Alphabet Road Trip | the blog of Iskra Design

The Hidden Man: Custom Historical Script for a Book Cover

Here is a new book cover for The Hidden Man demonstrating the use of historical hand-lettered script. I did this with a pointed metal nib and ink on charcoal paper.


Below are a couple of other versions with notes on the process. Because this is hand done calligraphy it can be customized in ways not possible when working with a font.


Custom script pen variations


Double letters are always tricky, and d’s especially. How to make the most of them, yet remain legible? These are two of the more complex variations for a double d.


Historical script hand lettering by iskra


Subtle refinements, experimenting with different ways of treating the H to balance the loops on the d’s, letting the handwriting evolve and see how the negative space between lines can be adjusted for the best balance.


Historical lettering for a book cover


This was actually my favorite version. It is done with a transitional pen that gives a little more weight overall. The trade-off is that it is less intimate, and loses some of the handwriting character of writing with thinner strokes. The loops were also a problem for legibility at a distance, and weren’t quite right for the character that the title typography needed to express.
Custom historical calligraphy © Iskra Design