Scott Hull Associates artists share how an infinite variety of feelings can come out of 26 measly characters.
“Type has always been my passion. When I was a senior in high school, I used to steal my older sister’s type specimen catalogs (she was a graphic design student) and use it to draw posters mimicking the endless styles of type. Our local Kroger store even had me painting their front windows and mirrors in the meat department with ad specials and holiday messages. When I went to college, I was introduced to the craft of typesetting and ligature design, so when I graduated as a designer, I treated type in a more formal, classic Bauhaus style.
- Lisa Ballard
“Few things can brand a product, business or service like a custom hand-lettered logotype. Illustrative lettering is the perfect balance between design sensibilities and illustration. A unique personality and identity can be imbued from illustrated letterforms that a standard typeface could never achieve.” – Von Glitschka
“I always feel like the odd man out in illustration cause I never planned on being an illustrator. In college, I wanted to make logos, brochures and even brand guidelines. So, when I stumbled into the world of illustration, I still approach things with the mindset of a graphic designer. Type is second nature to me, so I always want to fine excuses to use it in my illustration. It might not always be lettering, but even some smart selections of a few classic typefaces can really make an illustration sing.” – Mikey Burton
“I love the natural visual play that exists between words and images. Reading and writing was my gateway to drawing. Some of the first images I ever drew were inspired by pictures that formed in my mind while reading a story that I loved. I respect the power of and relationship between words and images. It only makes sense that in my work one of my favorite things to do is visually interpret the mood or amalgamate the literal meaning of a word into unique illustrative lettering.” – Dani Crosby
My type designer friends would laugh if I called myself a letterer, though being an illustrator who is also a designer it is natural that I apply the two. There’s a running joke with Sagmeister alumni that if the type is made from something else it’s too “Sagmeistery.” These visual trends come and go but what remains a playful tribute to our ability to customize, experiment and create.- Mark Pernice
“I’ve always been drawn to design, typography and art. My years spent as a designer and art director allowed me to explore the connection between them on many levels and ultimately informed my approach to illustration. I love to return to the play between the shapes and forms of type and the organic nature of illustration. Their combination offers up never ending possibilities.” – Lorraine Tuson
What the illustrative lettering artist brings to the table is the recognition of type as art. Once upon a time, all letterforms were created by people who could draw. So rather than assembling and contorting computer generated fonts, as the modern designer does, we approach the lettering design with type’s history in our DNA and the drawing ability to create a unique piece of lettering art.
- Mark Riedy
It never ceases to amaze me how many possibilities there are with hand-lettering. It’s just 26 characters, but you can get such a different feeling from a bold, quick stroke versus a thin, tidy one. Illustration doesn’t have to stop with an image. – Penelope Dullaghan
Lettering has always held a certain kind of hidden magic for me. Being a bookworm from an early age, I’ve devoured countless books, letting type subtly mingle together to create stories and ideas on the page. The ideas and pictures that combined in my head were more important than the type on the page. But now as an illustrator my role with words has evolved. Word and image don’t need to co-exist like an arranged marriage or fight for dominance– the lines are blurred and personality can also shine in letterforms and images alike. My voice becomes stronger the more I play with both, and realize the countless possibilities. – Meg Hunt