Easy Lettering Shape Ideas Using the Composition Ruler

We all want our lettering layouts to be perfectly accurate and balanced, but it can be time-consuming as it requires lots of measurements.

That’s why I’ve created the Composition Ruler to make the process a lot easier and more enjoyable for you!

In this tutorial, you’ll learn more about the different shapes that you can create using the Composition Ruler, as well as how to add letters into those shapes. Feel excited yet? Let’s start!

First things first…

What is a Composition Ruler?

The Composition Ruler is a unique lettering tool specially designed to help you create beautiful and polished lettering layouts with so much ease.

This tool is available in 3 inches and 5 inches.

These sizes represent the maximum width of the shapes you can draw with the rulers.

What are its features?

The Composition Rulers has five features. Each feature has its way of helping you create precise composition shapes and layouts.

1. Vertical Center Line

The Vertical Center Line is the reference line for the center of your shapes and layouts.

This will keep all the elements you draw perfectly centered.

2. Measurement Markers

The Measurement Markers are a series of holes located at the top and bottom of the Composition Ruler.

These are spaced by half an inch to help you achieve the desired width and spacing of your grid.

3. ¼ Inch and ⅛ Inch Measurement Guides

These measurement guides help you customize a finer grid for your lettering layout.

4. Main Composition Shapes

These are various templates that can be combined to create simple to complex shape combinations.

5. Mini Composition Shapes

At the bottom part of your Composition Rules are Mini Composition Shapes that can be used to perfectly insert minor words and articles to your lettering layout. 

That’s it for the Composition Ruler features! Let’s move on to creating different composition shapes.

Grab a pencil, paper, and your Composition Ruler and create along so you can get a feel of what shapes work for you and your layout. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Composition Ruler yet. You can draw the shapes freehand.

Main Composition Shapes

The Composition Ruler is designed with 7 primary shapes that you can use in your lettering layout:

Tip: You can adjust the shape sizes so they’ll fit into your desired layout design!

You will notice a slight difference in the available shapes of the 3-inch Composition Ruler and the 5-inch Composition Ruler.

  • The 5-inch Composition Ruler has one more main shape - the Bell.
  • The Angled shape for both sizes looks different but the functions are the same.

Combination of Main Shapes

Although the main shapes on both the 3- and 5-inch Composition Rulers may seem like they’re enough, the rulers can provide you with unique shapes if you combine the different shapes.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match the shapes to see how you can create a more interesting lettering layout.

But remember, not all shapes will suit your lettering layout. We still need to consider harmony, balance, and good flow for your lettering piece. You’ll learn more as you practice!

I’ve listed down different shape combinations you can create with the Composition Rulers.

Arc + Rectangle
Roof + Rectangle
Angled Shape + Rectangle
Wave + Rectangle
Semi-circle + Rectangle
Bell + Rectangle
Roof + Roof
Arc + Arc
Roof + Arc
Bell + Bell

Semi-Circle + Roof

Drawing inside the Composition Shape

After choosing the right composition shape for your lettering, it’s time to fill in the shape with your word.

I listed down a few steps to help you fill in your composition shape.

Feel free to follow along and try these steps with the other shapes you created.

1. Write down your word

It is good to write down your word first. So you can estimate the length and find the center of your word.

2. Draw your Vertical Center Guide

Plot the measurement markers and lightly draw the vertical center guide.

This will help keep your layout centered and balanced.

3. Draw your shape

Using the measurement markers as guides, sketch out your desired shape.  

You can also use the center guide line to keep your shape centered.

4. Sketch in the First and Last Letter

To make sure that your word can fit in the shape, sketch out the first and last letter first.

Remember to align the sides of your letters to the end of your composition shape.

5. Sketch the Middle Letter

Sketching in the middle letter/s can also help you balance your letters.

6. Fill in the other letters

Once both ends of your word are sketched, it’s easier to fill in the shape with the rest of the letters.

Remember to give your letters proper spacing so they won’t look like they’re crammed together.

7. Add in the weight and details of your letters.

Now that we have a general idea how our letters will fit, it’s time to add in more details to our word.

That's it!

I hope this tutorial has helped spark your creativity in creating more dynamic and unique lettering layouts.

If you want to get your own set of rulers, you can get them on Amazon or at my website

Also, check out my “5 Easy Steps to Lettering Composition” to help you create lettering layouts with any quote you desire.

If you have any other shape combinations, feel free to comment them down below so we can try them out together!

Don’t forget to tag me at @nicong.co if you post your work with the Composition Ruler so I can have a look and even give you feedback!

What shape will you be using in your lettering layout today?

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