The beautiful, hand-lettered chalk-board signs popping up everywhere have helped start a hand-lettering craze, with how-to and inspiration books in abundance. While creating a unique typographic style may seem daunting at first, the following books will help those new to hand-lettering overcome the idea that creating beautiful letters are only for professionals with fancy design programs. While leading design and typography professionals can offer beautiful examples of what we can do with letters and words, these books show that anyone can make typographic art with a little bit of patience and a lot of trial and error.
Typography Sketchbooks ed. Steven Heller, shows the design processes of leading typographers and letterers. It offers a unique window into how these individuals come up with their ideas, from pencil on paper sketches to finished product. It also shows their mistakes and how something amazing can come from a few simple lines. In Progress offers a similar view and inspiration but shows the additional steps of moving from pencil sketches to vectors in those fancy design programs. Creative Lettering And Beyond is an excellent primer in beginning your own journey in creative lettering, with plenty of examples, projects, and useful information on letter design. Adventures in Lettering: 40 Exercises & Projects to master Your Hand-Lettering Skills takes hand-lettering to the next level, helping you further develop your skills and unique style.
Besides creative lettering, there are several excellent books on calligraphic lettering that can help you improve and expand your daily handwriting. Simple Stroke Calligraphy offers an excellent primer on basic calligraphic scripts using traditional models and methods. Simply Calligraphy is a more low-key approach to calligraphy scripts and comes in an attractive, minimalist guidebook format. Modern Calligraphy and Hand-Lettering combines traditional scripts with modern methods and uses in beautiful ways.
Just when the art of handwriting and lettering seems most precarious to the usurpation of type and digital communication, these books showcase the immense pleasure and beauty capable in doing things by hand. In no time (or just in time for the holiday season), you’ll be excited to show off your handiwork on cards, invitations, and personal notes. Go forth and letter on!
For other books on hand-lettering and handwriting, check out this handy SPL booklist!
~posted by Veronica H.