Lettering Shadows

Bigdawg

Just Me
When I make a shadow it is usually a drop shadow to the left bottom. But I notice a lot of vehicle graphics that have an upper right "shadow"

Which way do you do your shadows? And why? I do mine like I do because I generally envision the light source as coming from the top... shining down from the right.

Just curious.
 

Steve C.

New Member
I was taught to work, as a right hander, with light coming from
over my left shoulder, hence, shadows fall to the bottom right, mostly.
 

oldgoatroper

Roper of Goats. Old ones.
I always go down and to the right as more letter shapes open to the right and also a shadow to the right on italic type is not partially hidden and awkward looking like it would be if it went to the left
 

Billct2

Active Member
When I learned hand lettering at Butera it was usually bottom right. And they were "cast" shades, not drop shadows. Most often they had a little space between the letter and the shade, I always figured this was to make it easy to add a shade to a wet letter, but it also gave a little relief between the two colors.
 

daveb

General Know-it-all
I usually have my light source coming from the upper left with a lower right shadow, the rule of thumb I was always taught is that we read from left to right. By putting the light source in the upper left, that draws your eye to the upper left first then to the right. Supposedly making it easier to read... whether it works or not? Who knows :Big Laugh. I've been doing it this was for so long it looks funny to me coming from anywhere else unless I intentionally want to draw the eye from a different direction.:omg:
 
I originally put shadows bottom/right. For whatever reason, when my brother hand-lettered he found it easier to put shadows bottom/left, so I changed for him. Still doing them that way.
 

Steve C.

New Member
I always go down and to the right as more letter shapes open to the right and also a shadow to the right on italic type is not partially hidden and awkward looking like it would be if it went to the left

For that same reason, I have worked with some sign guys that would rather
do a shade to the right, figuring more straight lines, less work.
 

oldgoatroper

Roper of Goats. Old ones.
When I learned hand lettering at Butera it was usually bottom right. And they were "cast" shades, not drop shadows. Most often they had a little space between the letter and the shade, I always figured this was to make it easy to add a shade to a wet letter, but it also gave a little relief between the two colors.


That's a good idea, since most shadows are there for effect only and don't do anything for legibility..

Myself, these days, I only use a shadow to increase contrast between and light-coloured letter and a dark-coloured background -- I no longer (or very rarely) use shadows under dark letters over light backgrounds as this actually makes lettering harder to read.
 

Bigdawg

Just Me
That's a good idea, since most shadows are there for effect only and don't do anything for legibility..

Myself, these days, I only use a shadow to increase contrast between and light-coloured letter and a dark-coloured background -- I no longer use shadows under dark letters over light backgrounds as this actually makes lettering harder to read.

I agree. It adds nothing to the layout and you are right - makes it much harder to read.
 

smott

New Member
When my dad was teaching me to letter over fifty years ago, he always considered the light (or sun as he called it) to be coming from the upper right. So the shadow was always to the lower left. He always offset the shadow from the letters just a tiny bit. Try the same letter both ways. You will notice that the offset letter seems to have a crisper edge and more dimension. I hand lettered that way for over thirty five years and continued doing it with vinyl. I still think that if you put two signs side by side (one vinyl, one hand lettered) that the hand lettered sign wins every time. Just my opinion. But I also realize that to turn out enough production to be profitable, you have to go vinyl. Besides the fact that lettering enamel is pure crap today.
 

sardocs

Member
I routinely handpaint drop-shades beside vinyl cut letters. It's usually quicker, and I can mix up a slightly darker version of the background colour to use. It gives a way more natural looking shadow than a vinyl computer generated one does. I usually put it to the lower right. but some layouts look better with it shifted over to the left. I think it has more to do with the overall design.
 

Baz

Member
I pretty much always do my shadows bottom left. In "my mind" the word is jumping forward/ahead. Maybee its a positive line thought i'm trying to go with i don't know. It's just how i prefer it. I have nothing against other directions either.
 
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