Fonts vs. Handlettering & Questions to Ask Your Designer

Tiffany Willett

Ask any designer you know and they will tell you : If they specialize in hand lettering and calligraphy, calling their designs "fonts" is like saying to a photographer, "Your camera takes good pictures." Stings, doesn't it? 

Whenever you hire a designer, you should know what you are getting and what their specialty in. You hired them for that specific reason, right? So, whenever working with them, respect their art and talent. I know for me, it takes a while to get a concept sketched and lettered on paper (yep, paper. It really isn't a lost art, I promise). Once the concept is complete, then comes the tedious task of importing it into the computer. That plus digital cleanup, layout, etc. takes time. It takes about 5 seconds to type out the clients business name in a font. HUGE huge difference.

Some fonts out there are AWESOME. For real. If you are dead set on using a font for your logo design, please be sure to specify that when working with your designer....and PLEASE, make sure it is NOT a free font. Most free fonts are 1: not allowed to be used for commercial use and 2: who really wants to have the same font as 1000 others out there in the same profession (scriptina, anyone?)?

Below, I have listed some important questions to ask your designer either BEFORE you hire them or during your design session with them. Hopefully, they will not only help you, but your designer and help the process go more smoothly!


Q: What font are you using for my name? 

A: If your designer specializes or mentions lettering your name, please don't ask what font we are using (see beginning of blog post as to why NOT to ask this question). An alternative would be "Do you happen to know of a font that is similar to your lettering so that I can further coordinate my web/blog with my logo design?" 

*(also, please, please don't ever ask a designer to use Scriptina font. I refuse to even download it onto my computer.)


Q: What do you need when you ask for inspiration? 

A: When a designer asks for inspiration for your brand, it is NOT meaning logo designs you have found online and love or want to 'duplicate' (which is a big no-no...see next question). Your designer wants to see your SOUL. What makes you tick. What speaks to you. Whether it be interior design ideas, glitter and gold things that make you smile, or just colors that make your heart sing. We want to see it all. That gives us a better look inside of YOU, our client. 


Q: You've found a logo design you absolutely ADORE. Like, so much so you love it more than Girl Scout Cookies (ok...that's impossible, but you get the gist) You ask your designer to duplicate it. "I want it JUST like this but with MY name."

A: Don't ever do this. For real. It would be like someone coming to you and stating: "I want this picture...JUST like this. Same colors, same location. But with my family. Can't you just photoshop them out and put us in it?" HELLO stealing. Asking a custom designer to duplicate ANOTHER designers work is ILLEGAL.  

Q: What colors are you using in my logo design? 

A: Seriously. I get asked this every single day.  If you are familiar with Photoshop, you can totally use the eye dropper tool to snag the hex values. I normally do not include them in the final files I send, mainly because I forget. You can ALWAYS ask me to include them. It really is simple tho to snag the color info in PS :)


Do you have a question that you think should be included on this list? E-mail it to me and I will answer it as well as add it here!



  • These are great questions to ask your designer. I love your work by the way! :)


  • Great list! You would think you wouldn’t have to tell people not to steal right? One time another photographer stole my logo and just put a bird on it….not even kidding…it really happened!


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Hi! I'm Tiffany, owner and designer at On The Spot Studio & Blue Grass Lettering! I have been doing custom logo design and identity branding for about 7 years now, all self taught and pretty darn proficient in Illustrator & Photoshop (if I can brag a little on myself)! Over the last year or so, I have jumped in feet first into the lettering world, and let me tell you : It was love from the beginning. I love to make the simplest of words and quotes pretty. 

Visit On The Spot Studio's profile on Pinterest.

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