Historical Calligraphy Collection

Historical lettering styles for book titling, ad campaigns and more

Historical Styles of pen calligraphy for movie and film titles and advertising campaignsHistorical calligraphy styles for a book covertraditional calligraphy for a series of wine labels, Merlot, Sauvignon,white ZinfandelHistorical gothic calligraphy for the Hunchback of Notre Dame, book cover title conceptsHistorical pen calligraphy for fantasy book and film titling, including Buffy the Vampire SlayerElegant styles of historical lettering for book and film titling

Historical Calligraphy Collection

I learned calligraphy from many wonderful masters who taught me how to dip my pen in ink and make a blob into a letter. I also learned to cut quills. Today I blend old knowledge with new to create title designs and campaign lettering that has an authentic historical character. I no longer bake my feathers in hot sand (do you know how many feathers you can go through before you get one perfectly cured?) but for historical calligraphy I use my pens in much the same way as the scribes of old.

Some of the projects in this collection show the evolution of a title concept, the explorations that lead to unique and unexpected work. Historical calligraphy is used for the fantasy genre in books and film but also as titling for documentaries. I have had some surprising commissions for advertising design, including a racy campaign for Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas. Only one of the headlines, the third sample above, was not x-rated – who knew Blackletter, the traditional choice for church psalters – was sexy?? Historical styles can also be wonderful used in parody, as in this project I did as ghostwriter for Jon Stewart’s book Earth. Here the character writes of his home room romance in the hand of a besotted schoolboy:Historical style of quill handwriting used in parody for Jon Stewart's Earth


Definitely a note written in this way can glamorize the past and ‘maketh memory a fairyland.’ Consider historical styles of calligraphy the next time you want to say something different about time, tradition, or modern lyfe.

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