Handwritten letters of note

There is just something about handwritten correspondence that connects you to the writer unlike any other medium. Take a look at these examples from well known personalities, spanning several centuries…

Shaun Usher, a freelance copywriter from Manchester, England, runs Letters of Notean attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. There are over 600 examples of this old fashioned correspondence in his growing online collection.

What I find myself most drawn to, are the handwritten artefacts, maybe because putting pen to paper is such a rarity in our digital world. Or maybe it is the way a handwritten note is able to connect us to a particular place and time in the writer’s life unlike any other medium.

Here are a few examples from well known personalities, spanning several centuries. Click the image to go to the relevant page on Letters of Note to read transcripts and find out more:

1973. Freddy Mercury to Jac Holzman, founder of their U.S. label, Elektra Records:

Letters of note: Freddie Mercury

1610. Galileo Galilei to Leonardo Donato, Prince of Venice:

Letters of note: Galileo Galilei

1995. Henry Rollins to a rude, disappointed fan:

Letters of note: Henry Rollins

1954. James Dean to on-off girlfriend Barbara Glenn:

Letters of note: James Dean

1817. Jane Austen to her eight-year-old niece (each word written backwards):

Letters of note: Jane Austen

Jimi Hendrix to a girlfriend:

Letters of note: Jimi Hendrix

1997. Joe Strummer to Mark Hagen on Bruce Springsteen:

Letters of note: Joe Strummer

1996. John Lydon (Sex Pistols) to the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their inclusion:

Letters of note: John Lydon

Johnny Cash’s to-do list:

Letters of note: Johnny Cash

1993. Kurt Cobain to MTV (unsent):

Letters of note: Kurt Cobain

1916. Get-well-soon note from Pablo Picasso to Jean Cocteau:

Letters of note: Pablo Picasso

1983. Steven Spielberg to Forrest Ackerman:

Letters of note: Steven Spielberg

1924. Walt Disney to Ub Iwerks:

Letters of note: Walt Disney

1972. Bob Dylan to U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in support of John Lennon and Yoko Ono:

Letters of note: Bob Dylan

1745. Controversial letter from Benjamin Franklin to a friend regarding “older mistresses”:

Letters of note: Benjamin Franklin

1955. A seemingly sarcastic letter from Ernest Hemingway to “Mr. Lord” of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company:

Letters of note: Ernest Hemingway

Shaun is planning on turning this collection into a large coffee-table volume of 400 pages, with 200 letters, each with an introduction and a transcript of the text. Find out more and pledge your support for the project at Unbound Books.

Hand drawn skate deck lettering

Looks like we’ll be sticking to the themes of “New York” and “hand lettering” today! The coffee-loving Simon Ålander has been at it again, this time putting pen to skateboard deck…

Looks like we’ll be sticking to the themes of New York and hand lettering today! The coffee-loving Simon Ålander has been at it again, this time putting pen to skateboard deck:

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

Skateboard deck by Simon Ålander

See the full story on coffeemademedoit.com.

Hand painted wooden wedding signs

These nice wedding signs were hand painted on rugged wooden planks by Brooklyn based agency Mélangerie Inc.

These nice wedding signs were hand painted on rugged wooden planks by Brooklyn based agency Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

Hand painted signs by Mélangerie Inc.

See more of their work Mélangerie Inc.’s Flickr. Found via Art of the Menu.

Friday find: Vintage erasers

Lovely eraser branding and packaging from yesteryear… and a skateboard deck!

1940s Vintage Eberhard Faber Ruby Eraser Box via Swiss Miss:

Vintage eraser branding

Vintage erasers from Lisa Kongdon’s A Collection A Day:

Vintage eraser branding

And in sticking with the theme, a skate deck entitled “Big Mistake” hand painted by Jennifer Daniel for Bordo Bello Auction:

Pink Pearl eraser skate deck

Jon Contino

The super productive Jon Contino has just relaunched his portfolio stuffed with great typographical works and since I have been planning to post something about him, it is as good a time as ever to do so.

The super productive Jon Contino has just relaunched his portfolio stuffed with great typographical works and since I have been planning to post something about him, it is as good a time as ever to do so.

He calls himself an Alphastructaesthetitologist, but in my mind Contino is simply the king of NYC hand lettering. The raw old-world feel of his work certainly strikes a chord with me, and his impressive client list suggests I am not alone in my sentiments.

I have been trying my best at creating a time machine through lettering. – Jon Contino

If you were wondering where his talent stems from, Jon claims that his mom’s hand is consistently better than his own lettering and she always shows him up when it comes to holiday cards!

It’s hard to select a fair representation from his diverse portfolio, but below are a few examples of Jon Contino’s work. For plenty more check out his website, blog and his brand CXXVI.

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino
I was lucky enough to snag one of these puppies from CXXVI before they sold out.

The works of Jon Contino

The works of Jon Contino

Figural Cameos

Cameo refers to type design in which the characters are reversed out of a black background. In figural cameos, the background typically depicts the product or service being advertised.

Cameo refers to type design in which the characters are reversed out of a dark background. In figural cameos, the background typically depicts the product or service being advertised. Judging by the dates on some of these vintage mail items, this form of branding reached it’s height in the 1800s, although I have seen quite a few contemporary designs referencing this unique artform.

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

I originally came across these images on Miss Moss and traced some more info on The Trade Card Place.