SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books


Lettering is one of our many passions here at Adventures-In-Making. We are both trained in graphic design, so type, letters, fonts, etc. are all constantly floating around in our brains. Over the years, hand-lettering has become our obsession and a daily practice. Just like any skill, the only way to get good is to practice, practice, practice. Since we are compulsive doodlers, we tend to be practicing all the time.

Once of our favorite ways to practice is to page through a favorite book of lettering for inspiration and ideas. Since this month’s DIY Challenge theme is ‘Letters’ we thought we’d share some of our favorite sources for lettering inspiration.

Rachel’s Favorites

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

1. Logo, Font and Lettering Bible by Leslie Cabarga

This is a great book of reference for any graphic designer. And even better for anyone interested in letters. This book is bursting with inspiration, techniques and tips for the aspiring designer.

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorites Lettering Books

2. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Mike Perry

This book is a must-have for anyone interested in hand-lettering. Michael Perry showcases the work of tons of talented artists and designers. Some of my favorites are Kate Bingaman-BurtDeanne Cheuk, and Human Empire.

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

3. Handwritten: Expressive Lettering In The Digital Age by Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic

This is one of my favorite books for inspiration. A fun collection of posters, books, ads, etc., that all showcase beautifully crafted, hand-lettering.

SHOW+TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

4. Custom Lettering of the 60’s and 70’s edited by Rian Hughes

I have a huge soft spot for the colors and psychedelic, groovy style of the 1960’s and 1970’s. This book is a fantastic collection of lettering from the era.

SHOW+TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

Alison’s Favorites

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5. American Wood Type by Rob Roy Kelly

I was lucky enough to use Rob Roy’s collection of wood type at in college, and to have inherited this amazing collection of type samples. Reprints come up from time to time making this book more affordable- but even in used condition it is an amazing resource for type and lettering.

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6. The Art of the Letter by Doyald Young

…or any other book by Doyald Young, who was single handedly responsible for some of the most iconic logos that we grew up with (and typeface of course.) This book has break downs of his letter forms and stories about why he made the decisions he did.

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7. An A-Z of Type Designers by Neil Macmillan

This book is mainly focused on the biographies and essays of type designers over the years- but also includes samples of type from almost every era. Since I reference a lot of traditional typefaces in my work, it’s a great resource to have on hand.

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8. Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory

This one is all about eye-candy. It has sample lettering work from over 100 artists (including friends of the site, Jacqui and Scott Scoggin). Whenever I get in a lettering bind, all I have to do is flip through a couple of pages to get inspired to try a new style, new color, or new composition.

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(Not Shown – Sign Painters by Faythe Levine & Sam Macon which I raved about before.)

What books inspire you?