When beginning hand lettering, one of the best ways to start is to copy. This doesn’t mean necessarily re-drawing other people’s work, but having a type style to follow and compare your own drawings to helps a lot to troubleshoot any problems that you are having with wonky letter forms. These are the books that I used when starting out to help refine my lettering styles. All are free download PDFs. Some are also available in reprints, but they are all old enough that copyright laws have expired and printing them yourself is completely legal.
World of Logotypes Book
Scans of a book from the 1970s. Originally scanned by Eric Carl, includes thousands of logos organized alphabetically.
Includes various layout guidelines and lettering styles from 1954.
Almost all lettering styles, with a few layout suggestions towards the end. Very little descriptive text.
A very early sign painters book compared to most. Almost 100% art nouveau style lettering.
Almost 100% text, but describes old techniques for painting on various surfaces.
Mostly lettering samples with some tips on how to draw certain lettering styles
Focuses on grids, and step by step how to draw different lettering styles.
Claims to have 100 alphabets and designs, but that’s probably an exaggeration. About 50/50 text and images.
Seems to be more of a portfolio
for the designer than a book, but has many interesting art nouveau styles
Talks mainly about how to paint on glass, seems to be a primer from a sign painting school.
The Signist 1903All images, no/little text.
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