The process of commissioning calligraphy or lettering from skilled practitioners can be a very rewarding experience. An initial contact is usually followed up by a visit to the client to discuss in detail the requirements for a particular artefact. The conversation between client and designer, always bearing in mind the specific context for a piece of work, would normally cover such topics as choice of materials approximate size and decorative elements. The most important factor is, however, the wording or text which, in nearly every case, will have a determining effect on the overall form of the design. It is, perhaps, not widely understood that it is far better to start by arranging the text and then establishing a format (i.e. rectangular, circular, oval etc.) around the pattern of the wording than it is to start with a predetermined shape and then try to make the text fit into it. Of course, there are situations where there is no alternative but to fit a given text into a prescribed space and here the designer has to use his experience to make the inscription look as natural as possible within the constraints of the format. the words used often suggest an appropriate choice of letterform, from the severely classical to freer and more contemporary forms.
After all the information is gathered in, a rough design is prepared for approval. Modifications to the design are more easily carried out at this stage and only when all details are finally resolved is the work put in hand.