How to add flourishes to fonts:

How to add flourishes to fonts?

Adding flourishes to fonts is a creative way to decorate your text. I show you different methods to do it depending on your experience with flourishes and software.

Before we look at the practical solutions, I would like to mention the importance of a little understanding when it comes to creating flourishes. As well as knowing something about flourishes, typographic knowledge is equally important, because flourishes should be a harmonious solution when combined with letters. This requires the ability to add flourishes in a way that fits, so that your combined piece looks like a whole and not like two separate objects.

Let’s jump into the practical part, for that reason here are three ways to add flourishes to fonts. If you plan to add flourishes to a font by using any of these three solutions, meanwhile it is recommended that you spend some time with your font choice. Flourishes are often combined with script fonts, because the letters already have a natural handwritten style. It gives you a good basis for adding flourishes in a smooth and natural way.

1. Vector Graphics Software

(for instance I use Adobe Illustrator, but any other vector software should work as well)

Here I used the Google font “Alex Brush”.

Adding flourishes to fonts with vectors 2

That is the Google font “Lobster”.

A vector software gives you the best control of how your flourishes fit to the letters of your font style. Doing this requires some experience in creating flourishes to find a harmonious solution.

• Create a New Layer to keep your original text intact and to design your flourishes around your written text.
• Draw the Flourishes with the Pen Tool. You can experiment with curves, loops, and other shapes.

Ensure the flourish follows the flow and style of your chosen font. Often the rule of „less is more“ can be very helpful before too many flourishes create more distraction instead of enhancing the written piece. So I recommend creating one flourish after another and adjust and refine when it is necessary.

• Modify the anchor points to fine-tune the shape and curves
• Try different stroke weights (width-tool) and curves
• Position and Scale
• Arrange the flourishes around the text in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way

Convert to Outline:

• Select the flourish shapes and go to “Object” > “Path” > “Outline Stroke” or “Expand”.
• Merge both layers and Save
• If you’re happy with the design, save your file.

2. Image Editing Software

(for instance Photoshop)

Adding flourishes to fonts with Photoshop

This font is another Google font called “Tangerine”.

That method is suitable for adding simple flourishes or for those who are more comfortable with image editing software.

• Open the Font and Type out your text
• Create a New Layer
• Add the Flourishes
• Use a brush or pencil tool to draw the flourishes around your text
• Adjust and Refine
• Use tools like smudge, blur, and eraser to refine the shape and appearance
• Position and Scale
• Merge the layers
• Once you’re satisfied with the design, you can merge the layers.

3. Fonts with built-in Flourishes

Adding flourishes to fonts with Open Type fonts

Robert’s font: created by Roland Hüse and Robert Bree

Some fonts come with built-in flourishes or decorative elements. Simply select these characters from the font set and adjust their size and position. In some you have more versatile solutions available than in others.

General tips to consider

• Consistency: Ensure that the style of the flourishes matches the overall style of the font.
• Trial and Error: Don’t be afraid to try different designs and make adjustments as needed.
• Practice Patience: Achieving the desired look may take some time, especially if you’re new to design software.

Remember to respect the license terms of any font you use, especially if you’re creating a design for commercial use. Make sure you’re complying with any licensing restrictions.

As i mentioned at the beginning, knowing how to use the software is one part. The other part is your experience with flourishes, because knowing what kind of flourish and how many might fit into one font or another can be a challenge. So having experience in creating flourishes is a huge help. Finally, try it yourself and have fun with the creation and final composition. We learn best by doing.