Top five: Masters of typography and lettering

It’s no secret that we at Scriberia believe you can say as much with one really hardworking illustration as you can with several pages of text. But that being said, we know that well-chosen, well-designed words have a huge role to play in maximising visual meaning.

The trick, when it comes to typography, is making it integral to the image – not an after-thought. When executed with imagination, creativity, wit and sensitivity to the context, typography can add a rich layer of meaning.

Our super-scribe Lauren is a self-confessed typography nerd. Her fascination stems from the challenge of reinventing the alphabet, those hardworking shapes with which we are all so familiar. So, with that in mind, here are Lauren’s top five typographers and her favourite examples of their work.

Andy Smith

scriberia masters of typography adam smith

Smith’s work is full to the brim with ideas. He's a master of an enormous range of typefaces, and always manages to organise them within tricky and busy layouts. This mind-blowingly detailed piece in particular, reminds me of the rich pictures we produce in our studio. It's so important that not an inch of space is wasted, every stylistic decision and stroke of the pen has meaning, and every word - whether horizontal or vertical - is integral to the structure of the image overall. 

Oli Frape

scriberia masters of typography Oli Frape

Frape’s work reminds us why hand painted typography is just as relevant as digital lettering. This piece is particularly brilliant for its witty charm, and shows how typography can be used to build in structure for other visuals. It’s a great example of typography as content. Frape’s curly, wispy font provides the perfect texture for a chicken’s feathers. And each letter works hard to fill its space - not a feather out of place.

Dana Tanamachi

scriberia masters of typography Dana Tanamachi

Whenever I think of chalk typography, Dana Tanamachi’s name is the first that springs to mind. She breaks the boundaries of signwriting and chalk typography with her fresh approach to a seemingly old-fashioned crafts. She modernises them in her unique style with her mix of typefaces, intricate flourishes and contrasting patterns.

Gemma O'Brien

scriberia masters of typography Gemma O'Brien

Gemma is an Australian illustrator, whose exceptional skills range from hand-drawn calligraphy to large-scale murals. She has a huge online presence and posts a lot of her work-in-progress on Instagram, which is a great way of demystifying the creative process. My favourite project of hers is the sick bag challenge, where she endeavoured to draw spew-related puns on sick bags during long-haul flights. Having to complete the drawing by the end of the flight, the project shows how constraints - on time, space or materials - benefit creativity. The project also proves that you don’t need expensive canvases or graphic equipment to flex your creative muscle.

Linzie Hunter

scriberia masters of typography Linzie Hunter

Linzie’s work is colourful, playful, and always busy with a range of interesting type faces. This diversity makes her a great source of inspiration for us scribes.I particularly enjoy her confident use of colour combinations on hand-lettered maps. As well as her 2015 New Year Resolution illustrations, which took a handful of humorous resolutions from social media and played around with different fonts and flourishes.