The Art Of Hand Lettering
Hand lettering has taken the world by storm. It has become the beautiful connection — a juxtaposition — between design and words. The letter forms in the typography have been broken down into their shapes, flourishes, and textures.
Hand lettering speaks volumes. This is an art form which allows us to see the space between the letters, and the style of the lettering as a piece of art that can deeply evoke emotions and bring meaning — nostalgia, happiness, joy, and love.
I’ve selected some of the hand lettering artists whose work continues to speak strongly and boldly of this beautiful way of creating art. Art that moves us to feel, to act, to be, to believe, to participate, and to belong. That is exactly what art does. It connects us all to the common thread between us. It is a game of connect-the-dots. We see patterns, themes, and feel emotions when art stops us — and moves us. Calligraphy — or hand lettering — can do all of this. Here are some of the best hand letterers around.
Thiago Bellotti’s Hand Lettering
Among other hand lettering artists, Thiago Bellotti’s skills include his beautiful Victorian lettering. His work is highly detailed and full of brush lettering, swashes and flourishes.
Andy’s hand lettering is a script that has a impressive typographical structure. The details and architecture of his letters are just beautiful.
Valerie McKeehan is the creative director and founder of Lily & Val. She is also the author of The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering. Valerie’s works primarily in chalk — her work is worth checking out!
Dinara Mirtalipova is a hand lettering artist who has a unique style of her own. She’s a self-taught illustrator and designer who has even worked at American Greetings — she is now a freelance designer. Her work has a beautiful hand-written feel that cannot be ignored.
Nathan Douglas Yoder
Nathan is a hand lettering artist, illustrator and animator. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that his work is mostly inspired by the vintage charm.
Lindsay Sherbondy is a hand lettering artist based in Wisconsin. Her hand lettering can be found on book covers as well as in her retail store. You may have already seen her beautiful work on one of Shauna Niequist’s books.
Ken is a typeface designer at the illustrious House Industries, known for their beautiful fonts.
Ruth Simmons Chou
Ruth Simmons Chou’s work has a modern take on the traditional pen and nib style of lettering. She combines this with her gorgeous watercolor paintings to create her pretty style.
Joseph Alessio is a hand lettering artist whose work is simply stunning. He can really turn objects like pennies, snow, and more beautiful works of art.
Molly is perhaps the quintessential hand lettering artist. She is a veteran and teaches calligraphy workshops to thousands around the world in her calligraphy workshops. She has corporate clients and her workshops are booked solid. Well, no wonder — just look at her impressive talent.
Andreas Hansen is a hand lettering artist from Denmark. His style is a brush lettering script with a black ink vibe. Impressive!
Jessica is an iconic letterer, illustrator, type designer, and author. She is best known for her personal projects, like “Daily Drop Cap.” She is a lettering icon — a true veteran in the field who is always coming up with new visions for the future of lettering.
Neil is a hand lettering artist with a hand-drawn type style. The typeforms he has created are simply stunning. A true art form — wouldn’t you agree?
Kal Barteski is an amazing artist and brush script lettering artist. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and education. Her work is often described as “meaningful, authentic, and poetic.” She believes in art’s power to connect and heal, and has created art for charities. Highly inspiring!
Zachary Smith’s hand lettering has a very hipster feel to it. Like a trip up the mountains with a warm mug of hot chocolate in your hand. It’s a vintage, rubber-stamp pad, meets hand lettered in pencil style.
Karla Lim is based in Vancouver, Canada, but loves that her work can travel all over the world. She specializes in heirloom wedding invitations and calligraphy.
Ian Barnard is an artist who created the beautiful font named “Outbound”. His work is beautifully scripted and has an adventure-seeking vibe, with a faith-based feel.
Minna is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and designer. Her work is a playful hand-written style. She specializes in hand lettering, and illustrative designs. Her work has been featured with notable clients like Pinterest.
Max Pirsky is an up-and-coming hand lettering artist. His work is lively and full of gusto with lots of Jackson Pollock-style paint splatters. His work is just satisfying to look at.
Lauren started out as a hobbyist, then turned her etsy shop into a real business, working from home, after teaching herself calligraphy and working with brands she loves on her blog.
Julie Song is an illustrator, calligrapher and lettering artist based in the Bay Area in California. Her work has also featured in several books, including How to Style Your Brand written by Fiona Humberstone. Her work is worth checking out!
Scott is a NY hand lettering artist with decidedly vintage-style lettering skills. His work ranges from vector artwork to hand-drawn typeforms. His script is beautiful and the connecting flourished details make it unique.
Melissa teaches some great online calligraphy classes. She’s a hand lettering artist that has been around for a while. She is well known for her classes in the calligraphy and hand lettering circle.
Matt is a hand lettering artist who uses any medium — even markers to create his hand lettering art. Matt’s style has a very street quality to it. It’s got flourishes that are quick and urban.
Alison is a hand lettering artist that has her work in print as well as on book covers. Based in London, she studied Graphic Design at Ravensbourne college of design. She has been working commercially for about 15 years winning many industry accolades. Her work is full of romantic flourishes and free-spirited strokes.
Bryan Patrick Todd
Bryan is a hand letterer and muralist who creates large-scale lettering projects with a vintage vibe.
Tara Royer Steele
I believe that Tara Royer Steele has the best handwriting. She has covered her charming bakery with encouraging quotes and words. Even the bathroom walls are full of uplifting quotes! Her chalkboards feature an ever-changing plethora of wise words, catchy sayings, scripture, and inspiration.
Paul von Excite
Paul is a logo specialist, lettering maniac, typography killer and branding expert. That’s right: all in one.
Luke Choice uses bold, bright colors in his hand lettering for a very cool style. He also uses a brush and grunge style that combines a chrome-look for a highly stylized feel that looks like melted and liquid type.
Lisa is an author, fine artist, author and illustrator who is known for her colorful abstract paintings, intricate line drawings, pattern design and hand lettering. Her work is very cheerful, colorful, and unique.
Mateusz has a beautiful hand-drawn style to his hand lettering. It has an almost gothic lettering style reminiscent of the old vintage letterers. Take a look!
The combination of upper and lowercase letters really makes Jess’ work shine, and her flourished cursive hand lettering will make you swoon.
João has a very beautiful style of hand lettering. It is very unique, stylized, and lovely.
McKenzie Elizabeth Ditter
McKenzie Elizabeth Ditter has a unique style of hand lettering and illustrations. She even self-published the amazing hand lettered and illustrated “The ABCs of Homesteading” — a children’s book every homesteading family will want on their shelves. She’s a regular contributor to taproot magazine (a lovely magazine for homesteaders), and she supports many causes with her work.
Jason is a hand lettering artist based in Toronto. His work features lots of details and flourishes. Very modern and worth checking out!
Mary Kate McDevitt
Here’s a pioneer in the hand lettering industry. Mary Kate is an author, illustrator, and hand lettering artist. Her work is very iconic; you may probably already know it is her work by the way she letters. She uses bold colors, lots of design elements, and vintage style in her lettering.
Jay has a unique style of hand lettering. He uses bold colors, lots of flourishes, and bright styles.
Back in 2013, Danielle combined her love of lettering, design, photography, and eating to create food typography. Her work is internationally regarded as both innovative and mouth watering, inspiring new trends in social campaigns, advertising, and motion. Her work is incredible! You have to view the videos of her working with food to create hand lettering art.
Sean McCabe is a hand lettering artist that also teaches classes called Learn Lettering, and how to build and grow a sustainable business. Sean’s style is pencil and ink and sketches, as well as digital. He is a true teacher and loves to help others.
Alissa Mazzenga is the owner of Feast Fine Art & Calligraphy and is known for her work to be fluid, painterly, and very traditional. She’s a big fan of using calligraphic and illustrative techniques.
Eric is a hand lettering artist based in San Francisco, California. He does great collaborations and has a distinctive style.
Caitlin started her shop as a hobby and it grew to the shop it is today known as Lettered Life. Her flourished script is refreshing and modern. She has her work on published books, calendars, and more. I love how she uses her beautiful lettering to share her faith.
Drew is a hand lettering artist with work that is in the style of the old vintage sign painters. Incredible talent!
Stephanie Ackerman’s hand lettering doesn’t really an introduction, as she is a staple in the hand lettering world. But here is about her page collage.
Sean is a hand lettering artist based in Michigan. His work is a mix of letterforms and and more. The swashes in his lettering are old school type forms and have a very vintage vibe.
It’s been a pleasure sharing some of my favorite hand lettering artists. Hand lettering is an art form that creates art from mere words. See what you feel when you see different types, letterforms,and hand lettering styles when you are out and about in the world. Notice when you are at a restaurant, and the menu is hand lettered in a flourished script — how does it resonate with you? That’s the art of hand lettering at it’s best.
Further Reading on Smashing Magazine
- “Brush Lettering: It Only Gets Better After Practice (Part 1),” Alma Hoffmann
- “Understanding The Difference Between Type And Lettering,” Joseph Alessio
- “How To Get Started With Sketchnotes,” Elisabeth Irgens
- “40 Beautiful Examples Of Hand Drawn Typography,” Steven Snell