I rarely feature any single work here at Scanning Around with Gene for fear it could easily turn into a weekly book review. But I recently unearthed a 1927 edition of Studio Handbook Letter & Design for Artists and Advertisers by Samuel Welo, and I simply had to share it with you.
On its own, this 5-inch x 8-inch, 232-page handbook would be a terrific resource for designers wanting a basic education in letter design and advertising layout techniques. But the book goes well beyond that because it is, from cover to cover, entirely hand-lettered by the author. There is not a single use of machine or even hand-set type, rules, or photographs. Every page number, line of text, ad layout, border, rule, and dingbat is hand-drawn. It is a wonderful homage to the craft of hand lettering, and when you browse through the hundreds of pages, you can’t help but wonder how long it took him.
There’s not much information on Welo available, though you can purchase several contemporary font designs based on his hand lettering, and at one point he authored a book of Art Deco designs for Dover.
So as much as I’d like to wax on about the impact this little book made on me, I feel the best approach is to show my favorite pages and remind you that it’s all hand-drawn. I hope you enjoy the craftsmanship and simple design wisdom that comes through in the text.
If you can fill in any details of Welo’s life, please post in the Comments section.
Go to page 2 for many more samples of Welo’s artistry.