NVPUBLCUBBAV -E BR^CH L BRAR.E
V3333 02374 81 10
THOMAS WOOD STEVENS
CARNEGIE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, PITTSBURGH
THE PRANG COMPANY
NEW YORK CHICAGO BOSTON ATLANTA DALLAS TORONTO
BY THOMAS WOOD STEVENS
PRANG LETTERING PENS
Specially suited for modern, round rapid lettering.
In tlude^siaes: * N, /, N*p. J, a
Per ^oetsi/aSioted^n I<M\ .
OLD ENGLisrf TVxr pi:jJs C;**
Ideal for BI*cJC tiika"nd 2f?U.tn^!isb Text writing.
Three sines? ,Ko. i^No,.*, and No. j.
Per dozerfj-aslci^etl ih bor *?**.*. 1 ijc,
A card carrying 6 pens, one each of the three sizrs of the
Spoon-Bill Pens, and one each of the three sizes of the
Old English Text Pens. Price ioc.
THE PRANG CO. NEW YORK . CHICAGO . BOSTON
THE -PLIMPTON -PRESS
NORWOOD MASS U-S-A
THIS book is designed to serve artists, craftsmen and students
who have lettering to make. It presents no "system of sign-
writing," and brings forward no mechanical method. Its
intention is to present good standards in styles applicable to
many fields of work, together with brief instructions regard-
ing the drawing of letters.
The text matter is written primarily for the student; the experienced
craftsman will not read it. He is only concerned with the examples
presented. So we may set down the most elementary matters, explaining
the uses of tools and materials, and giving an account of those historical
conditions of work which have marked our alphabets. Our object, in
short, is to develop the idea of lettering in relation to the element of design,
the decorative element, which it contains, and to the historical phases
which have made it what it is. Beyond this, we shall try to point out the
best manner of executing and using the plainer forms.
Many of the drawings and certain parts of the text appeared in a pre-
vious work, now long out of print. The author is still grateful to the artists
who contributed them, and newly grateful to those who have added fresh
work to the present issue.
A special acknowledgment should be made to Mr. Harry Lawrence
Gage, head of the Department of Printing, Carnegie Institute of Tech-
nology. Mr. Gage has applied himself to the making of many new draw-
ings, diagrams and alphabets; has contributed many vital ideas to text
and arrangement, and has brought to the work pafience, learning and high
T. w. s.
I. TOOLS AND MATERIALS 13
II. THE DRAWING OF LETTERS 19
III. ROMAN CAPITALS 27
IV. ROMAN SMALL LETTERS 55
V. ITALICS ... 77
VI. THE GOTHIC FORMS 9 1
VII. THE PRACTICAL PROBLEM 104
VIII. PHASES OF LETTER DESIGN no
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Roman Capitals with a strong classical feeling. By Theodore Brown Hapgood 12
2. Roman Capitals from Renaissance sources. By Harry Lawrence Gage 15
3. Head-piece. By Charles H. Barnard 16
4. Proportions of margins and plan of ruling for book-opening and single sheet . . 17
5. Modern Roman Capitals. By Charles H. Barnard iS
6. Title page showing a written letter in relation to pen drawing. By Walter Crane 20
7-n. Diagram showing progressive steps in drawing and inking
12. Diagram for opening 23
13. Roman capitals written with a wide pen. By Harry Lawrence Gage 24
14. Italic "swash" letters founded on sixteenth century Italian work . 25
15. Roman Capitals adapted from coins and medals. By T. W. S. 26
16. The formation of the serif by right and left chisel cuts in an incised Roman ....
17. Diagram showing structural differences between letters of similar shape . .... 29
18. Modern Roman Capitals. By Harry E. Toamsend 3'
19. Modern Roman Capitals. By William A. Daiiggins ... 33
20. Modern Roman Capitals. By F. G. Cooper 35
21. Modern Outline Roman Capitals. By Guido Rosa 36
22. Heavy square-serif Roman Capitals. By Harry Lawrence Gage 37
23. Capitals after Charles Robinson 3&
24. Capitals and Numerals adapted from modern German sources. By Ned Hadlty 39
25. Modern Capitals and Numerals from French sources. By Ned Hadley 40
26. Modern German Capitals. By Helen E. Hartford ... 41
27. Variations of the modern German. By Helen E. Hartford .... 42
28. Accented modern German Capitals. By Helen E. Hartford . . 43
29. Outline Capitals in relation to architectural rendering. By Rudolph son Larish . 44
30. Heavy modern Roman Capitals. By Norman P. Hall ... 45
31. Capitals derived from small letter forms. By T. IV. S. . . . 46
32. Capitals and small letters influenced by the Japanese. By Harry Lawrence Gage 47
33. Roman Capitals and small letters written with a wide pen. By George W. Koch 48
34. Modern Capitals, small letters, and numerals designed for use in cut stencils. By Forrest C. Crook 49
35. Roman Capitals and small letters. By William A. Dwiggins 50
36. Modern Roman Capitals and small letters. By Oswald Cooper 51
37. Small book pages, showing freely written capitals. By William A. Diviggins . . 52
38. Modern Capitals, small letters, and italics. By Egbert G. Jacobson 53
39. Roman small letters and numerals. By T. W. S 54
40. Pen-drawn imitation of classic manuscript showing Uncial characteristics .... 55
41. Modern small letters. By Charles II. Barnard . .
42. Diagram showing the ruling of guide lines for the construction of small letters . 58
43. Diagram showing construction of part-round small letters 58
44. Diagram showing methods of varying the small letters 59
45. Diagram showing the direction of strokes in writing small letters 60
46. Small letters written with a wide pen. By Harry Lawrence Gag; 61
47- Announcement in Roman small letters, showing close spacing between lines. By Charles H.
48. Announcement in heavy Roman small letters. By Oswald Cooper 64
49. Heavy Capitals, small letters, and numerals, adapted to wood block and linoleum cutting. By
Harry Lawrence Gage 65
50. Modern Roman small letters. By F. G. Cooper 66
51. Modern small letters. By Harry E. Townsend 67
52. Cover design on rough paper. By Will Ransom 68
53. Heavy modern small letters. By Norman P. Hall 69
54. Small letters after Charles Robinson 70
55. Modern German written linked small letters 71
56. Unaccented and accented alphabets and numerals, designed for rapid use. By Harry Lawrence
57. Modern Capitals and small letters influenced by Venetian type designs 73
58. Capitals and small letters for informal inscriptions. By James Hall 74
59. Free small letters after the modern German. By Helm E. Hartford 75
60. Modern German linked small letters 76
61. Incised English script. By Frank Chouteau Brown 78
62. Italic Capitals. By T. It'. S 79
63. Italic small letters. By T. W. S 80
64. Italic-script Capitals and small letters. By Lawrence Rosa 8 1
65. Italic Capitals, extreme slant. By T. W. S 82
66. Italic Capitals and small letters. By M. Elizabeth Colwell 83
67. Italics with flourished Capitals. By Harry Lawrence Gage 84
68. Modern German script-italics 85
69. Italic Capitals, small letters, and numerals. By Norman P. Hall 86
70. Modern German Italic Capitals, small letters, and numerals 87
71. Caslon Oldstyle Italic Type, No. 471 88
72. Cloister Italic Type 89
73. Pabst Italic Type ." 90
74. Black-letter Capitals and small letters. By Albert Durer, 1500 92
75. Black letter written with a wide pen. By Harry Lawrence Gage 93
76. Modern German Round Gothic capitals, small letters and numerals 94
77. Cloister Black Type 95
78. Uncial Capitals with narrow Gothic small letters From a \\tb Century Ms 96
79. Uncial (Lombardic) Gothic Capitals. By Fred Stearns 97
80. Italian Gothic Capitals. By Harry Lawrence Gage 98
81. Original variations on a Gothic Alphabet. By Charles H. Barnard 99
82. English Gothic Capitals and small letters. By Frank Chouteau Brown 100
83. Gothic Capitals and small letters. By Harry Lawrence Gage 101
84. Design in Gothics. By .!/. Elizabeth Colwell 102
85. Cover design showing an interesting use of italics. By Will Bradley 103
86-92. Rough notes for a title page. By T. W. S 106-108
93. Monograms. By E. A. Turbayne Ill
94. An example of combined letters and monograms in a title 113
95. Cover design in the Georgian style. By Will Bradley 114
96. Lettering with border. By Frederick W. Goudy 115
97. Humanistic Type. By William Dana Orcutt 1 16
98. Caslon Oldstyle Roman Type, No. 471 117
99. Forum Type. By Frederick W. Goudy 118
100. Kennerley Oldstyle Type. By Frederick ]V. Goudy 119
101. Pabst Oldstyle Type 120
102. Cloister Oldstyle Type 121
Roman Capitals ty T B.
THEODORE BROWN HAPGOOD
Roman Capitals with a strong classical feeling
Tools and Materials
~^f N LETTERING, as in any other task requiring skill, the abstract
matters of style and principle are difficult to remember unless
they are immediately put in practice. Good tools with which
to work, and respect for them, must be assumed at the outset.
The necessary implements for good lettering include only a pencil,
ruler, pen and ink. But as the accuracy of the work depends on accurate
guide lines, a drawing board, T-square and triangle should also be included
in the equipment ; they save time, and give to the student a desirable sense
of security. A water-color brush and some moist white are useful for
correcting; and orange-vermilion water color for rubrication. One
should see to it that the drawing table is firm, and so placed that the
paper is well lighted; this is important, since the drawing of letters
requires an exacting use of the eye sight, and should be undertaken
only under good lighting conditions. Ruling pens, dividers, and other
draftsman's instruments are sometimes convenient, but seldom necessary.
The kind of pen best suited to the student's personal use can only
be determined by experiment. It must be fine enough to make letters
of the size desired, but not fine enough to cut into the paper, and not too
stiff. Annealing in the flame of a match or a gas jet will usually
make a stiff pen flexible enough. Wide pointed pens are frequently
useful for large letters and directly written forms. The question is
one for trial rather than prescription; some artists succeed in making
beautiful letters with a broken tooth-pick.
A water-color brush that comes to a fine point when dampened is
good for inking large letters, but requires much practice for small
work; it may be used with advantage on heavy-faced letters more
than an inch high. The edge of a brush stroke is smoother than a pen
line, so that brush letters, when much reduced by engraving, are likely
to show a mechanical character. Where the work is large and heavy,
however, the brush covers the ground much faster than the pen.
Any paper with surface hard enough to take ink without blotting
may be used. The rougher the paper, the rougher the line; also, as
a rule, the stronger in character. For accurate, formal lettering, and
for practice work, where close study of the drawing is desirable, hard-
surfaced bristol board is best. The heavy, sized hand-made papers, such
as Whatman, serve many purposes. The paper should take pencilling
well, stand many erasures, and carry ink without spreading.
Drawing pencils should be free from grit, and the degree of hard-
ness should be adapted in measure to the size of the work in hand,
hard pencils being used for small forms, and softer ones for large.
Very soft pencils tend to produce quick effects, but inaccurate draw-
ing; too hard leads give a thin and stringy appearance that sometimes
persists, in the shape of angular and unsympathetic edges, after the
inking is done.
Any of the carbon drawing inks, or hand-ground India ink, will
serve. The fluid must stay black on the thinnest line, and must flow
with freedom. Where work must be lingered over, and may suffer
from moist hands, water-proof India ink has obvious advantages.
Orange-vermilion water color may be substituted for ink where
letters in red are needed. It may be applied with a brush, or used
as ink, the pen being filled from the brush as it becomes dry. Red
characters made in this way have a good body of opaque color, and
serve as well as black for engraving.
Good hand-drawn letters may be put to a great variety of uses.
The most common of these as well as one of the most exacting, is
drawing for reproduction by the ordinary zinc process. If a student
learns to execute a good piece of work for this purpose, he will prob-
ably have mastered all the practical difficulties. Hence, in the following
pages, attention will be given to methods adapted to ultimate use on
the printing press, in the belief that other necessary points will be covered
in this way. If you know a given letter thoroughly, and can draw
it acceptably a half-inch high, you need only a little practice to put
it on a sign or a black-board with equal facility.
In using the tools named for the purposes suggested, it is well
that the student understand one fact: all lettering may be divided,
according to the method of its making, into two classes built-up
7 v Ly
Y V 7
y v z j
HARRY LAWRENCE GAGE
Roman Capitals from Renaissance sources. Small letters to correspond are shown in
lettering and written lettering. Most of the work which finds its way to
the printed page is of the built-up variety. This means that the individual
forms have been drawn with the pencil, and then carefully filled in with
ink. The written variety is that done either directly with the ink, or
carried out in single strokes over pencil indications ; it is obviously the more
rapid, informal and difficult sort. The written style conies down to us
from the calligrapher; the built-up from the engraver. For purposes of
study it is obviously best to begin with the built-up letter, since in this the
attention is concentrated on patient drawing, learning the precise form,
rather than upon freedom of stroke and energy of style.
CHARLES H. BARNARD
e illustratEs a mcdwd
aboon. in capitals con/orm=
ino to the writinq lines.mc hncs may )
le uuLrrUed u^tJi a stilus or
with a Kani lead, pencil.
POETRY mau cmpropnateliJ be aivm
slwKtlu ujulr marains diaa proscr
TIN E writ ing.thc lines of
vvKlch are U5uallu widely
spaad, donands widcrmatguvs
luhich is hcavLj & has
the lines closclij pack^
THING OF A. DRAM_ _
the other night, that i|ou_
2. shall hear of. 1 had been _
reading the" Loves of the.
Angels)& merit to bed with _
roij head, full of specula; _
Uons suggested bi| that _
had given birth to tnrui - _
PERCY J. SMITH
Proportions of margins and plan of ruling for book-opening and single sheet.
CHARLES H. BARNARD
Modern Roman Capitals. For small letters see Figure 41
The Drawing of Letters
beginner should bear in mind that he is not called upon to
design letters. That part of it is done has been done for
The alphabet is a series of shapes which have meaning and
use because we all recognize them. Meaning and use are
taken away when these shapes are changed and tortured out of our imme-
diate recognition. While it may of course be possible to improve these
forms the student does well to consider how many great designers have
accepted them as they are. But to use letters they must be drawn,
and to do this their forms must first be learned. Thus the problem is
simplified. You have only to learn them and draw them.
It is an excellent practice to draw the letters in the formations of words,
rather than as alphabets. The simplest task of all, then, is to draw one
word. We will assume for the sake of illustration that the word is
"POEMS"; that it is to fit into a title page, and that it may be, in the
drawing, about an inch high. Further we will assume that it is to be done
in capitals of Renaissance Roman style.
We have here the copy, or letters to be executed ; the size, and the style
of letter. Turning to Figure 2, we find an alphabet from which, for the
present, we may be content to accept the letter forms, limiting ourselves
to the questions of drawing, spacing and inking.
With the T-square, pencil accurate horizontal guide lines one- inch
apart and at least five inches long. Into this space the work is to be fitted.
Now draw a few verticals, free-hand, between the guides. If these
are not accurate, when tested by the triangle, it means that some practice
of this sort will be necessary. Meanwhile, draw at random a few true
verticals with the triangle, and referring to Figure 2 for the forms, sketch
in the letters of the word.
The mechanical verticals will be of no assistance in spacing, but they
will afford, at intervals, a convenient guide, and will prevent the sketched
letters from acquiring a slant in either direction. Draw very loosely at
OF -THE KNIGHT-OF-THERED:
CROS; OR- OF-HOLI NE55E- *
BY- EDMUND ^PENBER^
EDITED'BY THOMAS;J' WLSE *
OF -DESlOJiS 'BY WALTER-CR3WE
LONDON: OEOROE- ALLEN-
Title page showing a written letter in relation to pen drawing
first, and feel for the position of the letters, rather than for their precise
form. This having been done carefully, the work will resemble Figure 6.
Examine the word at this stage for possible errors in drawing. See that
you have allowed each letter a proper width, according to the alphabet
chosen not each letter the same width. See that the heavy strokes
are all of the same thickness, the light strokes similarly uniform. Examine
the word as a whole, but remember that the drawing must be done one
letter at a time.
Clear away the superfluous lines, draw out the curves and serifs (the
serifs are the little cross lines that define the ends of the strokes) with care,
and you have something like Figure 6. This pencilling should at first
be done with great care. Upon it will depend the accuracy of the final
work, and any errors will only be increased in the inking.
Assuming that you have drawn the letters carefully, and spaced them
reasonably, the word is ready to be inked. Here you must pause and con-
sider carefully: have you drawn the letters so that the inside of the en-
closed space represents the form, or the outside? Test one of your letters
by carefully blackening it over with the pencil; it is very likely to appear
too heavy. This gives one a clue to the reason for not inking the outlines
first and filling in the spaces afterward. The fad: is that the eye can with
difficulty make an accurate judgment while it must add together the width
of the outlines and the white space enclosed, and compare the sum with
the sum in the next letter.
In inking built-up letters, begin with a full rough stroke between the
outlines; this, since it does not reach the bounds on either side, cannot be
far wrong. From this stroke, work out to one of the edges, drawing the
loose ends of your lines inside, and working the wet ink against the one
edge you are striving to correct. When you have reached this edge, you
should have it fairly true, since all the work of filling the black space has
been in the direction of correcting the first rough line. Now work toward
the other edge, correcting in the same way, and being vigilant lest the
stroke as a whole become too wide.
If you have difficulty in drawing the right hand edges true, and are
working on a small board, turn the board around. Bear in mind all the
time that you are drawing to fill and correct the first stroke, and that you
have the pencil line for a guide the while. The only error you can logi-
cally make, barring accidents, is to get the stroke too wide, and against
this you are doubly warned.
Diagram showing progressive steps in drawing and inking. Lettering should be inked
by masses and edges not by outlines. Lower line shows the effefl of lettering on
When the stroke is done, go on to the next, finishing up each letter as
you go. After much practice you may find it more rapid to leave all the
serifs to be finished at once, with the board in a convenient position.
When beginning, with only one word to do, finish as you go, but refer con-
tinually to the first letter, making no stroke thicker than the vertical ele-
ments in that.
When the ink is dry, and the pencil lines cleared away, you have some-
thing resembling Figure 10. The same pencilling, inked loosely on rough
paper, will give something like Figure n.
Thus far we have considered only the problem of drawing the letters,
and have said nothing about their principles and characteristics. The
drawing should be, for the present, only a method of study, the matter of
which begins with the next chapter.
S PAC IN G
HARRY LAWRENCE GAGE
Roman Capitals written with a wide pen. For small letters see Figure 4.6
EXAMPLES OF DECORATIVE WRITING.
r P T /TYi T i
wes or writing mail be wmlu wprUmt writing mau be
J-~J <J i L L <o o
spaced to allow /or (ona 05= treated stnuLruj , our
cenaina & aesocnama st/D^cs. me letters s noula, b e
Tnc scrfc s/iaiua oc stJimmu shaped more preciselu.
y c/1 i
marlica & those in the top & Serifs mau oe formal
wot marqins mau ocriomisncd. as in tKis exam
I J L_^ y j
Italic "swash" letters founded on sixteenth century Italian work
T. W. S.
Roman Capitals adapted from coins and medals
MOST modern work in lettering requires the use of Roman
capitals, and since all the other forms the student is called
upon to draw are descended from these capitals, the study of
letter forms should begin with them. A few facts about the
history of the Roman letter should be understood, since
these fads bear directly on the drawing of the letters, and explain some
characteristics that might otherwise seem arbitrary or puzzling.
The Roman capital form was taken over, with some radical changes,
from the Greek, and was used by the Latin scribes in copying great libraries
during and after the Augustan age. It varied, under this use, as widely
as hand-writing varies in any period ; but it served for the ready production
of clear copy in the ancient manner, without punctuation or separation of
The scribes wrote with soft reeds, dipped in ink and held vertically.
The reed was sharpened to a flat or chisel point. This determined the
direction of the heavy strokes in each letter, making the first (upward)
stroke of the A light, the second (downward) heavy, the cross-bar (hori-
zontal) light, and so on through the alphabet. This distribution of heavy
and light strokes, of which we shall have occasion to speak further, was
finally determined by the practice of the reed, and the student has only
to learn it, since he cannot abrogate it.
As written with the reed, the style of the letters varied widely. But
when the Roman builders, with their strong sense of the monumental and
significant, took the letter and spread it in stately inscriptions on trium-
phal arches, it took a character from the stone, crystallizing into a marble
perfection. And because you cannot draw a V-shaped incision in stone
to a square end that will define itself by its shadow, as a monument letter
must do, the classic craftsman added the serif. This was at first a simple
chisel cut across, following the scratched guide-lines, and defining the end
of the stroke. But the serif soon came to be made of two minor incisions
FIGURE 16. The formation of the serif by right and left chisel cuts
in an incised Roman
(see Figure 16) and to have a certain proportion to the letter itself.
Thus another lasting characteristic was added to the Roman form.
To make their letters carry by shadows, the Roman stonecutters some-
times cut their outlines very wide. The craftsmen of the Renaissance,