For some back to school is one of the most exciting seasons of the year. For others…ehh, not so much. Regardless of your outlook, one thing remains the same: change. It’s time for new books, new supplies, new instructors (well, for the most part) and new ideas. SO! In honor of hitting the books — and my mild neurotic obsession with letter forms — I’m doing a short series of posts covering the art and craft of lettering. Broken down into three posts including: books, supplies, and craftsmen.
Over the past few years, I’ve been building my library of references on lettering whenever possible. Below are 5 books (in no particular order) from this collection that I have found to play an invaluable role in my continued education on this detail oriented trade. Most are available on Amazon, but a couple are out of print and may require some deeper digging. Whether you’re new to lettering or already have an understanding of the fundamentals, do yourself a favor and check these out!
Mastering Layout: On the Art of Eye Appeal
Mike Stevens / © 1986 / 10″ x 7.875″ / 127 pgs.
“You’ll notice the marked absence of tricks, special effects, and fad styles in this book. That absence is deliberate. Tricks of the trade should be left to those whose education is yet to begin. Learning sound layout principles is best accomplished in the light of simplicity…unencumbered by embellishment that hides the real meat of the matter.”
- Foreword by Rick Straub
Fonts & Logos
Doyald Young / © 1999 / 9.25″ x 12.25″ / 385 pgs.
“I have spent my career drawing letters, studying type, and teaching. Demonstration is one of the most effective ways to teach. So is explanation, and so is the act of directing the viewer’s gaze to see that which is not readily apparent. Fonts & Logos is about these things, how to get started, and the declaration of the joy of drawing.”
- Doyald Young
Lettering for Advertising
Mortimer Leach / © 1956 / 9″ x 11.75″ / 227 pgs.
“After many years of teaching at Art Center School, Los Angeles, I have accumulated records of the most common mistakes and misinterpretations made by the average beginner. This experience has been extremely helpful to me in presenting an analysis of letter forms; it is my hope that it will be equally valuable to the reader in helping him to avoid these mistakes from the beginning.”
- Mortimer Leach
1000 Practical Show Card Layouts & Color Sketches
H.C. Martin / © 1928 / 8″ x 10.5″ / 240 pgs.
“The object of this book is to make show card writing more lucid, to give a better scope of the work entailed, and, at the same time, giving a solid fundamental knowledge of the underlying principles. The result is this bench manual which covers ground never before attempted in any other book offered to the trade.”
- H.C. Martin
Custom Lettering of the 40’s & 50’s
Rian Hughes / © 2010 / 9″ x 9.125″ / 574 pgs.
“Looking back at this period, some may find it a surprise that many lettering artists were also consummate illustrators — and that many a high-profile illustrator could also render their own lettering. It seems that a broad range of skills was the norm rather than the exception for the successful commercial artist, and the cohesive harmony of many of the examples featured here that incorporate both type and image pay tribute to these artistic all-rounders.”
- Rian Hughes