Hand lettering is a fun and addictive hobby. But did you know you could create a full-time business just by hand lettering? Yep! Lettering has exploded in popularity in recent years and artists are gleefully reaping the rewards.
When people think of hand lettering, they may think of a hobbyist drawing colorful yet frilly designs. But rarely do they think of an entrepreneur. Well, for many hand lettering artists, that narrative is far from correct.
Truth is, hand lettering is a highly sought-after skill and there's plenty of money to be made for anyone willing to take their passion for it to the next level.
Whether you want to create hand lettered physical or digital products (yes, you can do both!), here is how to make money by starting a self-owned hand lettering business.
Table of Contents
- How To Make Money With Hand Lettering
- Ways You Can Make Money Hand Lettering
- Other Ways To Make Money As A Hand Lettering Artist
- Examples Of Successful Hand Lettering Artists
- How Much Can You Make With Hand Lettering?
How To Make Money With Hand Lettering
First things first, despite popular belief, hand lettering is not the same as calligraphy. Both are an art form of lettering, but hand lettering focuses on the artful skill of drawing and creating an illustration of each letter in a phrase, quote, or word, whereas calligraphy is the art of writing.
In fact, you may often see hand lettering referred to as “faux calligraphy.” Now ya know!
In order to make money hand lettering, you will need to sharpen your skills beyond your sketchbook.
Since lettering is a popular practice, many companies and brands are outsourcing hand lettering artists to work on their social graphics, web design, and marketing or promotional materials.
There are plenty of successful hand lettering artists. The catch is to be able to do it well enough that people would be happy to pay for it instead of using a type of hand lettering generator.
Patience and practice are therefore key when it comes to making money hand lettering.
Ways You Can Make Money Hand Lettering
Speaking of, there are multiple ways to earn an income from this skill and talent, which we'll share more about below.
Find Freelance Hand Lettering Jobs Online
Hand lettering is becoming more popular each year. And thanks to the rise of outsourcing freelancers online, you can now easily find hand lettering jobs online through large freelancing marketplaces.
While each service varies in terms of clientele, commission fees, etc, the most used platform to set up a freelancer account on is Upwork.com.
Upwork has an enormous range of talent on display across hundreds, if not thousands, of industries and fields. Art, hand lettering, graphic design, and the like, are popular and highly sought-out job skills.
Such jobs often are high-ticket contracts, meaning you can earn a decent income from one-off jobs.
It's also more than likely that, if a client is pleased with your work, they will rehire you in the future or place you on a long-term contract (then your commission fee of 20% will decrease as well – earning you even more money).
If you aren't sure where to start, check out Upwork first and explore your options from there.
Fiverr is perhaps even more of a niche choice when it comes to finding graphic design and lettering related jobs online.
However, Fiverr works a bit differently than Upwork. As a freelancer on this platform, you post negotiable or fixed “gigs” (read offers) showcasing your qualifications to work on X project. The gig includes a description, price suggestion, etc, and clients can then seek you out and decide to purchase your gig (offer) or not.
If you are a hand lettering artist specializing in making logos, for example, Fiverr would be a great option for you since you can set up fixed-price offers and have clients come to you whenever they search for hand lettering artists to fulfill their job needs.
Should you not wish to go down the freelancing route, you still have other lucrative paths to take to earn money from your hand lettering designs.
Sell Hand Lettered Products on Etsy
This is a popular option for beginners because Etsy takes care of most of the worry about selling online – i.e. marketing, building an audience, shop design, product listings, and trustability.
So what items can you create and sell? Some of the most popular and researched products include hand-lettered or customized:
- Place cards
- Envelope addressing
Since you can customize virtually any product with hand lettering designs, you could make a decent income, if not small fortune, selling your own creations on Etsy.
There are fees associated anytime you sell via an established marketplace, however, most business owners would agree that the support, features and audience that come with it make it worthwhile (and even better – profitable).
Start A Blog Or Online Store
This certainly wouldn't be the easiest or fastest option, but you can also make money online by starting an affiliate blog about hand lettering and crafts or open up your own Shopify store.
A blog would mean that you could write about hand lettering, among other related topics in the DIY/crafts niche, and earn money from affiliate marketing, display ads, and possibly even sponsorships.
You could combine this with selling your own products (from physical hand-lettered items to digital worksheets and more) on a linked Shopify store or simply through your blog via a third-party integration like WooCommerce.
There is no one way to do it!
Teach Others How To Hand Letter
Another route to take to make money from your hand lettering art is by teaching others your craft. You might be surprised to know, but sometimes the most profitable artists and business owners are those who teach and pass on their skills to others.
You can sell hand lettering worksheets, online courses, or even pre-packaged kits that help make the hand lettering process smooth and fun. In the case of worksheets and courses, or any digital product, the better the profits will be since you wouldn't have to worry about overhead costs such as inventory, stock, materials, etc.
These types of products can also be sold on marketplaces such as Etsy. That is, if you don't wish to sell through your own blog or newsletter audience, or haven't yet amassed enough traffic to your website.
Other Ways To Make Money As A Hand Lettering Artist
If you thought the income streams stopped there, think again! Here are a few more ways you can make money with hand lettering.
Print On Demand
Print-on-demand (POD) is an automatic order fulfillment method that allows you to slap on your custom designs and lettering onto products, without ever having to touch the product physically! People make decent income selling their designs on mugs, pillows, boards, and t-shirts by uploading their digital designs, fonts, or lettering to platforms such as Printful.
Attend Expos In Your Niche
Not all job opportunities exist online! In fact, attending events in person is a great way to network and pass around your business card. Much like a wedding photographer, there is a high demand for hand lettering professionals in the wedding niche who can create custom invites, cards, signs, and table seating charts, all in the same look and feel.
Sell Hand Lettered SVG Files & Fonts
Fonts are always in demand, especially among bloggers and online entrepreneurs. Selling custom SVG files and hand lettered fonts on places such as Creative Market is a fabulous way to generate passive income for months or years.
Write Books & eBooks
Whether traditionally published or self-published, books and ebooks about hand lettering are extremely popular and an easy way to monetize your craft without ever having to make and ship orders.
Examples Of Successful Hand Lettering Artists
Example 1: Suzy Grace
Suzy Grace, better known under the handle @howtohandletter, is a professional hand lettering artist who does this as her full-time income. Suzy began making money hand lettering, but quickly realized that fellow newbie artists were desperate to know her techniques, so she started teaching others via her YouTube videos and course called Your Unique Income.
Example 2: Ensign Insights
Sarah Ensign of Ensign Insights is a hand lettering artist who has turned her hobby into a full-time endeavor. She has her own blog, Shopify store, Etsy, and YouTube channel where she shares her tips on hand lettering and sells her materials, brushes, etc, through affiliate links. She is also a published author. In the below video, she discusses her personal experience and journey of how she became a full-time hand lettering business owner.
How Much Can You Make With Hand Lettering?
Although we can't pinpoint exact figures on how much you can make hand lettering, thanks to the examples above and countless shops and freelance opportunities online, it is evident that you can make good – if not great – money with hand lettering.
It's even more reassuring when you read testimonials from people about how they turned their passion for hand lettering into a legit business. Chelsea Rachel, the blogger behind the Love Paper Crafts blog, shares in one post how she made her first $4,000 from hand lettering wedding envelopes and cards. And all from only about 20 hours of work.
Stories like Chelsea's reveal just how you can make money doing almost anything as long as you have the determination and skill for it.
While hand lettering isn't for everyone, if you have the talent (or the patience to learn the skill), then you can make good money with it.
The other prerequisites – such as opening up a store, starting a blog, sourcing the materials – will all fall into place after.
There are a lot of ways to make money online. Some are good, some not, but ALL of them are still just trading hours for dollars.
Starting your own affiliate website really is the best way to build passive income and "make money while you sleep". Affiliate websites earn income in every timezone, and can be instantly accessed by billions of smartphones across the globe!