Type@Cooper - Freehand Lettering

Freehand Lettering


with Ken Barber




Sat., Nov. 14 – Sun., Nov. 15, 2015
10:00AM – 5:00PM
location: On campus

The use of freely written letterforms is a sure-fire way to add charm and appeal to logotypes and wordmarks. The friendly tone and alluring rhythm of casual scripts and other varieties of freehand lettering continue to play an important role in contemporary visual communication.

This two-day workshop will provide an introduction to freehand lettering, with an emphasis on its use in branding, advertising, and editorial design. Practical skill-building drawing exercises —highlighting assorted writing tools and techniques— will guide participants as they transform pen-written studies into refined pencil renderings, ultimately realizing finished wordmarks as vector artwork.

Workshop presentations, demonstrations and materials will examine the fundamentals that contribute to the successful creation of hand-made letterforms. Individual one-on-one critiques will provide further guidance as students acquire a practical foundation for producing and implementing freehand lettering in various design contexts.


    Required Materials

  • No.2 pencils (conventional or mechanical)
  • pencil sharpener, if applicable
  • eraser
  • pad of tracing paper, at least 8.5″ x 11″
  • Sharpie® Fine and Extra Fine marker
  • adhesive tape for posting sketches


Additional items will be supplied for an extra materials fee of $10, payable to the instructor at the beginning of the workshop.

Please note that although participants may choose to focus on the manual exercises introduced during this workshop, comprehensive vector-drawing instruction will be covered. With that in mind, students are encouraged to bring a laptop with a licensed copy of Adobe Illustrator installed.



Register online…


Instructor: Ken Barber

Freehand Lettering
Ken Barber is a letterer, type designer and type director at design studio and type foundry House Industries. He is also a partner of Photo-Lettering, Inc., the online lettering-vending service nominated by the Design Museum London as a 2011 Design of the Year recipient. Ken's work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and has been honored by the New York Type Directors Club. Association Typographique Internationale recently selected several of his typefaces for inclusion in the organization’s decennial design competition. In addition to teaching at Maryland Institute College of Art, Ken regularly lectures internationally on the subjects of lettering and typography. He also manages typeandlettering.com, an online resource for students and attendees of his frequent workshops.

• Type and Lettering
• House Industries



Venue