hand-lettered christmas card

Today i’m taking you behind the scenes to show you how I’ve designed the christmas card, that I sent to family and friends last year. This project went through five different stages: idea, sketch, final drawing, vectorization and print. Follow me on a journey from idea to finished product.

Stage 1: idea

At the beginning of this project I just had the desire to design a christmas card and have it printed. I first thought about an illustration, but then I wanted to use is to work on my lettering skills and hold a finished product in my hands. The words “Merry Christmas” seemed to be the easiest choice. While browsing for inspiration in a book about calligraphy I liked black letter the most with its straight lines. The role model for my christmas card type was found. With the colors I immediately had the classic red and white in mind and stuck with it.

Phase 2: sketch

The first sketches of the lettering were done on squared paper. One square was the measuring unit for the thickness of the lines. I needed to make a few sketches until I had one, I was satisfied with. The lettering in itself stayed without flourishes, because I wanted to emphasize straight lines.

Unfortunately the sketch got lost during my move to another city. I’d have loved to show it to you.

Phase 3: final drawing

I transferred the sketch with the help of a window with pencil onto blank paper. I’ve made some alignment corrections while transferring it. Afterwards I traced the outlines of the sketch with black fineliner.


Das Ergebnis der Korrektur der Skizze ist ein Gewirr aus Hilfslinien.



Nach dem Nachzeichnen der Kontur sieht das Ganze schon aufgeräumter aus.


Phase 4: vectorization

Vectorizing the sketch was the most time-consuming part of the project. The first step involved scanning the sketch with a resolution of 300 dpi and import it into Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t use the tracing option available in the program in this case, but instead built the letters with shapes. Afterwards the single letters were grouped. To keep track of everything I worked in black and white.

After the lettering was done, I copied it into the guideline of the online print shop, I was going to use, and corrected the size. After resizing the thin lines weren’t visible anymore, so I had to adjust them manually, which was quite time-consuming. And after the adjustments the single parts of the letters didn’t align correctly, so every letter had to be adjusted again by hand.

After everything was made to fit perfectly, it was time for color, a deep red for the background and snow white for the lettering. But only the lettering looked a bit “naked”, so I opened a new document in Illustrator and created a few different snowflakes. Again in black and white. I copied and pasted them into my christmas card document and adjusted the color, duplicated and resized them and scattered them on the background.

Pfadansicht vs Endversion

Die Pfadansicht und die Endversion in der Gegenüberstellung.


Phase 5: print

Still in Adobe Illustrator, after finishing the layout of the card, I prepared the document for printing. I complied with the printer’s guidelines. I ordered the cards at the online printer Moo and two weeks later I got the printed cards in the mail.


I hope you liked the little peak behind the curtains. If you’ve got any questions about the steps involved, leave me comment. I’m happy to help.

Have a creative week,


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