The lettering tradition

Core texts

Ewan Clayton, The golden thread. Atlantic Books, 2013

Nicolete Gray, A history of lettering: creative experiment and letter identity. Phaidon, 1986


Useful references

Donald M. Anderson, The art of written forms: The theory and practice of calligraphy. Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc, 1969

Edward M. Catich, The origin of the serif. St Ambrose University, 1968 (1st ed.) and 1991 (2nd ed.)

Hermann Degering, Lettering: Modes of writing in Western Europe from antiquity to the eighteenth century. Ernest Benn Ltd, 1965 (first ed. 1929)

Adrian Frutiger, Schriften des Abendlandes in Holztafeln geschnitten / Bois originaux illustrant l’évolution de l’ écriture en Occident / The development of Western type carved in wood plates. Syndor Press, 1996

Nicolete Gray, Lettering as drawing: the moving line. OUP, 1970

Michael Harvey, Carving letters in stone and wood. The Bodley Head, 1987

– “Inscription and type design: an investigation.” In Type v 2, no 1. ATypI,  1998

Graily Hewitt, Lettering for students & craftsmen. The Pitman Press, 1976 (first ed. 1930)

James Hutchinson, Letters. Herbert Press, 1983

Albert Kapr, The art of lettering: The history, anatomy, and aesthetics of Roman letterforms. K. G. Saur, 1983

Hans Eduard Meier, Die Schriftenwicklung / The development of script and type / Le développment des charactères. Syntax Press, 1994

Stanley Morison, Politics and script: Aspects of authority and freedom in the development of Graeco-Latin script from the sixth-century BC. OUP, 2000 (first ed. 1972)

Alexander Nesbitt, Lettering: There history and technique of lettering as design. Prentice-Hall, 1950

Rosemary Sassoon, Creating letterforms: calligraphy and lettering: an introductory guide. Thames & Hudson, 1992

Frances Spalding, “‘A true statement of real thing’: Nicolete Gray’s promotion of modern art.” In Typography Papers 3, 1998

Jan Tschichold, An Illustrated history of writing and lettering. Zwemmer, 1946

— Treasury of alphabets and lettering. Lund Humphries, 1992 (first ed. 1952)

Michael Twyman, “Nicolete Gray: a personal view of her contribution to the study of letterforms.” In Typography Papers 3, 1998



Wayne Hart’s letter-cutting workshop

Richard Grasby’s lecture and monographs: Processes in the making of Roman inscriptions, 1, 2, 8–11

James Mosley’s lecture on inscriptional lettering


[Back to the Seminar list]