Images © estate of Ross F. George/Hunt Manufacturing Co.

Continuing my look at this classic lettering manual that has remained in print for nearly a century, with many different editions. This page shows a typical showcard lettering style of the 1930s-40s, one that would have been seen in advertising and movie lobbies frequently.  It has a friendly look and a nice bounce, an inviting style. George suggests using the Speedball “D” penpoint, but I suspect it would take multiple strokes to achieve these forms, and even then would probably require some corner adjustments with a smaller pen.


In this style the multiple strokes are obvious, and really the point. Elegand and energetic at the same time, a style for headlines rather than blocks of text, and quite appealing.


The style on the left is clever but not easy to read. It would all have to be worked out carefully in pencil before putting pen to paper. I think the idea works, but better with block letters rather than script. The style on the right is effective where the letters are filled, as in the title, but the open letters are hard to read and seem weak to my eye.


These more fanciful styles are very Art Deco. The top one I find appealing, I like the spatter texture and vertical openings. The one below doesn’t work for me at all.


Author Ross George once more baffles me with his style names. This is certainly Roman, yet anything but formal! It has lots of informal bounce from the curved serifs while the letterforms themselves are traditional, a nice combination of elements that makes this very appealing. Note that there are no perfectly straight lines anywhere, all the shapes are tapered or curved.


An entire page of instructional text from George, with lots of smart and sensible advice. I particularly like “Choosing the right tool for a job is half the battle.”


For some reason “showcard” became “Sho-card” in this and other books, but this and the next picture are wonderfully illustrated and diagrammed examples of how to create classic Roman letters with a wedge-tipped brush. I’m not sure what kind of brush would work best for this today, as I imagine no one is still making “sho-card brushes,” but it would be fun to try some out.


Just the method of holding the brush perfectly vertical would give me a lot of trouble! And the fact that I’m left-handed, too. Maybe it’s just as well I’ve done nearly all my hand-lettering with pens.

To be continued. Look for previous parts of this series under the “Lettering/Fonts” category on the right sidebar.

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