Circled Flourishes:

Circled flourishes

The power of flourishes – how to create circled flourishes with text – including a detailed process

Typography can be the silent storyteller to convey emotions, evoke moods, and even define brands. In this realm of artistic expression, flourishes have emerged as a captivating embellishment, adding a touch of elegance and charm to written communication.

Today i want to show you how flourishes with letters can look like in a circled form and how my process is to create them.

A brief history about flourishes

Flourishes find their roots in calligraphy back to the early civilizations. Monks meticulously crafted manuscripts, adorning sacred texts with ornate letters and symbols. Over time, these decorative elements evolved, influenced by cultural shifts, artistic movements and as typography advanced with better techniques to incorporate these embellishments.         

Modern revival

With digital typography, designers have learned to appreciate the analogue creations of flourishes and their diversity like circled flourishes. Now, these graceful curves and loops can be integrated into various forms of communications, from logos and branding to invitations and social media graphics.

Flourishes are now used by many distinguished brands. They frame logos with a timeless, regal quality, evoking a sense of heritage and authenticity. Such flourishes can be seen in the logos of luxury brands, high-end boutiques, and premium services.

From wedding invitations to formal event announcements, flourishes add an air of sophistication and personalized touch. They frame text in a way that draws attention and captivates the reader. And a special arrangement like circled flourishes can serve as captivating elements to highlight key information, create visual interest, and convey a sense of luxury or prestige.

Anothe version with letters and flourishes on a circle

Keeping the balance

While circled flourishes bring an undeniable charm, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Overuse can lead to visual clutter and distract from the intended message. Skillful integration, where flourishes complement the text without overpowering it, is key to achieving a harmonious design.

a calligraphic version of letters and flourishes on a circle by Miranda Songer

This calligraphic version is made by calligrapher Miranda Songer from England

Writing in a circle

When you write or draw your text, it is always a challenge to do it in a circle. A straight slanted text has a constant angle of 52-55º. Writing on a curve requires a new position for each letter. So some experience in calligraphy or lettering is very helpful to keep the position of the letters constant. I think this is the hardest part with letters and flourishes in a circular shape. The flourishes are positioned similarly to straight text. You may have more options with a rounded overall shape.

A process how to create a circled letter-flourished form

Two drawn circles

I start by drawing two circles (x-height). The size depends on how many words you want to put on each circle. In my case, the first circle is about 2.5 inches (6 cm) and the second larger circle is 2.9 inches (7.3 cm).

Written letters with pencil in a circle

Once the circle is complete, I can write my quote by placing the lowercase letters in the x-height. I start each letter with a capital letter because it gives me more options for flourishes. Depending on the circumstances, I try to play around with the size of the capitals. The tricky part is keeping a consistent and correct angle for each letter. When placed on a circle, each letter has a different angle.

Letters on a circle with flourishes as a monoline

Now i add my flourishes above each word. Look already here for a good balance.

Letters on a circle as a complete composition with flourishes

After the outer part, I begin to flourish the inner part of the circle. Use descenders for the flourishes under the words. Then I erase the pen strokes of both circles.

Finished quote on a circle with flourishes including the shadingThis is the finished piece, including the shading for the flourishes and letters. A next step could be to create a digital version (vectorization).