2013 National Stationery Show – To the Letter

This NSS post is particularly near and dear to my heart, because it takes a look at some examples of the nifty hand-lettering and creative uses of typography on display at the Show. I’ve studied and practiced calligraphy and hand-lettering on and off for—eek!—over 25 years, now. (I’d like to say I started when I was about 4 months old, but add about a decade—okay, maybe slightly more than a decade—and you get the idea of how much of my life I’ve been loving the fine art of a good letter.)

Organic, fun, funky lettering is in full force these days. This is somewhat aggravating to me, because I’ve been playing with this sort of letter style for years, but thought it was something only for my own amusement. (Note to self: get more examples of this up on your own portfolio, pronto!)

But, enough hand-lettering self-reflection. Here are some amazing examples of the beautiful work being done by the artists at the NSS:

The ladies at Ladyfingers Letterpress revel in beautiful hand-lettering. Arley-Rose Torsone’s happy, sophisticated style is found on the majority of Ladyfingers’ products, including these fun bottle bags and custom hand-lettered stamps. Torsone offered popular hand-lettering demos during the show, and people lined up to get a little piece of customized Torsone lettering, all for themselves.
(On a side note, I was sad to read that the Ladyfingers Letterpress team was personally affected by the recent wildfires in Colorado. Morgan Calderini’s family home and the surrounding forest were lost. If you’d like to help the Calderini family rebuild the forest, please visit this page.)

Clockwise from top - Ladyfingers Letterpress hand-lettered bags, stamps, and demo

Clockwise from top – Ladyfingers Letterpress hand-lettered bags, stamps, and demo

Anyone familiar with Mr. Boddington’s Studio’s work can instantly identify the seriously upright, pen-and-ink styling that makes MBS’s lettering so unique. These book cover designs are a perfect example of what I think of as “Boddington Cursive.”

Mr. Boddington's Studio book jacket designs

Mr. Boddington’s Studio book jacket designs

Moglea’s single-weight, rounded cursive, and fun print styles are also incredibly distinctive. And, their use of just a hint of curlicue, and a slight upward slope to a lot of their lettering-based designs, keeps things fresh, youthful, upbeat, and unexpected. Love it.

Moglea pastel hand-lettered card designs

Moglea pastel hand-lettered card designs

Cool type and hand-lettering abounded in the Fifty-Five Hi’s booth. Both their choice of type/lettering itself and the treatments they applied to each text-based design, (like purposefully misregistering two shades for a really dynamic effect with lots of movement), were executed to perfection. It was a fantastic booth for anyone who loves letters.

Fifty-Five Hi's hand-lettered card designs

Fifty-Five Hi’s hand-lettered card designs

9th Letter Press takes the art of doodled lettering to a whole new, wonderful, level. The styles vary, but they have a happy feel of all being part of the same, hand-lettered family.

9th Letter Press hand-lettered card designs

9th Letter Press hand-lettered card designs

This nifty birthday card from Sugarcube Press combines four decidedly different lettering and type styles into a single, harmonious design (not an easy feat).

Sugarcube Press jar full of wishes card

Sugarcube Press jar full of wishes card

One of the booths I was sad not to have a chance to photograph (they were so busy every time I strolled by, I didn’t want to interrupt) was the Belle & Union Co. booth. Finalists in the LOUIE Awards’ “Rising Star,” category, Belle & Union uses fun, hand-drawn lettering to accent their fun, hand-drawn illustrations.

Belle & Union Co. hand-lettered card designs

Belle & Union Co. hand-lettered card designs

1canoe2’s selection of cards featuring hand-lettered design and creative uses of text and type, was, quite simply, staggering.

1canoe2 hand-lettered card designs

1canoe2 hand-lettered card designs

So, that’s just a tiny glimpse of how folks continue to make the alphabet new, fresh, and relevant in today’s world of stationery.

Next up: fun, fun, fun for the kiddos!

Please note: the image labels I’ve used are not official product names/titles. For more information on any of the products in my posts, please contact the wonderful people who’ve created them.

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