How To Design A Calligraphy Project

Updated: Dec 2, 2019


Have you ever thought about adding calligraphy decor to your home, but didn't know where to start? You're not alone. I think we all struggle with this fear of overwhelming choices from time to time. I know I have a natural fear of a blank page....there are just too many options for what to put in all that open space! But this type of fear can stop us dead in our tracks before we even begin, and cheat us out of a beautiful experience or completed project.

That's why I've created these simple steps to help you design your next calligraphy project. In these steps, I'll walk you through where to start, what options you have as you begin exploring your project with a calligrapher, and finally, what to do with that beautiful piece you designed after you take it home.

Step 1: Pick Your Content This may be the hardest part of all! It's my fear of blank pages all over again. My best advice is to choose something that speaks to your heart, and that will make you smile when you see it every day.

You don't have to wait until you're ready to make a purchase to take this first step! In fact, I encourage you NOT to! Instead, be aware of what you're reading, saying, and hearing on a daily basis. Did that bible verse on Sunday hit home in a powerful way? Write it down! How about that pearl of wisdom your grandfather always repeats? Make a note!

Whatever you choose, make sure to have an exact written copy of the text to share with your calligrapher. Spell checking (twice!) to make sure there aren't any errors will help you avoid a lot of headaches before you even begin your project!

Pro Tip: It's best to stick to personal quotes or Bible verses, for example, to avoid any intellectual property rights issues. If you'd like to learn more, keep an eye out next month for a blog post all about Calligraphy and Copyright!

Step 2: Pick the Size

Size determines all else, so let's begin there. How long is your text? Where will you be displaying your piece? If it's hanging on a wall, do you want it to be legible from across the room, or invite closer inspection to read the text?

Pro Tip: Consider the additional size of adding matting/framing when measuring your space. If you're planning on purchasing a pre-finished frame, then sticking to a standard photo size (i.e. 8"x10") will be your best choice.

Step 3: Pick the Script(s)

Enter the calligrapher! When I receive a new project inquiry from a client, I share with them some examples of scripts and they can choose which one(s) they like. We discuss what options might fit the text best, or what might work well with the size they chose too!

Pro Tip: Every calligrapher has their expertise in a few selected scripts, so check with them before deciding on a script for your project. They probably have a few scripts that they personally designed as well, so you might find something you love that you wouldn't have known about otherwise!

Step 4: Discuss design elements with your calligrapher Next, we discuss the layout for the piece. Don't worry! I don't expect any of my clients to have a degree in visual design, or know exactly how this piece would look best laid out on the page! I walk all of my clients through some of their basic options, such as paper color and ink color, as well as design elements such as adding a border, or illustrations, etc. We discuss the text and why it's important to you, and I use that insight to bring focus to specific words or phrases to help capture that emotion.

Step 5: Approve the Pencil Sketch (or make some adjustments)

You will always receive a pencil sketch from me before we ever start the final piece! Pencil sketches are a great way for you to see exactly how I've incorporated all your choices and our discussions into the final design, and it gives you the opportunity to let me know if we're on the right track.

Makes sure to check the pencil sketch thoroughly for spelling and grammar, in addition to approving the overall design. We calligraphers are very human, and mistakes do happen. I use this pencil sketch as a model for my final design, so if we catch any mistakes here, the chance of errors in the final piece is virtually zero.

Pro Tip: if you don't like something, say something! You won't hurt my feelings if you make some adjustments, and I'd very much prefer to have the conversation now rather than after the final piece is completed. This is your design, and I want to make sure you walk away 100% satisfied with what we've created together!

**Bonus -- Step 6**: Take your finished piece to an art framer for framing

I can't recommend this enough! While it may be tempting to go to your local craft store and buy a pre-made frame, don't do it! You just spent your time and effort to create something completely unique and absolutely beautiful... you (and it) deserve a quality home for the piece as well!

Local art framers are amazing people. They have a great eye for finding THE perfect frame and mat for your design, and when you bring it home the final result will be absolutely stunning. A great piece of art looks beautiful hanging on the wall, but in a custom frame and mat it will catch EVERYONE'S eye.

Have any questions? I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or head over the Contact Page and send me a message.

#midwestcalligrapher #customproject #beautifulwords #calligraphy #commission #art

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