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Beautiful Handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy

Handwriting 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.

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.

For further typographic inspiration you can browse through our previous posts

Calligraphy Link

1800s Lettering Sketchbook:Journal 144
Beautiful calligraphy from 1800s.

Lettering and Handwriting - 1800s Lettering Sketchbook:Journal 14.jpg5

Experiment with photographic paper_036
Written by Marina Marjina, a type designer and letterer from Russia.

Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment with photographic paper_03figure/a>

Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment _process27
Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_81818
Lettering and Handwriting - The sketch_fragment9

Claredon Press, Flower10
A book cover from 1987. Published by Claredon Press. Created by Sheila Waters.

Lettering and Handwriting - Claredon Press, Flower11

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 Type14
Calligraphy by Vera Evstafieva.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type15

Pool Word16

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_857017

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

Lettering and Handwriting -

French Notarial Handwriting18
From Michael Twyman’s 26 November 2007 presentation.

Lettering and Handwriting - French Notarial Handwriting19

Scripture and Calligraphy20
By Denis Brown.

Lettering and Handwriting - Scripture, Denis Brown21

Erin K. Nolan22

Lettering and Handwriting - Digeridoo Festival23

Handwriting, Doodling and Lettering Link

British Ariways B/W Font24
Alex Trochut’s work for British Airways. Sexy, sweet and beautiful lettering!

Lettering and Handwriting - British Ariways B/W Font25

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

Lettering and Handwriting

Art and Life26
Joei Lau’s project. Beautiful curves.

Lettering and Handwriting - Art and Life27

all the best28
Wishes from Ale Paul.

Lettering and Handwriting - happy holidays and wishes29
Lettering and Handwriting - all the best30

Estrella Levante Posters31
Tasty typography!

Lettering and Handwriting - Estrella Levante Posters32
Lettering and Handwriting - Estrella Levante Posters33

Extraverage x The KDU34
Karoly Kiralyfalvi, graphic designer from Budapest, Hungary.

Lettering and Handwriting - Extraverage x The KDU35
Lettering and Handwriting - Lettering36
Lettering and Handwriting - Aquasky flyer37

Jeff Finley’s work.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typography39

Split in Two40
Created by Pawel Janczarek.

Lettering and Handwriting - Split in Two41

Beautiful doodles from Austin, TX.

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_280943

By Yury Ostromentsky.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type45

takin’ it46
Lettering design by Jon Contino.

Lettering and Handwriting - taking it47

By Zeptonn, an illustrator from the Netherlands.

Lettering and Handwriting - R49

1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog50

Lettering and Handwriting - 1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog51 | inspiredology.com52

Lettering and Handwriting - | inspiredology.com53

Zapf Games 2005
By Alexander Utkin.

Lettering and Handwriting - Zapf Games 2005

Daily Type54

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type55


Lettering and Handwriting - inspiredology.com57


Lettering and Handwriting - Sostav.ru59


Lettering and Handwriting - Unit.nl61

Daily Type62

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type63

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!64

Lettering and Handwriting -65


Lettering and Handwriting - zutto67


Lettering and Handwriting - STEREOTYPE69


Lettering and Handwriting - Typography71

Arabic calligraphy72

Lettering and Handwriting - Arabic calligraphy | creativebits73

si scott design74

Lettering and Handwriting - si scott design75

Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +76

Lettering and Handwriting - Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +77


Lettering and Handwriting - timeless79

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Lettering and Handwriting -

Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine80

Lettering and Handwriting - Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine81

When Love Dies82

Lettering and Handwriting - When Love Dies83

Libertyland grand selection84

Lettering and Handwriting - Libertyland grand selection85

Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes – front cover86

Lettering and Handwriting - Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes - front cover87

Experiments with type Link

Type with light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typolight89

Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas90
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 Christmas91
Lettering and Handwriting - Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas

Flickr in Lights 292

Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 393
Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 294

Arabic Poesie95
Type and light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Poesie96

Caligrafia na pele97
Calligraphy on the body.

Lettering and Handwriting - La Grafía: Caligrafia na pele98

Daily Type99
Hmmm, tasty!

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type100

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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SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

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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 responsive Web design workshops, online workshops 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

    bloody good!

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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

  5. 6

    Posts like this are why I love this site.

  6. 7

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

  7. 8

    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!

  8. 9

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

  9. 10

    What a surprise it was to see a page of my sketchbook on an RSS feed I read!
    Thanks. :)
    If it matters–my doodles are no longer from Austin, TX, as I live in NYC now.


    PS- is pretty interesting

  10. 11

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

  11. 12

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

  12. 13

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

  13. 14


    April 7, 2008 3:28 am

    Sorry for being the stick in the mud, but your RSS feed generally has some html problem in it. This time it’s an “Irreparable invalid markup (‘‘) in entry.”

    PS: Nice post, as usual. :)
    PPS: I don’t know how else to draw your attention to this without posting it in a comment. I hope you delete this after reading it.

  14. 15

    dagobert renouf

    April 7, 2008 3:51 am

    Dope post.

    Really refreshing inspiration source.

  15. 16

    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.

  16. 17

    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.

  17. 18

    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”

  18. 19

    Absolutely stunning collection.. thanks for this.

  19. 20

    I wrote my handwriting out, scanned it, sent it to my brother on the other side of the planet and he sent it back as a ttf.

    Fake my handwriting, if you like:

  20. 21

    @ 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?


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