Top Tips for Choosing the Right Words for Personalised Hand-Lettered Prints

Top Tips for Choosing the Right Words for Personalised Hand-Lettered Prints

Giving a personalised hand-lettered print is a thoughtful and meaningful gift for a loved one. Whether it's for a special occasion or just to show you care, choosing the right words can make all the difference in creating a gift that truly resonates with the recipient.

Here are some of our top tips on how to choose the right words when ordering one of our customised hand-lettered prints:

1. Consider the recipient's personality and interests

When deciding on the words for the hand-lettered print, think about the recipient's personality and interests. What would be meaningful to them? What values or sentiments do they hold dear? What are their favourite whakataukī/quotes, waiata/song lyrics, scripture or books? By tailoring the words to the recipient, you'll create a gift that feels uniquely personal and special.


2. Think about the occasion

The occasion for which you're gifting the print can also play a role in choosing the right words. If it's for a specific occasion, such as a wedding or graduation, consider incorporating words that are relevant to the event. This could be a favourite love poem for a wedding gift, an inspiring quote or proverb/whakataukī for a graduation gift, wedding vows or wedding song for an anniversary, or an iwi/hapū specific karakia or waiata for someone embarking on their te reo Māori learning journey. By connecting the kupu to the occasion, you'll create a gift that is both timely and timeless.

Wedding Vows

3. Find an existing whakataukī/proverb that will resonate with the recipient

There is a wealth of beautiful whakataukī/whakatauākī/tongikura/peha (proverbs/sayings/figure of speech) for different types of contexts. We encourage you to do some research to find something that feels the most meaningful and appropriate for the occasion and will resonate with the recipient. Perhaps there is a whānau member or close friend that can help provide some options, or know of specific iwi or hapū proverbs.

Be cautious of using content from unreliable sources. There are many websites providing whakatuakī that contain errors or incorrect spellings, which can diminish the mana of the whakataukī. It's also essential to know if certain whakataukī are specific to a particular iwi or hapū, as it may not be appropriate to gift to someone from another iwi. Be respectful and considerate when using whakataukī and credit the original speaker/source, if known.

Below are a few reputable resources to help if you're not sure where to start:

resources whakatuaki


4. Consider adding a translation for Reo Māori prints

If you're choosing a hand-lettered print in Te Reo Māori, it may be thoughtful to consider adding a translation. Depending on the level of the recipient's knowledge of Te Reo Māori, it may be helpful to add an English translation to ensure that the meaning is clear or to encourage them on their learning journey. Including the translation and description of the words and their significance in a card can also be a nice alternative. We usually write any translation smaller and more subtle underneath the main text, however, you can decide how you want it when placing your order by letting us know in the extra details section.

Song Lyrics

5. Keep in mind the word limit for the size of the print

When choosing the words for your hand-lettered print, it's important to keep in mind the word limits. A4 size prints have a word limit of 50 words, while A3, A2, and A1 sizes have a word limit of 100 words. Keeping the word limit in mind will help you select the most important and meaningful words for your loved one's print, making it more impactful and memorable. If you're struggling to narrow down the text to fit within the word limit, consider focusing on a key phrase or quote that encapsulates the sentiment you want to express.


6. Use your own words

If you can't find the perfect quote or phrase, consider using your own words. Write a heartfelt message or a poem that expresses your feelings and sentiments. It will make the print even more special and unique.


7. Triple check the spelling and grammar

Make sure you proofread the text thoroughly to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors before ordering. We will write the text exactly as it is provided, so it is essential to ensure that everything is correct. We do not provide refunds if the error was your fault. If you need assistance with grammar, spelling, or translation services, please get in touch beforehand for a quote, and we can add that to your order.

Bonus Tip: Choose the Right Frame

Finishing off the look with the right frame can make a big difference to how the hand-lettered print is displayed and how it complements the recipient's home decor. Consider the colour and style of the frame to make sure it matches the recipient's style. A minimalist or modern aesthetic is the safest recommendation, such as a simple black, white, or wooden frame. This allows for the text to stand out and not be overwhelmed with a busy or overly large frame. The size of the frame should also fit the print perfectly. Find a local framer in your area to provide a quality frame, or find some more budget-friendly options at your local op shop, Spotlight, The Warehouse, or Kmart, or for a different look, try these poster hangers.


In summary, custom hand-lettered prints are a wonderful way to show your loved ones how much you care. By choosing the right words for the occasion and adding your personal touch, you can curate a gift that is both heartfelt and meaningful. With the resources and tips provided, you can be sure to create a truly unique and unforgettable gift that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Ready to order your special custom print? Head to the product page here. We look forward to creating your special taonga 🖤