Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rustic Alphabets

The rustic alphabet was one of the novelty fonts that became popular during the late 1800s and early 20th century, during the Golden Age of Ornamental Penmanship.  

Rustic lettering gave a headline a homespun, folksy look. Although some alphabets were designed for mechanical printing, it was ideally suited to pen-and-ink originals. During those years, photomechanical reproduction allowed original penwork to be reproduced accurately.   

Like the related trends of rustic picture frames and furniture, rustic lettering can be seen as a reaction to the rapid growth of standardization and industrialization, which was replacing the authentically hand-made.

A few tips if you want to try drawing rustic:
1. Practice by drawing real branches, twigs, and leaves until the rhythms become automatic.
2. Begin by penciling in an even, regular letterform to use as a basis, such as the Old English above.
3. Be free with the smaller twigs and leaves, and let them occasionally cross in front of the main trunks, but keep the little stuff light so it doesn't interfere with readability. 

Sources for these examples Here and Here 


T. Arispe said...

Fascinating. My grandmother is a professional calligraphist--she would have a field day with this sort of lettering.

erlson said...

it's crazy how much stuff I learn from this blog daily...I'm grateful

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff, this kind of thing interests me, since I have an interest in graffiti and comic lettering. Thanks for sharing James!

Gregory Lee said...

A (distantly) related idea for lettering English in an interesting way is this Tengwar transcriptor. If you try it, use PNG as the output format, unless you happen to have a Tengwar font.