Hand to Type

Scripts, Hand-Lettering and Calligraphy

Hand to Type was commissioned by Gestalten publishers in Berlin – but it was the kind of book I’d had in mind for a while. Not just a coffee-table book about about attractive script-style lettering and fonts, but a somewhat more in-depth look at the way these lettershapes made it into printing and beyond, and how handwriting was adapted into digital products and smart fonts. Part of it is a portfolio section of calligraphy and lettering by a few dozen designers and artists – the formula that made Gestalten books so successful – and this section is introduced by a series of interviews with some of my favorite people in the alphabetic arts. In order to stretch the book’s scope, I added a couple of segments about the background of scripts, and about production methods. I invited several experts to contribute a concise introduction on non-Latin writing systems and regional scripts: from Indian, Japanese, Cyrillic and Arabic to the German Kurrentschrift, Dutch pub window lettering and the development of lettering styles at Hallmark Card. The other segment was a series of double pages introducing techniques of making handwriting and sketches in to digital lettering and fonts.