Honing in on that vibe and capturing it in your own letters will help make them uniquely you.

So your prompt this week is to take some time to catalogue styles you love, whether it’s on a dedicated Pinterest board or just a folder of screenshots in your phone, and then pick out three adjectives that describe the overall style (or styles if it’s a mix!).

Then, letter those adjectives in that particular style and share on Instagram using the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

For example, you might be drawn to really delicate, formal script. You’d then letter delicate, formal, and elegant in that same script. Or maybe you’re like me, and like letters that are more playful and bold. You’d letter words like playful, bold, and fun in a style that’s (you guessed it), playful, bold, and fun.

The purpose of this prompt is to get you to start really looking at different lettering styles and picking out what makes them feel a certain way. Once you can hone in on the details that set letters apart, you can add them to your lettering arsenal to use in your own decision making process.

WEEK 3

If you’re anything like me, this week will be a major stretch in your creative muscles. I’m a script girl, through and through, so when someone says “serif,” I tend to cringe a bit on the inside. But before you run for the hills, know that there’s a method to this madness, and you might just come out on the other side lovin’ a good serif now and again.

That’s right, this week is all about serif letters (aka letters with serifs, or little feet at the end).

I’ve mentioned before how creating your own style is all about little decisions you make with each letterform and design, and this week’s prompt is geared to help us keep breaking apart how we look at letters, and ultimately, form those little decisions.

Your prompt this week is to letter your favorite food in a serif style that you think matches that food. Then, upload our final piece to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

Again, Pinterest, Instagram, and Creative Market are some great places to search for inspiration if you’re feeling stuck!

WEEK 4

Figuring out styles you love, and even more specifically, what it is you actually love about them, is a key piece in developing your own style. After all, all hand lettered designs have their own feeling or mood or vibe – that’s the great part about hand lettering! Honing in on that vibe and capturing it in your own letters will help make them uniquely you.

So your prompt this week is to take some time to catalogue styles you love, whether it’s on a dedicated Pinterest board or just a folder of screenshots in your phone, and then pick out three adjectives that describe the overall style (or styles if it’s a mix!).

Then, letter those adjectives in that particular style and share on Instagram using the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

For example, you might be drawn to really delicate, formal script. You’d then letter delicate, formal, and elegant in that same script. Or maybe you’re like me, and like letters that are more playful and bold. You’d letter words like playful, bold, and fun in a style that’s (you guessed it), playful, bold, and fun.

The purpose of this prompt is to get you to start really looking at different lettering styles and picking out what makes them feel a certain way. Once you can hone in on the details that set letters apart, you can add them to your lettering arsenal to use in your own decision making process.

WEEK 5

So far we’ve been staying in fairly familiar territory. This week, we’re going to dive straight out of our comfort zones and try something totally new.

Your prompt this week is to letter the quote, “Whatever you do, do it well,” (by good ole Walt Disney) in a style you’ve never tried before. And then of course, upload your work to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

Now, a style you’ve never tried doesn’t have to be one you hate, or even dislike. But thinking outside your typical you box and flexing your creative muscles can open up new doors for things you never thought to try in your go-to lettering.

Just like when I urge people to use thumbnails before starting a new design, even if they already have a set design in mind, mixing up your styles can sometimes shake something loose. And that something has the potential to be really freaking amazing.

WEEK 6

The magic of the internet (and scheduling emails) means that this baby is hitting your inbox while I’m visiting the BF over in Belfast (and probably getting on a plane to head home, boooooo)!

While I’m currently a million miles away from my hometown, I can still rock some Connecticut pride with this week’s prompt…

This week’s prompt is to letter your hometown in a script that represents it. And then of course, upload your work to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

Script is by far my favorite type of lettering to work with, whether it’s monoline, bold and brushy, or classic calligraphy. I have all the heart eyes for script.

But just like with any type of letter, each style of script has its own vibe or mood that it conveys. And remember how developing our own lettering style is all about little decisions you make along the way? This is another exercise to stretch that decision making muscle in your brain.

So pick up those pencils and get deciding!

WEEK 7

This week you get a teeny bit of a break, because you won’t actually be lettering a design from scratch. Instead, we’re going to focus on how you can use embellishments, color, and other extras to set your style apart.

What the heck am I even talking about? Some examples of what I mean:

  • Color(s)
  • Texture
  • In-line embellishments (dots, stripes, etc.)
  • Shadows
  • Florals + illustrations
  • Banners
  • Flourishes
  • Filigree

You’ll probably never see black in my lettering designs for Glitter & Bold, just like you’ll probably never see banners or a lot of texture. A shadow or flourish pops up now and again, but for the most part, my letters all adhere to one particular look.

Deciding what, if any, of these things you want to add to your letters is yet another one of the decisions that goes into developing your overall style.

Your prompt this week is to take a piece you’ve done before and add extras, whether that’s as simple as changing the colors to a new palette or adding something like flourishes or illustrations. And then of course, upload your work to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

Check out my before and after example below for some inspo:

I didn’t really make any changes to my letters themselves (besides changing the end to a flat ending rather than a rounded ending). Rather, I focused on adding a floral design in the background. As I said, adding extras (or not) is something important to consider when creating your own style, so feel free to really play around with this prompt and see what speaks to you.

WEEK 8

I hope that by now you’ve bought into the “tiny decisions over and over again make up your style” idea, because this week we’re working on another decision-making practice with some sans serifs.

Sans serif letters, or letters that don’t have serifs (those little feet we worked with waaay back in Week 3), are my second favorite type of letters next to script. And just like serif and script, there are lots of different ways you can change your sans serif letters to evoke a certain vibe or mood.

Your prompt this week is to letter your favorite band in a sans serif style that matches that band. And as always, upload your work to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

For my example, I lettered the name of my of my favorite bands – Milky Chance. If you’ve heard them, you know they have an alternative rock / folk vibe that feels like you stepped right into a hipster music festival, so my brushy and loose sans serif letters reflect that.

Again, this is about stretching your creative muscles to get in the practice of actively making decisions that alter the look of your letters so that soon you can start doing it passively.

WEEK 9

This week we’re stepping away from styles of letters and focusing on a different thing that goes into making your letters uniquely you – tools!

Think back to some of your favorite lettering artists. I bet you can imagine, just from looking at their work, specific or types of tools they gravitate towards. Take a look at some of my favorites below:

Not only do these artists have very different styles, but the tools they use, such as Paola’s watercolors, are an integral part of that style. It would feel weird to see these people do work in something other than their go-to tools they show off all the time.

Your prompt this week is to letter the same phrase (any phrase!) with at least 3 different tools. Whether you experiment with Procreate brushes like I did (I used ones from this pack) or go scrounging for a leftover piece of chalk, really try to mix it up. And then of course, upload your work to Instagram with the hashtag #GABSignatureStyle.

You might already have a go-to fave, but I want you to really play around and experiment this week. This is not only a great way to stretch your creative muscles, but a good way to either reinforce the tools you already love or find new ones you might’ve overlooked.