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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 14
Beautiful calligraphy from 1800s.

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

Experiment with photographic paper_03
Written by Marina Marjina, a type designer and letterer from Russia.

Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment with photographic paper_03figure/a>

Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment _process2
Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_8181
Lettering and Handwriting - The sketch_fragment

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 Mileshina
Natasha Mileshina’s work. Moscow, Russia.

Lettering and Handwriting - Extra: Natasha Mileshina

Daily Type
Calligraphy by Vera Evstafieva.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

Pool Word

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_8570

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

Lettering and Handwriting -

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

Lettering and Handwriting - French Notarial Handwriting

Scripture and Calligraphy
By Denis Brown.

Lettering and Handwriting - Scripture, Denis Brown

Erin K. Nolan

Lettering and Handwriting - Digeridoo Festival

Handwriting, 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 Life
Joei Lau’s project. Beautiful curves.

Lettering and Handwriting - Art and Life

all the best
Wishes from Ale Paul.

Lettering and Handwriting - happy holidays and wishes
Lettering and Handwriting - all the best

Estrella Levante Posters
Tasty typography!

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

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

Lettering and Handwriting - Extraverage x The KDU
Lettering and Handwriting - Lettering
Lettering and Handwriting - Aquasky flyer

Jeff Finley’s work.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typography

Split in Two
Created by Pawel Janczarek.

Lettering and Handwriting - Split in Two

Beautiful doodles from Austin, TX.

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_2809

By Yury Ostromentsky.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

takin’ it
Lettering design by Jon Contino.

Lettering and Handwriting - taking it

By Zeptonn, an illustrator from the Netherlands.

Lettering and Handwriting - R

1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog

Lettering and Handwriting - 1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog |

Lettering and Handwriting - |

Zapf Games 2005
By Alexander Utkin.

Lettering and Handwriting - Zapf Games 2005

Daily Type

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

Lettering and Handwriting -

Lettering and Handwriting -

Lettering and Handwriting -

Daily Type

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Lettering and Handwriting -


Lettering and Handwriting - zutto


Lettering and Handwriting - STEREOTYPE


Lettering and Handwriting - Typography

Arabic calligraphy

Lettering and Handwriting - Arabic calligraphy | creativebits

si scott design

Lettering and Handwriting - si scott design

Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +

Lettering and Handwriting - Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +


Lettering and Handwriting - timeless

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Lettering and Handwriting -

Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine

Lettering and Handwriting - Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine

When Love Dies

Lettering and Handwriting - When Love Dies

Libertyland grand selection

Lettering and Handwriting - Libertyland grand selection

Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes – front cover

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

Experiments with type Link

Type with light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typolight

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

Flickr in Lights 2

Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 3
Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 2

Arabic Poesie
Type and light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Poesie

Caligrafia na pele
Calligraphy on the body.

Lettering and Handwriting - La Grafía: Caligrafia na pele

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

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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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

    bloody good!

  2. 2

    Great post, for anyone thinking of improving their day-to-day penmanship, I found this site – full of resources:

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

    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!

  5. 5

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

  6. 6

    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.

  7. 7

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

  8. 8

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

  9. 9

    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.

  10. 10

    dagobert renouf

    April 7, 2008 3:51 am

    Dope post.

    Really refreshing inspiration source.

  11. 11

    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.

  12. 12

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

  13. 14

    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.

  14. 15

    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”

  15. 16

    Absolutely stunning collection.. thanks for this.

  16. 17

    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:

  17. 18

    Posts like this are why I love this site.

  18. 19

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

  19. 20

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

  20. 21

    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

  21. 22

    @ 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?

  22. 23

    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.

  23. 24

    Fun post! Thanks.

  24. 25

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

  25. 26

    Beutiful post, great smashingmagazine…

  26. 27

    Very nice post – some stunning examples of calligraphy.

    Thanks :)

  27. 28

    very nice.. gr8 effort…

  28. 29

    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.

  29. 30

    Massimo Nastasi

    April 7, 2008 4:21 pm

    Joei Lau is the creator of the Scriptina Font?

  30. 31

    Epic. Thanks.


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