Block lettering is a general term used in describing all lettering styles that are drawn or constructed. They are constructed according to specifications using squares or blocks. A young designer or student can use a paper with the squares already drawn in them like a graph sheet. He/she can draw the squares on his/her own by drawing straight or parallel horizontal and vertical lines that cross each other at an angle. All letters with the exception of “M”, “W” and “I” take 5 squares down and 3 squares across. However, letters “W” and “M” take 5 down, 5 across. On the other hand, letter “I” take 5 squares down and 1 square across.
Block letters have several characteristics that make them different from other styles of lettering. Some of its distinctive features are outlined below.
1. They have an equal or uniform thickness of strokes. That is all the parts of each of its letters are the same measurement. For instance, if the vertical stroke measures 2cm, the horizontal and circular parts of the letter also measures 2cm.
2. They have no serifs or finishing strokes. There are no ornamental projections at the ends of their letters.
3. All the letters stand erect in a vertical position. They do not slant but stands straight.
4. They are not written but are drawn or constructed.
5. Squares of equal sizes serve as aids in their construction.
6. They are bold and easy to read.
The style has been used for various purposes due to its distinct features. Some of these are listed below.
1. They are used in writing on signboards, billboards, and signposts because of its keen sense of legibility.
2. Block letters are used in writing the titles of books and magazines due to its simple form that readily attracts viewers.
3. They are used in writing the text on greeting cards like birthday cards, success cards, funeral cards etc.
4. They are used in writing names of shops, institutions, and companies because it is easy to read.
5. They are the most widely used style of text for the designing of communication design products such as posters, banners etc.
The construction is not a very painstaking task. As already discussed, constructing block letters involve the use of accurately measured squares on paper. If this is available, the artist has to follow the rules and guidelines that govern the construction of block letters.
Also, the artist has to use a pointed sharp pencil in the ruling of the squares and in the construction of the letters. All the measurements should be done accurately. It is advisable to use straight measuring instruments such as rulers to ensure precision and accuracy.
The curvy parts of the letters can be created using any suitable circular object such as the edges of coins or protractors.
It should be noted that the squares which serve as guides for the construction of the letters should be created with a lighter grade pencil (HB or HH). The marks should be faintly created so that they could be easily erased after the construction of the letters.