I put the call out on Facebook and Twitter recently to see which typographers and calligraphers were inspiring people at the moment. The results were interesting, because very few of them were “typographers” in the true sense of the word, in that, they don’t “arrange typefaces for print”. What they do, is actually use typographic forms in an artistic, or “illustrative” way.
In fact, I was interested to see there are very few recognisable typefaces amongst the works of these artists at all, most of them preferring to hand draw their own letterforms from scratch. I want to thank everybody for their suggestions. I’m flattered to say I was among the suggestions, as well as a few people I love and admire, and quite a few I had never heard of, so sit back and enjoy.
I’m sure lots of talented people have been missed out, so feel free to add your inspirations in the comments section down below—I’m sure there will be a part 2 to this list pretty soon.
Please be aware that the copyright of all these amazing works belong to the artists who made them. Don’t rip them off, but do click on the images to visit the websites they came from and pay homage to a new wave of typographic artists.
1. Alex Trochut
Alex is a widely respected typographer, illustrator and designer from Spain with a very impressive list of clients. His work is diverse and imaginative and well worth a look.
2. Andre Beato
3. Andrei D. Robu
4. Anna Garforth
5. Ashleigh Brennan
Ashleigh Brennan shares a studio with me and she used to be one of my design students. She really likes cats and sugary treats in the afternoons.
6. Bianca Chang
Bianca currently works at Mark Gowing Design in Sydney and does lovely 3D layered paper cuts for exhibition.
7. Budiono Tri
Budiono is an Indonesian freelancer and mainly illustrates, but their typography shows real promise. One to watch.
8. Claire Coullon
Claire is a French graphic designer and typographer currently living and working in Prague. Her logotypes are so crisp and clean and perfect. I love them.
9. Craig Ward
Craig is most well-known for his “Bad typography is everywhere” poster, but I love this roots piece. It’s amazing.
10. Dana Tanamachi
Dana is very well-known for her chalk typography work and has recently designed the cover of Oprah’s Magazine in chalk.
11. Dominic le Hair
Dominic is a UK designer with an awesome name. His magnetic typeface is just one of those projects I will always wish I had thought of first. All of his work is so creative.
12. Dominique Falla
Dominique calls herself the “tactile typographer” and experiments with different craft techniques to produce dimensional typography, most famously, with nails and string.
13. Eric van den Boom
I love everything about Eric’s website, from the little bouncing logo to his amazing illustrations. So much life, colour and fun in this Dutch designer.
14. Evelin Kasikov
Evelin works in cross stitch, CMYK cross stitch to be precise. Her work emulates the four colour printing process using thread on paper and I absolutely love it.
15. First and Fifteenth
Known only as “Powers” he does some amazing graffiti work. Quite breathtaking. Oh, and he has a shop.
16. Gordon Young/Why Not Associates
Gordon Young is a fantastic installation artist and does site-specific typographic works. The typography is designed in partnership with Why Not Associates and he manages the concepts. His Comedy Carpet needs to be seen to be believed. Without doubt, the most amazing typographic project. Ever.
17. Greg Papagrigoriou
I can’t quite work out what Greg does exactly, but it appears to be calligraphic graffiti in disused spaces. He needs more than just a Flickr site. If anyone has any more info for him, please let me know. Amazing. Come and do all of the glass in my house please.
18. Harun Zankel
Harun mainly works as a branding designer and art director, but his personal typography projects are very slick and sophisticated. Quite lovely.
19. Jessica Hische
You must have been living under a rock if you don’t know who Jessica Hische is. Her Daily Drop Cap series and amazing typographic illustrations have made her the darling of the young type set.
20. Jon Contino
Jon has a real easy, casual retro-style that is really refreshing.
21. Jonathan Barnbrook
I always remember a talk Jonathan gave where he showed a typeface he designed called “Bastard” and then the bold version was called “Fat Bastard”. I’m still laughing about that one. His design always shows a great sense of humour.
22. Jonathan Zawanda
Jonathan is an Australian artist and designer with a diverse range of styles and techniques. His site is divided into commercial and exhibition work. Yet another designer to straddle the fine line between designer/artist.
23. Juri Zaech
Juri is a Swiss Art Director currently working in Paris. Hence the bicycle.
24. Kiel Tillman
Kiel is a Gold Coast designer with a studio just down the road from me. He works for Potato Press and makes full use of their laser cutter for his amazing 3D pieces.
25. Luca Barcellona
Luca does fantastic live calligraphy performances. I would love to see one.
26. Luca Ionescu
Everything Luca does is amazing. Many have tried, but no one comes close. ’nuff said.
27. Luke Lucas
Melbourne typographer Luke Lucas is a genius. He can design type in just about any style you like.
28. Marcelo Schultz
Marcelo’s digital 3D typography is so full of energy and life and always feels like it’s bursting out of the page.
29. Marian Bantjes
Marian is a Canadian designer and has worked with many luminaries, including Stefan Sagmeister. Her work is varied, complex and intricate, but always conceptual and interesting.
30. Maricor Maricar
Maricor and Maricar Manalo are two separate people, twin sisters to be exact, who obviously work together really well. I love all their sewn type pieces. I wish I had two of me.
31. Mary Kate McDevitt
I’ve only discovered Mary Kate recently but I love all of her illustration and typographic work, so whimsical and perfect.
32. Me and My Pen
Me and my pen is Darren Newman, typographer and illustrator who works in a very linear style.
33. Niels Shoe Meulman
A video of Niels was doing the rounds recently of him doing calligraphy on the ground with a wet broom. One of my students listed him in all five of their top 5 slots and said he would give his face to be this talented. Says it all really.
34. Nik Ainley
Nik is also known as Shiny Binary and his work is so slick, three-dimensional and full of colour and life.
35. Oded Ezer
Judging by his work, Oded is one wacky guy. His projects are highly creative and imaginative.
36. Peter Tarka
Polish designer Peter Tarka has a wide variety of 3D design work, packed with energy and edge.
RIPO is a graffiti artist who works in a wide variety of styles and sizes.
38. Rudy and Theo
Rudy and Theo are a Gold Coast creative duo who work as designers, photographers and typographers.
39. Rutger Paulusse
Rutger Paulusse, also known as GWER is a Dutch designer currently working in New York. He has a very strong, developed style in typeface design, custom lettering and log design.
40. Sasha Prood
Sashs does lovely type treatments using watercolour washes. She also illustrates and designs logos. Multi-talented.
41. Sean Freeman
Sean Freeman is a highly creative commercial designer from the UK who always surprises with his type treatments. His studio is called THERE IS.
Sepra4Life is Marko Purac, a Serbian cartoonist and typographer who has a structured, retro cartoon style.
43. Sergey Shapiro
Russian typography Sergey Shapiro is the king of the logotype. His hand drawn scripts are perfect.
44. Si Scott
Si Scott is an illustrator and typographer with a very distinctive and specific linear style.
45. Simon Ålander
Simon is a Swedish designer obsessed with two things: type and coffee. He has a very distinctive style and is fantastic at hand lettering.
Sowat is a graffiti artist who works on walls and paper and is part of Da Mental Vaporz crew.
47. Stefan Sagmeister
Stefan is one of my heroes when it comes to unconventional type treatments. I know he has a team of designers helping him, Joe Shouldice is one, so it’s not all just him, but he is a creative genius, there is no doubt.
48. Uğur İslim
Uğur İslim is a Turkish designer who works in advertising but has a lovely, delicate typographic style.
49. Yani and Guille
Yani Arebena and Guille Vizzari are a team of Argentinian type designers who do lovely treatments of their typefaces.
YLLV is Karol Gadzala, a Polish typographer and illustrator.
51. Yulia Brodskaya
Yulia Brodskaya is a Russian designer, well know for her bright and colourful paper quilling projects, but the more people try and imitate her, the better she seems to get.
I’d love to hear any other suggestions, please make a comment below.
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