Typography, even artistic typography, is something that most of us encounter every day, even if we don’t realize it—it blankets billboards and our Instagram feeds alike.

But what is typography art, exactly? Put another way, what does typography mean in art? We’re here to help with a typography art definition and some incredibly creative typography examples.

What Is Typography Art?

The dictionary definition of typography is “the style, arrangement, or appearance of typeset matter.” That essentially means letters and words that are printed and that can be reproduced. It’s related to calligraphy and often looks very similar, but calligraphy is lettering that’s formed by hand. 

Not all typography is very artistic—think of a standard printed book—so what does typography mean in art? Through the size, color, shape, and arrangement of the letters and words, typography can become beautiful pieces of art. Typography is also one component of graphic design. Even more standard printed materials can be made more attractive and interesting through the use of customized fonts and typographic experimentation.

How to Make Typography Art and Fonts

Building a Custom Typeface with Just Enough Personality

Artists Who Create Typography Art

Sophia Yeshi

"vulnerability is not weakness"
Sophia Yeshi is an illustrator and graphic designer.

Illustrator and graphic designer Sophia Yeshi creates typography art for brands like Instagram and Refinery29 on topics like climate change, mental health, and body positivity.

Ellen Lupton

bright colored design
Source: Elupton
Ellen Lupton’s co-edited book, Extra Bold, is coming out in 2021, and gives tips for how to make typography art.

Ellen Lupton teaches graphic design and typography classes through Skillshare and curates contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.

Martina Flor

macys postcards
Source: Martinaflor
Cards designed for Macy’s by Martina Flor.

German designer and illustrator Martina Flor teaches lettering and type design, including for Skillshare. Her books on lettering are available in English, Spanish, German, and French.

Harbor Bickmore

pink type card
Source: That That Type
Harbor Bickmore sells custom fonts.

Skillshare instructor Harbor Bickmore designs and sells typefaces for others to use through his typography brand, That That Type

Aaron Draplin

orange type
Source: Instagram
Aaron Draplin is inspired by vintage graphics.

Graphic designer Aaron Draplin says that while he has spent most of his career creating work on the computer, he has always been inspired by the rough quality of vintage graphics created by hand.

15 Examples of Typography Art

1. Floral Letter

s made of flowers
Gemma O’Brien is a lettering artist and Skillshare instructor who helps answer the question: what is typography art?

Intricate floral typography can first be designed by hand and then transferred to design software for easy replication.

2. Skiing Brochure

skiing brochure
Student work by Tegan Moss for Layout Design Theory – Create Strong Designs

Page layout and word placement is an important part of typographic art.

3. Floral Logo

Letters and images can work together in typographic art.

4. Psychedelic Fonts

Source: Instagram
An example of a psychedelic font.

Psychedelic fonts were popular in the 1960s and ‘70s and are seeing a resurgence now.

5. Gothic Calligraphy

Gothic or Blackletter font was commonly used in Europe until the 17th century. A Gothic typographic font adds drama and an historic feel.

6. Summer Letter Art

summer typography
Wondering how to create typography art? Skillshare instructor Tracey Capone teaches how to create typographic prints on an iPad.

The meaning of the word “summer” is beautifully illustrated by incorporating florals into the design of the letters.

7. Art Nouveau Book Art

french book cover
Source: Instagram
A page from an Art Nouveau book, including Art Nouveau typography and illustration.

Decorative Art Nouveau typography was very influential in 20th-century design.

8. Block Type

A contrasting light font and dark background is an integral element of this typographic design.

9. Custom Typeface

Designing typefaces that can be used for a variety of purposes is bread-and-butter work for many typographic designers.

10. 3D Block Letters

Three-dimensional lettering can be created by hand or through design software. Learning how to create typography art in Photoshop or other design software is a useful skill for any designer.

11. Custom Wordmark

Many graphic designers take pride in avoiding “default” typefaces and creating their own fonts drawing from meaningful reference material.

12. Ouija Board

ouija board font
Vintage hand lettering inspires this typographic font.

Hand-lettering styles can be quickly reproduced using digital design software these days.

13. Mountain Logo

Logos and type are carefully combined for effective branding.

14. Font Collection

'the' typography
The same word in many fonts shows just how versatile typography can be.

The word “THE” repeated in many different font types shows how typography affects the way a word is read and perceived.

15. Book Cover

Book covers require careful typography to stand out from the competition.

Where to Find Typography Art

If you’re looking for a typographic print for your wall, start with Etsy. If you’re after a customized font for your own art or design project, check out FontShop, which sells fonts for print and online/screen use.

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