Lettering - from formal to informal charts Rosemary Sassoon's journey from her early very formal training in letterforms to the lively and imaginative work she does with her students today. The book is filled with images of different types of lettering - from Edward Johnston's notes and Rosemary's own work through to the creative work her pupils have produced in recent years. The book particularly features work done by her Italian and Australian students. The result is a whistlestop tour of the development of lettering from the early 20th century up to the present by one of the foremost names in lettering and typography.
Rosemary Sassoon is the author of a number of books on letterforms, handwriting and design. She holds a PhD from Reading University for her work on children's handwriting. She is also well-known for her Sassoon family of child-orientated typefaces now used worldwide for various purposes.
Introduction by Rosemary Sassoon
After over sixty years of being involved in letterforms it is inevitable that both my own attitudes and those in the outside world would have altered. From a strict classical beginning I have come to enjoy, value and teach, a more personal and creative kind of lettering. To do that I had to evolve quite new teaching methods.
Do not expect all the examples of lettering in this book to be perfect. It is meant to give readers ideas both on how to teach and for individual work - from pen lettering to the first stages of type design. I never managed to be a full time letterer, after my interest was aroused at school in my early teens. A year at art school was all I had in the uncertain days just after the Second World War. Afterwards when I was an apprentice in a traditional textile design studio I was lucky enough to study part-time with the master scribe M C Oliver.
After three years all this ended and I took a full time job as a packaging designer. This meant learning and using a different kind of lettering altogether. From then onwards my calligraphy, as it was called by then, had to be a part time, though no less important, part of my life. My commissions were seldom prestigious, just the everyday jobs that scribes undertook when their occupation was still a useful and living craft.
This book charts my progression throughout the years from formal to informal letters, illustrated by whatever examples I have managed to save. Inevitably some of those from my early years have appeared in previous publications. In addition I have found some archival material that had been hidden away and long forgotten, So there are also historical examples as guidance all the way to the inventive modern work by students at home and overseas.
I never expected to be a teacher, a writer or type designer, for that matter, but that is where a fascination with letterforms and design has led me. Later on in life my satisfaction has been in sharing this enthusiasm with others in many different walks of life and in different parts of the world. On the way I have probably learned as much as the students that I have taught.
1st Edition, 2009, Pb, 112pp, many illustrations in monochrome, 19 x 25.3 cm