You can have words without a picture, or a picture without words, but when you bring them together you get something special: a piece of art with a message. We see examples of creative typography all over the place, from polished advertisements to street art. But how do you get from idea to finished product?

Recently, 99designs teamed up with Skillshare to offer classes to our designers on gaining typographic inspiration from your surroundings, adding visual concepts to individual words, hand lettering and shading, and custom logotypes. Take a look at some of the awesome results. And, if you’re feeling inspired, jump over to Skillshare and sign up for your trial!

Words as art

99designer Alessandro Foglino found inspiration from a cloudy day which he experienced in Athens to come up with the words “Shine as the Sun Would”. The word “Shine” is rendered with a shiny effect that has some wonderful dots reminiscent of pointillism. The words “as the” dissolve into the mirage-like ”Sun”, which then literally melts the world “would”. We felt that Alessandro captured the concepts of his Skillshare class with style and his final result looks great in a picture frame!


Kateryna Korolevtseva, took the lettering concepts in an entirely new direction. Starting with portraits of actress Marlene Dietrich, Korolevtseva was able to create a space for a typographic quote in the top-hat. While Kateryna admits she is not a typographic expert, we love the way she fearlessly experiments with drawing exercises.

99designer Maximillion Graur came up with this fantastic, elephant-inspired logo. Maximillion was able to try out many different animals in the “thumbnailing” process before arriving at this clever solution which shapes an elephant head into the letter “e”.

Using characters to create visual impact

The examples above come from four 99designers: Ashley Moore, Jonathan Morales, Anna Lukanina and Mohamed Abdo. The examples create connecting lines between typographic characters to skew the words upward and to the right for a dynamic visual impact.


Here Anastasia Sidenko incorporated lion and fox-like elements into a stylized quote. We love how Sidenko creates the word “Fox” out of fox tails!

Beautiful, custom typography

99designers Laura Bramley, Reliza Remolin and Melissa S. all explored shading letters in illustrator. It’s easy to see how this technique can breathe new life into preexisting type settings, especially Bramley’s exquisite Ernest Hemingway piece which she sourced from a typography project she did last year.


99designer Konstantine Zhurakovskiy was able to find three fonts that resonate, and discovered appropriate secondary brand elements for his project: a watch and a compass.

Elvira Ruban and Taylor Myers give ustwo more wonderful examples of hand lettering. We love how Myer’s “progress” has movement— flying from left to right, and Ruban’s multi-textured composition is irresistible!

Feeling inspired?

If you’re ready to start your own creative typography project, 99designs designers can get a three month premium membership to all of the fantastic graphic design classes offered at Skillshare.