10 Real-World Lettering Designs

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Lettering designs surrounds us all the time, every day, in our environment without us realizing it. It could be via clouds shapes, the curve of tree branches or the miscellaneous splatter of office supplies. It’s fun to look around you and imagine what your environment is telling you visually through text, similar to being a kid again and playing charades with the clouds.

Steven Heller and Gail Anderson explore typography display within our environment in their new book Typographic Universe: Letterforms Found in Nature, the Built World and Human Imagination. The book illustrates lettering shaped by insects, food, bones and other commonplace items.


According to an interview with the Guardian, the idea to stockpile typography sprung from Anderson instructing her class to discover lettering display from the everyday life “and the rest fell into place.” The Guardian quoted Anderson as saying, “I had my own burgeoning collection of found letters, so it was interesting to connect with others who were as intensely obsessed as me.”

With more than 300 examples, their selections open up new perspectives to the expansive typographical world. After flipping through The Typographic Universe, I joined in the obsession of finding letterings in my surroundings and started noticing the simple things in my life that resemble the alphabet, such as the shape of my opened laptop as a ‘L’ or a ‘V’, and the random pencils strewn across my desktop forming ‘k’s’.

Lettering Designs in the Real World

Heller and Anderson boost creative vision with their typography compilation. If you are seeking strong inspiration for typography in design, I recommend reading their book as an idea generator. You can purchase the book in MyDesignShop.

For quick inspiration, here are some of our favorite lettering displays from Typographic Universe.

Love Chips Letter Design
Lettering Design

More Cool Lettering & Found Alphabets

Instagram Alphabet by Marcus Byrne

Lettering Designs

Found Alphabet by Sarah Stiefelmayer

Lettering Designs

Vox Populis — font and illustration series by MaricorMaricar Studio

Lettering Design

Alphabike by Molly McLeod

Lettering Designs

ABC Order – Carnegie Museum of Art by Michael Austin Sui

Lettering Designs

Want to start crafting your own typography? Want to expand your skills? HOWU offers a two-week power course on Hand Lettering that will guide you through the typography in design process.


Introduce hand-lettering into your repertoire of design skills with this 2 week Power course. Denise Bosler, author of Mastering Type, will provide you with the skills you need to add a personal touch to your typographic communication from research and sketching to developing dynamic layouts with custom lettering. You will be given the opportunity to communicate your love of hand-lettering through the process of self-discovery and experimentation as you explore your typographic voice and creative style.

The world of typography is easy to get lost in and the possibilities are unlimited.

If you have your own cool lettering designs, Print Magazine would love to see them. Please enter them in the Print 2014 Typography and Lettering Awards for a chance to win your typography showcased in Print Magazine as well as other prizes. Deadline to submit is December 1, 2014.