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Beautiful Handwriting Styles, Lettering and Calligraphy

Handwriting styles seems to have lost some of its attraction over the last years. Nobody writes beautiful handwritten letters, and uses digital means of communication with smileys, abbreviations and standard lettering instead. And that’s a pity. Since handwriting is unique, it has a tremendous expressive power a standard lettering isn’t able to achieve. [Links checked Oct/12/2016]

More than that, handwritten text can be incredibly gorgeous. In fact, there is nothing more valuable than a beautiful handwritten letter sent to your beloved ones. And this post attempts to prove just that.

In the overview below you’ll find excellent examples of beautiful handwriting, creative lettering and professional calligraphy. It’s really amazing to see what one can create out of simple letters drawn with a pencil on a small piece of paper.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Calligraphy Link

1800s Lettering Sketchbook Journal5
Beautiful calligraphy from 1800s.

Handwriting Styles - 1800s Lettering Sketchbook6

Experiment with photographic paper7
Written by Marina Marjina, a type designer and letterer from Russia.

Handwriting Styles - Experiment with photographic paper8
Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment _process29
Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_818110
Lettering and Handwriting - The sketch_fragment11

Claredon Press, Flower
A book cover from 1987. Published by Claredon Press. Created by Sheila Waters.

Lettering and Handwriting - Claredon Press, Flower

Cronica de los reyes catolicos, XVI century.
A Spanish manuscript from Berkeley, University of California, The Bancroft Library.

Lettering and Handwriting - Cronica de los reyes catolicos, XVI century.

Extra: Natasha Mileshina12
Natasha Mileshina’s work. Moscow, Russia.

Lettering and Handwriting - Extra: Natasha Mileshina13

Daily Type
Calligraphy by Vera Evstafieva.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

Pool Word14

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_857015

Tom Gourdie’s gallery
Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Tom Gourdie. Handwriting master’s pieces from 1980s.

Lettering and Handwriting -

French Notarial Handwriting16
From Michael Twyman’s 26 November 2007 presentation.

Lettering and Handwriting - French Notarial Handwriting17

Scripture and Calligraphy
By Denis Brown.

Lettering and Handwriting - Scripture, Denis Brown

Erin K. Nolan18

Lettering and Handwriting - Digeridoo Festival19

Handwriting Styles, Doodling and Lettering Link

British Ariways B/W Font
Alex Trochut’s work for British Airways. Sexy, sweet and beautiful lettering!

Lettering and Handwriting - British Ariways B/W Font

Panasonic Advertisement
The design by the agency Lowerporta from Chile. An advertisement for Panasonic digital devices.

Lettering and Handwriting

Art and Life20
Joei Lau’s project. Beautiful curves.

Lettering and Handwriting - Art and Life21

all the best22
Wishes from Ale Paul.

Lettering and Handwriting - happy holidays and wishes23
Lettering and Handwriting - all the best24

Estrella Levante Posters
Tasty typography!

Lettering and Handwriting - Estrella Levante Posters
Lettering and Handwriting - Estrella Levante Posters

Extraverage x The KDU25
Karoly Kiralyfalvi, graphic designer from Budapest, Hungary.

Lettering and Handwriting - Extraverage x The KDU26
Lettering and Handwriting - Lettering27
Lettering and Handwriting - Aquasky flyer28

Jeff Finley’s work.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typography

Split in Two29
Created by Pawel Janczarek.

Lettering and Handwriting - Split in Two30

Beautiful doodles from Austin, TX.

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_280932

By Yury Ostromentsky.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

takin’ it33
Lettering design by Jon Contino.

Lettering and Handwriting - taking it34

By Zeptonn, an illustrator from the Netherlands.

Lettering and Handwriting - R36

1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog37

Lettering and Handwriting - 1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog38 | inspiredology.com39

Lettering and Handwriting - | inspiredology.com40

Zapf Games 2005
By Alexander Utkin.

Lettering and Handwriting - Zapf Games 2005

Daily Type

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type


Lettering and Handwriting - inspiredology.com42

Lettering and Handwriting -

Lettering and Handwriting - Unit.nl43

D44aily Type45

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!46

Lettering and Handwriting -47


Lettering and Handwriting - zutto49


Lettering and Handwriting - STEREOTYPE51


Lettering and Handwriting - Typography

Arabic calligraphy52

Lettering and Handwriting - Arabic calligraphy | creativebits53

si scott design54

Lettering and Handwriting - si scott design55

Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +56

Lettering and Handwriting - Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +57


Lettering and Handwriting - timeless59

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Lettering and Handwriting -

Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine60

Lettering and Handwriting - Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine61

When Love Dies62

Lettering and Handwriting - When Love Dies63

Libertyland grand selection64

Lettering and Handwriting - Libertyland grand selection65

Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes – front cover66

Lettering and Handwriting - Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes - front cover67

Experiments with type Link

Type with light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typolight69

Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas70
By Marina Chaccur. “The 2006 online christmas card started being very real. In the beginning the letters were drawn by hand, then after the final layout was chosen, the white beads were arranged onto a paper with a very pale outline of the lettering. In the end, the paper was photographed, the image was altered in Photoshop, and the beads went back to the package.”

Lettering and Handwriting - Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas71
Lettering and Handwriting - Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas72
Flickr in Lights 273
Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 374
Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 275

Arabic Poesie76
Type and light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Poesie77

Caligrafia na pele78
Calligraphy on the body.

Lettering and Handwriting - La Grafía: Caligrafia na pele79

Daily Type
Hmmm, tasty!

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

Stephanie DeArmond – Gallery
Typographic sculptures.

Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery
Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery
Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery
Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery

Sources and Resources Link

Footnotes Link

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs front-end/UX workshops, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Christopher Hill

    April 7, 2008 1:59 am

    Calligraphy is nice to look at, but for any other purpose I always feel it is too hard to distinguish. It is generally too hard to read at a quick glimpse.

  2. 2

    like all the others – a great, fantastic post. thanks (i like the first one)

  3. 3

    bloody good!

  4. 4

    You guys post some great stuff, but how about splitting up your articles or editing some things out? A lot of your posts are just overwhelming. Too much to take in all at once.

  5. 5

    Arabic calligraphy looks great. Anyone got any tips on how to recreate something like it?

  6. 6

    BORING! we want posts about webdesign, tutorials and showcases of great websites. this doesnt get me anywhere…

  7. 8

    Posts like this are why I love this site.

  8. 9

    What about web design? I thought this site was about that.

  9. 10

    I don’t usually comment on here, but I want to balance out the discussion away from the naysayers. Typography is an essential part of good design. No true designer would bash typography the way some people here have today. Many thanks to Smashing Magazine for covering all aspects of aesthetically pleasing design, even the ones amateurs might scoff at and find boring. It was a great post, and very inspiring to me. Please post more content like this from time to time!

  10. 11

    @ mikemike: This is inspiration, which falls squarely in the realm of design. I for one would like to see even more inspirational posts. :)

  11. 12

    why does it tell me that the videos no longer exist?

  12. 13

    lovely post,
    esspecially the Arabic calligraphy part.
    such an unrecognized but just dope style.

  13. 14

    Some great stuff. On of my favorite typographers is John Langdon with his ambigrams. Really amazing work.

  14. 15

    dagobert renouf

    April 7, 2008 3:51 am

    Dope post.

    Really refreshing inspiration source.

  15. 16

    Just wanted to say that your posts, including this one are just amazing. A great source of inspiration. As a matter of fact I consider smashing magazine the best source of webdesign resources!

    To the rest of you guys, have any of you any idea what kind of font is used on Hostpattern ( logo? I am searching for few hours now without any success.

  16. 17

    Great post

    @ Hannes

    Your comment is boring! Ever thought about that you might draw a little inspiration out of posts like that which you could use in your webprojects? And dont say “we want” because its “you want”

  17. 18

    Absolutely stunning collection.. thanks for this.

  18. 19

    @ mikemike: you obviously do not frequent this site often enough to assume Smashing is only about webdesign.

    this post is wonderful! how the hell am i supposed to get anything done today now?

  19. 20

    I was disappointed that any examples from the Book of Kells were omitted. Kept at Trinity College in Dublin, the Book of Kells has numerous examples of European Biblical calligraphy at it finest.

  20. 21

    Fun post! Thanks.

  21. 22


    April 7, 2008 11:12 am

    Beutiful post, great smashingmagazine…

  22. 23

    Very nice post – some stunning examples of calligraphy.

    Thanks :)

  23. 24

    great post! thanks SM!

  24. 25

    The goobers unable to appreciate the value of an art form as richly textured and various as those shown here actually give goobers a bad name. I hope for their sakes that they’ve become capable of eptitude, for they seem certainly shielded from becoming educated.

    If incapable of appreciating what’s been gathered with so much obvious care and affection, go collect your own magazine, gather an audience, then hear how well we like what you’ve done. Therein lies the rub. That would take an educated person witih a various background to pull off.

    I have new appreciation for the depths of your shallowness.

  25. 26

    very nice.. gr8 effort…

  26. 27

    I’m dismayed that a Smashing Design would put together a list like this, yet have no mention of graphic design legend Tim Girvin ( He was one to champion translation of calligraphic design and storytelling to the brand/interactive/online space while most of us were still in grade school. Unforgivable.

  27. 28

    Massimo Nastasi

    April 7, 2008 4:21 pm

    Joei Lau is the creator of the Scriptina Font?

  28. 29

    Epic. Thanks.

  29. 30

    Very inspirational. Yesterday I saw this doodled type that I thought was pretty hot too. All such great pieces, thanks for sharing.

  30. 31

    Very inspirational post!

    Alex Trochut spoke at Sydney’s SP08 last weekend. His work has definitely inspired me to create my own typefaces, where possible.

  31. 32

    Tiago Gerken (Brasil)

    April 8, 2008 8:31 am

    Thank´s Smashing Magazine!

  32. 33

    If you don’t see how this post relates to web design and design in general then maybe you should get a new hobby.

    ps: That “10 ways to get a job” piece is amazing!

  33. 34

    sheila waters

    April 8, 2008 2:01 pm

    Clare(n)don Press Flower
    This is my artwork, executed in 1987 and was published in the book “Florilege” by Alain Mazeran, in two facing pages (74 and 75) of a diptych of winter and summer, the two using the whole poem of “The Idle Flowers” by Robert Bridges, the image above being the second side, representing “summer” the first half representing “winter”. It was never a cover. I was one of the two judges of the calligraphic artwork submitted for inclusion in “Florilege” (see page 154). I have not been credited here, nor on the 4 images gallery website, presumably being your source. In “Florilege” this work was noted as being copyrighted by The Clarendon Press (note spelling), Oxford, GB. I have no idea how Clarendon Press got hold of it, as publication in “Florilege” was the first, and only, publication of the diptych to my knowledge.
    I still own the original artwork and it is my copyright, no-one else’s. Please rectify omission of a credit to me as the artist and notify any publication source that has obtained it from you or that you send it to. Thank you.
    Sheila Waters
    April 8, 2008

    (SM) Thank you, Sheila, and sorry for any inconvenience! The article was updated.

  34. 35

    Roberta Seldon

    April 9, 2008 5:16 am

    Wonderful article! Very inspiring.

  35. 36

    Yeah man…. Alex Trochut rocks! again…..

  36. 37

    Right, three examples, but only one really credited to him. The one titled “Typography” and the Rolling Stone’s (Rolled Gold) cover are his as well.

  37. 38

    Blue Buffalo

    April 15, 2008 7:15 am

    Super talented artists – excellent collection of type.

  38. 39

    This is sooooo nice…

  39. 40

    They are amazing works.
    i am very much inspired by this

  40. 41

    ibrahim abu touq

    July 28, 2008 12:23 am

    nice , impressive . . . . hoping to see more

  41. 42

    ibrahim abu touq

    July 28, 2008 12:26 am

    the Arabic prototype is very bad , , , while other images are so creative

  42. 43

    deshpande prakash(pune)india

    August 14, 2008 10:15 pm

    First time i seen this type of beautiful-handwriting
    very nise!
    I want to add some example of devnagri scrip (marathi)lettering
    pl advice about this

  43. 44

    Although I am flattered that my acrylic painting from 2003 entitled, “Digeridoo Festival” was showcased in your article, you failed to request permission to use the image. The image was taken from my Flickr account without my consent or knowledge, despite being clearly marked as copyrighted.

    I still own the original artwork and it is my copyright, all rights reserved. Please rectify omission of a credit to me as the artist and notify any publication source that has obtained it from you or that you send it to.
    Thank you,
    Erin K. Nolan
    August 25, 2008

  44. 45

    UPDATE: Thank you for changing the link to “Didgeridoo Festival” to read “Erin K. Nolan.” I appriciate you kind follow-through and cooperation!

    (SM) Thank you, Erin, indeed, the article was updated.

  45. 46

    I have never seen such an exciting and awesome works before in my life. Its looks so good and crazy and these people who have done these calligraphy work, I think they have a very deep creativity. These may be preserved as a memorable work of these guys who made it.

    I wish these people to grow furthur in there life on calligraphy.

  46. 47

    ibrahim abu touq

    October 9, 2008 4:18 am

    very nice site

  47. 48

    ibrahim abu touq

    November 1, 2008 4:29 am

    day by day i find more materpieces at this unique site

  48. 49

    I love the old manuscripts.

    Does anyone know of Photoshop tutorials to help clean up calligraphy for digital printing? I don’t know the program terribly well and most of the tutorials aren’t focused on hand lettering. When I need to scan lettering, I spend more time cleaning smudges and smoothing lines than creating the original work! I would appreciate any help.

  49. 50

    I cannot believe how wonderful these are!
    The “R” one is super cool.
    Great Web page, it really inspired me!

  50. 51

    i dont know white handwriting is the best

  51. 52

    Hi from Estonia :) .. wow, super! :) very beautiful pics! … it’s also hard work to do smth like this. Väga kaunid pildid! :)

  52. 53

    Karl Petersen

    April 27, 2009 8:51 pm

    Gee, I read the whole thing. I started hand composing for letterpress sixty years ago and stopped when I found how difficult it was to have fonts designed and cut for what I really wanted to print. The love of typography is still there, and I guess I waited long enough to do it digitally!! Is there a senior’s discount for typography classes on line?

  53. 54

    I love calligraphy , i u too love it

  54. 55

    Nice stuff there. I love handwriting as art perhaps all the more b/c my own handwriting is such a disaster! The Magic Calligraphy was amazing. That guy writes more beautifully upsidedown than i do rightsideup!

  55. 56

    Shahed S Sabir

    January 12, 2010 1:16 am

    Simply amazing!!!!

  56. 57


  57. 59

    hey ! your magazine is superb .
    u all rock it .
    may god bless u all .

  58. 61

    Great post! So many excellent calligraphers here.


  59. 62

    John Widmark

    May 31, 2010 5:07 pm

    Wow! Inspiring calligraphy and typography styles.

    I did this kind of art since my younger days and I thought that my styles aren’t good. But now that I see styles and art similar to mine posted here, I think now I will be proud of my own art as it should be.

    Thanks everyone!

  60. 63

    amazing collection……..i like to suggest to post some more designs.

  61. 64

    i love everybodygood handwriting.

  62. 65

    I like handwriting nice, my letter is now terrible bad.
    What can I do?

  63. 66

    This is BANGLADESHI Singer. Nazmul Kavir, I lIKE SONG & nice handwriting , my letter is now terrible bad.
    What can I do for develop?
    nAZmul Kavir

  64. 67

    it’s very tough to write like this

  65. 68

    Any freelancer willing to take up jobs?

  66. 69

    awsome maann !!!!!!!! really necer saw sm off such hanriting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  67. 70

    Roshan poudel

    July 22, 2011 6:54 pm

    Yo,its a good collection but please give us available writing tips which are cool but not fancy

  68. 71

    Roshan poudel

    July 22, 2011 6:55 pm

    Yo,its a good collection but please give us available writing tips

  69. 72

    I Love this very much >3

  70. 73

    great but i thought i can learn how to write in all of them types of style and it was quite hard

  71. 74

    its very beautiful how to lern in computer

  72. 75

    wonderful site thnks for for this site

  73. 76

    ahmad zafar kharal

    November 6, 2011 5:26 am

    i like this collection and your taste

  74. 77

    im just learning so free materials to help learn would be great . beautiful work that ive seen so far.

  75. 78

    I like the entire Presentation of calligrafy. I also want to learn the way of creative writing.

  76. 79

    Great work!

  77. 80

    Awesome. Kudos to creativity of calligraphers.

  78. 81



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