First of all, is there a particular name for such an art style? And also I'm not expecting a quick "here's how you do this" type of answer and I understand that it may just be a case of me studying the style and repeatedly drawing until I can match the style, but any additional help on achieving it would be great.

I'm looking at creating a logo that has more of an old fashioned illustrated style; much like these Victorian illustrations

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I've seen modern companies that use logo's with this sort of style for things such as clothing or food, especially people looking for that old fashioned "rustic" look to their brand.

I am currently looking to start up a business for hand-made homeware that has more of an old fashioned/warm/rustic feel so this style of logo would be perfect

How can I best replicate this art style? Is it something that would be best hand drawn and the "traced".

  • 4
    as far as the identification is concerned, my first impulse is to say 'engraving' or 'etching'.
    – Vincent
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 10:04
  • @Vincent ah good shout, that could be a good start point as I guess etching would of been a way of mass producing these images in ye' olde times
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 10:06
  • 4
    Don't be fooled. Lots of them are actually engravings--the metal has been carved by hand instead of etched out by an acid. The difference in style is subtle but present: an etching allows for more freely flowing, organic lines because the drawing is made on wax instead of directly on the metal. Yeah, my old man was an engraver before he retired. Does it show? :)
    – Vincent
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 10:11
  • @Vincent wow! I bet that was fun to be around as a child :) guess I better start looking into the art of engraving then!
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 10:55

7 Answers 7


Those examples are type ornaments or electrotype ornaments and are often called dingbats. But they are derived from 19th century woodcut illustrations. So, the style is generic dingbats and letterpress ornaments.

Electrotyping is a depositional process, so the inverse of etching or engraving (because they were used in-line on a letterpess). However, they require an original to copy and so the original would probably be from a wood engraving etc.

For an example, see "Specimens of Printing Types [...]" By Bruce's New York Type Foundry page 157. They have a "pointy hand number 103" for 8 cents (5 gabillion in 2015 cents).

  • 3
    By the way, the hand is called a "manicule." This is in the running for one of my favorite English words.
    – Yorik
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 18:13

It's mostly engraving. The best way to emulate is to create your own engravings, though that is a particular skill few of us have experience with.

The hallmark of the style is that it's pure black and white and all shading it done via pattern...typically patterns of differently spaced lines that follow the contours of the 3D object being illustrated.

Naty's answer refers to scratchboard, which is a fun medium to work in and less of an investment than engraving. It has subtle aesthetic differences, but is definitely in the same family as engraving style-wise.

Other than that, you're looking at drawing them to emulate engraving. There's no real easy solution to this, though there are engraving plugins for tools such as Photoshop that might get you halfway there.

  • I've always guessed it would be a pretty manual process. I'd rather do as much of it manually before I bring it to the computer.
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 14:15

Identification - It can fall under:

Something like this I would personally do-it manually with a 0.05 pen. If you can't try some simple Photoshop crosshatch brushed like this one

  • Thanks Naty. The problem I think I have is getting the shade to look nice when just using lines. More practice I guess! :)
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:26
  • Are you doing it manually or on Photoshop?
    – Naty
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:37
  • It would be manual then scanned into something like photoshop/illustrator
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:54
  • did you try the brushes I provided?
    – Naty
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:54
  • Not yet I'm afraid. I'm at work so will download them later :)
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:57

I used this tutorial to create an etched appearance for a logo.


Hope that helps!

  • Thank you, but this is not the effect I'm after. Although I do like that tutorial anyway, I may use it in the future :)
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 7:23
  • 2
    Also, please do not post link-only answers. Links can rot and your answer may become useless. Instead, please at least summarise the key elements of the linked content.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 7:33
  • @Amy, yes, please summarize your link here. The tutorial looks great, but your page may die in the future, whereas the aim of this site is to be around much longer. Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 8:11
  • Thanks for the advice! I'll be sure to do so in future posts :)
    – Amy
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 3:12

I personally love this style, and do it often, but I do find it a bit difficult to emulate in logo format. It takes quite a bit of patience.

I start with good old fashioned pen and ink, keeping it as clean and smooth as I possibly can. Once it's done I scan it in and clean up any rough edges or flaws in Photoshop. Next is Illustrator. Now, I know some people hate the Live Trace option, but it works quite well if you're careful with it. I don't do a one click Live Trace, I always go in and do Live Trace Options and adjust to see which settings will work best. Once it's traced, I still make further adjustments, by tweaking different anchor points if they look wonky or are not flowing with the image.

All in all the trick is to keep it as simple as possible right from the start. Use the line shading, yes, but don't do so much that it's too intricate to work properly as a logo. Those images you shared are awesome. Really nicely done line work and simple enough to pass as a logo.

Hope this helps! Like I said, I LOVE the style and strive to achieve in both illustration and design.


This style is the result of a printing process using etched and engraved printing plates.

There are various practical processes used to achieve this from hand engraving to photo-etching processes. However the defining property is that there is little or no grey scale variation in the print process itself and so form and shading is indicated by line weight and hatching.

so in a modern context there are a few ways to achieve the same look.

  • Use only black technical pens of various line widths to do your illustration.
  • Digitally modify an existing image to achieve very high contrast
  • Use authentic etching/engraving processes
  • Use vector graphics in monochrome with restricted, discreet line weights.

Obviously there is some skill involved in rendering a multi-tonal image into a purely linear engraving. If you want to study this further there is quiet a lot of extent correspondence between Victorian paint/sketch artists and engravers, in particular the Turner archive is good for this as there are a lot of annotated proofs.


I usually do this style with the wacom pen and tablet to emulate line art on Illustrator the most accurate way, so you don't need to trace, which would destroy your art. I use the Pencil tool in Illustrator, by double-clicking on it you can play with the options to give it more fidelity to your hand movements to make it look as natural as possible. I don't like the paintbrush for these kind of things because it's too angular and the Pencil is just fine.

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