Typography, calligraphy and lettering

8 Must-Try Calligraphy and Lettering Apps for iPad

Find the perfect app to turn your tablet into a blank page and learn the art of calligraphy and hand-lettering

From motivational slogans adorned with doodles to challenges like the 36 Days of Type, it’s hard to miss the incredible array of lettering, typography, and calligraphy to be found online today. Artists from all over the world express themselves through the power of words—or even single letters.

And, now the time of carrying around heavy graphics tablets and tons of equipment are long behind us, more and more of this work is turning digital. With the various models available, many artists choose the lightweight iPad as their digital art weapon of choice.

Works by lettering artist Nubia Navarro

With the support of the Apple Pencil, an iPad is an excellent tool for practicing calligraphy and lettering. But to get the most exciting and engaging results, the apps you use are key. That’s why we’re exploring eight examples available on the App Store.

From apps focused on teaching basic calligraphy skills to professional software that might just get your work noticed on social media, there’s something for everyone…

Getting Started

Calligraphy Handbook

This app is suited to newcomers, interested in getting acquainted with the basics of calligraphy. Calligraphy Handbook allows you to practice different types of strokes, mimicking the effects of a classic uncial calligraphy pen.

Price: Free.

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Calligraphy Handbook

Calligraphy Penmanship

This app is closer to the effects achieved by using a pointed ink pen. As with other apps in this list, the pressure you apply will modify the line thickness and allow you to get more confident with calligraphy. The app can show you the stroke order, or ductus, using a color-coded system. It also focuses on finishing aspects of penmanship, such as floritures, and ornaments, which can give your letters a refined and formal feel.

Price: Free (offers in-app purchases).

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Calligraphy Penmanship

Adobe Capture

If you feel more comfortable drawing letters by hand, the iPad can still be the perfect accessory for digitizing and adding the final touches to your creations. Capture, from Adobe, allows you to convert any photo into a vector illustration and is available to all Creative Cloud users, even in the free tier.

Price: Free (offers in-app purchases).

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Adobe Capture

Professional tools for digital calligraphy

Procreate

Procreate hardly needs an introduction. Thanks to the number of brushes, textures, and options it offers, and how well it integrates with both touch control and the Apple Pencil, it’s an artist favorite. Procreate is also well-suited to social media sharing, with a recording function to show your followers your entire artistic process.

To get started, check out this course on Procreate lettering fundamentals by Chiara Bacchini (@chiarabacchini), or calligraphy for Instagram by Nubia Navarro (@nubikini).

Price: $9.99.

In the Procreate timelapse video below, Nubia Navarro demonstrates her process for designing a chalkboard sign:

Affinity Designer

This pro-grade vector design application has everything you'd expect from the most advanced Mac or PC design tools. Files are also 100% compatible between iPad and Mac, making it easy to start working on the tablet and switch to a desktop if needed. To get started, check out this course by Juan José Ros (@ros_vectors).

Price: $9.99 for iPad.

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Affinity Designer

Adobe Fresco

This illustration and drawing tool has been designed to take full advantage of the iPad and iPhone. It offers complete control over the different brushes, up to the contact angle, and boasts the most extensive collection of raster and vector brushes on the market. To learn more about lettering with Fresco, visit Nubia Navarro’s (@nubikini) course here.

Price: Free (offers in-app purchases).

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Adobe Fresco.

Other tools for letter-lovers

iFont Maker

Perhaps you’re looking for something more uniform than the fluidity of calligraphy, and want to create your own font? This app allows you to design character sets using Bézier curves, refine them with all kinds of professional tools, adjust kerning or ligatures, and control other typographical elements. All of this comes together to create a custom font you can use in your projects to let your personality shine through.

Price: $7.99.

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iFont Maker

Paper by WeTransfer

You probably know WeTransfer for their file transfer service, but they also have an app that’s perfect for general drawing and sketching. Great for practicing your hand-lettering, the app can be used to create mind-maps and any other kind of note you like, with a range of pen and brush tools. There are even prompts to help spark your imagination.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases).

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Paper by WeTransfer

Whether you want to create a new calligraphic logo for your business, or sketch out some ideas for social, these tools will allow you to take your words to the next level using just your iPad and your imagination.

To learn professional techniques and discover the joy of lettering, check out our full list of calligraphy and typography courses here.

You may also be interested in:

- 10 Free Online Calligraphy Classes For Beginners
- History of Calligraphy: From Sacred Texts to Internet Memes
- 5 Inspirational Books for Lettering Artists
- Procreate Tutorial: How to Create Lettering Textures and Brushes
- The Golden Secrets of Lettering, a course by Martina Flor

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