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calligraphy, lettering, type design, letter carving, sign writing, pixel pushing, etc

Kevin King


Arabic Thuluth study for typeface development

This study is part of an ongoing series of exercises to explore the movement and construction nature of the Arabic script for a typeface I am developing as part of my thesis project at the University of Reading. Calligraphy has largely been a means of understanding the underlying structure of writing forms, and a tool for exploring concepts that can be developed into fresh typeface designs for contemporary use.

Lao Tzu — reed and ink

With this piece my intent was to explore a direct writing method in which there was no pre-meditation for the composition or letterform construction, but rather, seeing what comes out from my own muscle memory of the Roman letterforms. I was consciously choosing a whipping writing movement that Rudolf von Larisch describes in his teachings. It is interesting to see what results are obtained when you trust your intuition of letterforms, after many years of practice and refinement, and let the tool and mind work in unison.

Cree Proverb in Pencil

For this piece, I wanted to explore a harmony between the Cree syllabic forms, the writing system used to write the Indigenous languages of Canada, and the Latin script hands of Italic and Roman minuscule. The Cree syllabic forms are a unique writing system as they were born directly into a typographic environment, created as printing type for use on the press. This means that it did not develop out of a manuscript tradition, like the majority of scripts in use across the world today.

Thich Nhat Hanh Quote in pencil

With this piece my intention was to explore a tall, modulated sans serif form with an abundance of counter space. My hope was to explore a sans serif form that could have a lot of internal movement, and reflect the grace of Roman imperial capitals.

Sketches for a typeface design

This image shows an example of my working process towards developing a new typeface design from a calligraphic foundation, and beginning to build up a design space for the letterform design. I begin with writing to capture unique qualities that come up in my calligraphic writing. After the calligraphic stage, I look for traits and forms that can be modelled into typographic forms.

Calligraphic studies for an Arabic typeface design

This studies are a further extension of the series from the Thuluth image. On this page I am exploring the Naskh style, which will be used for the development of an Arabic typeface for text and extended reading.

Calligraphic studies for an italic typeface design

Both of these photos are studies for an italic companion that will be part of the same system as the Arabic design. I first make the calligraphic marker writing in blue, and then progress to outlined forms before moving onto the computer.

Calligraphic studies for an italic typeface design

Both of these photos are studies for an italic companion that will be part of the same system as the Arabic design. I first make the calligraphic marker writing in blue, and then progress to outlined forms before moving onto the computer.

Calligraphic studies for Roman captials for a typeface design

Roman capitals studies for a typeface design.

Khalil Gibran Quote

Written on Handmade cotton rag paper with ink using wood nib. This piece was an exploration in relating capitals to to an informal lowercase hand that mixed elements of cursivity into the ascender elements.

Graffiti Capital Alphabet

Written on handmade cotton rag paper using ink and wood stick. This piece is an exploration in writing Roman capital forms loosely with a whipping gesture. I was particularly inspired by Graffiti lettering seen in Toronto.