04 February 2013

Hand Drawn Type (and why it needs publicity)

   I've always been infinitely jealous of people who have this talent. To be able to render words with the clarity of a machine is a skill that I don't think is nearly publicized enough. When we are younger, good penmanship is always stressed but never for the right reasons. We have to lean cursive and honestly, how useful was it? Compare that to this for just a second and think, "That looks way cooler and could definitely be useful to me now." Hand typography and calligraphy are like lost arts in today's society and that just bothers me. I wish there was a class somewhere in this school where we could learn how to do this because it just blows me away with the level of detail. I'm assuming the key to it comes from lots and lots of practice along with having reasonable artistic skills.
   There are scores upon scores of blogs and such on Tumblr that can give you more examples of beautiful work like this. We as the next generation of designers should try and spread awareness of just how awesome this skill is and try to do it ourselves. Before this class I had no idea how much effort was put into the creation of words and letters. People outside of our field find this science and craft typically boring or confusing so it should become part of our responsibility to show just how awesome and important all of this is. If everyone in the world had just a little bit of this skill, we will have drastically reduced the number of chicken-scratch writers out there, myself included.


  1. I am a huge fan of handwritten typography just like this & desire the same skill as well. I feel like if there was a class on this it would force me to try it more because the only way to get better is with practice; yet i find it extremely discouraging when trying to start at my level of "skill" with this art. I love seeing the work of type foundries like House & it really intrigues my interest in type even more!

    1. There was a nice article on a vintage Speedball, pen & ink handlettering set from the 40's, over on the Imprint blog the other day—you may want to check it out.

  2. I love handwritten typography. When I see really great pieces of artwork my mind traces back to tattoos or street/graffiti art. I would love to know how to hand draw type and whip up something out of air effortlessly. I don't know but maybe in the future I'll dedicate myself to such a great skill.

  3. You guys might also be interested in this short doc on Vimeo.

  4. I think hand-drawn type is such a beautiful thing. It's amazing to me what people can see or think up in their heads, then put down on paper. Another really awesome video with hand-drawn type: http://vimeo.com/56019243

  5. I can't imagine all of the skill these people must posses and the steady hand to create needed to make in successful. This reminds me of a great etsy page I found that has a creation of a word within the folded pages of a book, granted its not handwritten, but I like the development of a typeface without the means of computers.

  6. Hand drawn type is something I've gotten into the past year also. I know I can't do it with the precision of the examples above so I take a more illustrative approach to it.

    The thing that I love about hand drawn work is that you can see that it comes from another person. You can tell where something may be just slightly off. That's where the beauty is in it.

    Margret Kilgallen got me interested in it all. This is a PBS piece on her from probably 11 or 12 years ago.

  7. I've always had a loove for handwritten type as well. I agree with you that a class would be so helpful to find out how to do something that cool. I had just asked John in class the other day how people do things like that and I was surprised it was mostly hand made. It looks so beautiful and perfect I definitely thought it was done on a computer! It makes me happy though because sometimes I think we get away from the real craft when we use the computer so much for designs. Its nice to see people use their own handmade aspects as well.

  8. This is one of the artforms that I love most and it seems like it's becoming more and more popular not only with artists, but it modern decor as well.

  9. I love hand drawn type and handmade fonts they are so fantastic! Handmade fonts really feel like there was a lot of time and effort put into them. When I look at design I defiantly drawn to design that looks more handmade.