Hand lettering is the art of drawing letter forms using a pencil or pen, often with the use of other tools such as rules to maintain a consistent size and alignment across the page. A variety of inks or graphite types can be used to craft hand lettered items, and hand lettering may be applied to all manner of types of paper, card stock, and other materials.

Styles of hand lettering are also many and varied; the average hand lettering artist practices a wide range of styles, including numerous serif and sans-serif styles, thick and thin letters, curved and angular letters; and formal, staid lettering types as well as more fanciful styles such as bubble letters or comic-book styles. Finding, creating, and learning new lettering techniques is part of what hand lettering artists love most about the art. As a result there are as many styles of hand lettering in existence as there are hand lettering artists, if not more.

For all of these reasons, hand lettering is an incredibly versatile and flexible form of lettering, and can be tailored to all kinds of projects. While hand lettering is a practice as old as the invention of paper and ink pens, it has many modern applications including the design of company logos, advertisements, and web illustrations. Hand lettering can also be used in poster or t-shirt design, graphic novel or comic book lettering, infographics, or website banners after the artwork has been vectorized. The possible uses for good hand lettering are nearly limitless.

One of the great advantages of hand lettering is its individuality. By working with a hand lettering artist or developing your own hand lettering style, you can create a means of expression that is utterly unique and personalized. No typeset or pre-existing font can be as carefully tailored to your desired tone, mood, or message the way that one-of-a-kind, hand crafted letters can be.