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Alan Ariail is a kind of genius when it comes to hand lettering.  He is one of the few artists in this day and age who focuses on lettering as an art, and while he designs primarily for commercial products all of his work is hand drawn using pencils, markers, ink pens and brushes.  His work speaks for itself, and here is what Alan had to say about a few of his pieces:

Jordas Summer Fruits
This project was for a client in Finland selling fruit refreshments during the summer season. The intended use of the lettering was for T-shirts and  banners at the vendor booths  After discussing the lettering and illustration style with the client I created a series of quick rough sketches for presentation. After reviewing the concepts the client decided which version to go with and what fruits to use for the illustration.


As with most projects, I tend to sketch concepts in a loose manner to generate ideas for a client. A solid concept usually works very well as a template image to create the vector art. All the lettering refinements happen while drawing in Adobe illustrator.

The Soulless
The Soulless is a logo designed for a music group in the UK. The lettering is based on a gothic tattoo style and originally started with ornate and flourished letters but it became too visually complex. After a number of discussions with the client about toning down the overall look for visual clarity at both small and large size reproduction the letterforms changed with use of minimal flourishes.

No matter how many lettering treatments I have created in my career I have never found an easy method where something magically happens in an instant. To design a solid lettering piece it takes a lot of preliminary drawing. The B/W sketches for The Soulless were drawn on 11″ X 17″ sheets of layout paper with pencils, markers and ink brushes. All the sketches were taped to a wall in my office. In addition to the wall sketches I also drew the logo at small size with a fountain pen. I had to draw the logo many times to learn the rhythm and flow of the letterforms. Eventually a well defined a solid logo emerged from all the preliminary concepts studies.

Marie Meier
The Marie Meier project was for a client involved in the fashion industry in France. The client requested lettering with tattoo influence. I created a series of roughs and the 2 sketches were picked and used as drawing templates in Illustrator. All the refinements happened while drawing in vector format.


Suzie Q
Suzie Q is a freeform script that was created from random writing session.  About a year ago I began using fountain pens from the early 1900’s as I was searching for lettering instruments that offered a direct approach to lettering.  I was looking for something more direct than lettering with a Wacom tablet. As a result I spent time writing in notebooks with tissue overlays. After a session of writing I’d cut and paste words together and Suzie Q was one of a series of samples that was created.