Known throughout the world for its eclectic typeface collections and far-reaching creative exploits, from fonts and fashion to ceramics and space technology, House Industries has been a standard-bearer for American graphic design for more than twenty-five years. The House Industries Lettering Manual is an accessible hands-on guide to drawing letters from Ken Barber, House’s head letterer and type design director.

Learn The History and Techniques of Hand Lettering

Modeled after a series of sold-out lettering workshops that Ken has conducted around the world, this highly illustrated handbook outlines the history of lettering, various methods and techniques, common letter styles, and best practices for getting paid for your work. This handy how-to guide also provides lettering models to help sharpen your drawing skills and offer departure points for further experimentation.

Unlocking the Art of Hand Lettering with “House Industries Lettering Manual”

The world of typography and design is filled with stunning beauty and artistry in hand lettering. If you’ve ever dreamed of creating amazing typographic designs or wanted to explore the world of hand lettering, then the “House Industries Lettering Manual” by Ken Barber is a treasure trove of information. This manual is both visually pleasing and practical, guiding you through a comprehensive journey into the captivating world of hand lettering.

Unveiling the Artistic Legacy of Hand Lettering

The “House Industries Lettering Manual” is a product of House Industries, a highly acclaimed design studio that has been a pioneer of American graphic design for more than two decades. The book showcases the studio’s exceptional creative accomplishments, encompassing a diverse array of art forms, from fonts and fashion to ceramics and even space technology. Now, they invite you to experience the timeless art of hand lettering by joining them on this journey.

House Industries Lettering Manual
House Industries Lettering Manual

Guiding Your Hand with Ken Barber

Ken Barber, the head letterer and type design director at House Industries, is the author of this manual, and his expertise in the field of typography is unmatched. Inspired by his worldwide lettering workshops, Barber provides readers with a comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of hand lettering, from the basics to advanced techniques. This manual is designed to be useful for both beginners who are just starting to explore the art form, as well as experienced designers who want to improve their skills.

Exploring the Rich History and Diverse Techniques

The “House Industries Lettering Manual” is a standout feature for its comprehensive approach to the subject. It provides a historical overview of lettering, allowing readers to explore the evolution of this art form over the years. The manual then delves into various methods and techniques used in hand lettering, presenting a diverse range of tools to create captivating letterforms. Whether one is fascinated by the elegance of ancient calligraphy or drawn to modern styles, the manual encompasses it all. Yet, it goes beyond the art and offers practical advice on how to transform one’s passion into a profession, with insights into monetizing one’s lettering skills.

A Hands-On Path to Lettering Mastery

What sets this manual apart is its practical, hands-on approach to learning. It’s not just a theoretical exploration; it’s an interactive experience. The manual provides a wealth of exercises, case studies, and typographic models for various letter styles, including serif, sans serif, brush, and script. These resources, carefully designed, act as stepping stones for practice and experimentation. By utilizing these exercises, you can improve your drawing skills and make your journey into the world of lettering both fulfilling and enjoyable.

Visual Splendor and Creative Inspiration

Created by House Industries, the “Lettering Manual” is not only a guide but also a visual treat. It features stunning examples, offers a behind-the-scenes look at works-in-progress, and showcases finished projects. The photographs and illustrations provide a glimpse into the creative process, which is sure to inspire and enhance your own artistic journey. Every page is carefully crafted to enhance the learning experience, making this manual a visual delight.

What Can You Learn from the House Industries Lettering Manual?

In the House Industries Lettering Manual, you will learn about the following topics:

  • History of Lettering: This section can delve into the history of lettering as outlined in the book.
  • Methods and Techniques: This section can discuss various methods and techniques for drawing letters.
  • Common Letter Styles: This section can highlight some of the common letter styles covered in the book.
  • Best practices for getting paid for your work.
  • How to create lettering models.
  • How to practice and develop your skills.
House Industries Lettering Manual
House Industries Lettering Manual


“If there were any place I wish I worked that I don’t, it’s House. They’re artists; their work is extraordinary.” — J. J. Abrams. “What I love about House Industries is that they search through corners of culture for something valuable that you’d never thought of before, then raise it to a higher artistic level. It’s a very difficult thing to do.” — Shepard Fairey. “[House] makes all the best typefaces.” — David Lee Roth.

Why Should You Consider Buying the House Industries Lettering Manual?

The Handlettering Handbook, authored by a distinguished figure in the trade, provides comprehensive guidance on the art of hand lettering, ranging from fundamental concepts to advanced practices. It is an indispensable resource for those eager to master this art form. The book is not only well-written and simple to understand but also visually appealing, making it a suitable option for both new and seasoned letterers. Its design and illustrations add to the pleasure of reading it.

Who Should Buy the House Industries Lettering Manual?

The House Industries Lettering Manual is a good choice for anyone who is interested in learning the art of hand lettering. It is especially well-suited for:

  • Artists and designers who want to add hand lettering to their skill set.
  • Hobbyists who want to learn how to create beautiful lettering projects.
  • Students who are interested in pursuing a career in lettering.
  • Professionals who want to improve their lettering skills.

About the Author: Ken Barber: A Master of the Craft

Ken Barber’s reputation as a top-tier typographic designer is entirely justified. His work is showcased at renowned institutions like the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Barber’s expertise surpasses his impressive design accomplishments, demonstrating his mastery in the field.

Ken is a highly respected educator who conducts workshops around the world, imparting his extensive knowledge and passion for hand lettering. He has received numerous accolades from prestigious organizations such as the New York Type Directors Club, Association Typographique Internationale, and Design Museum London. In addition to his contributions to the field of typography, Ken co-authored “House Industries: The Process Is the Inspiration” with Andy Cruz and Rich Roat, further solidifying his status as a pioneer in the industry.

Unlock Your Lettering Potential

The “House Industries Lettering Manual” is not just a book, it’s an entry point to an array of artistic possibilities. Whether you aim to be a professional letterer or seek to improve your design abilities, this manual is an essential tool. It encompasses the wealth of history, includes practical drills, and imparts knowledge from a genuine typography expert.


In conclusion, with the “House Industries Lettering Manual” as your guide, you can embark on a captivating journey of self-expression and exploration. Unleash your inner typographer, let your designs speak volumes, and leave an indelible mark on the world of design. Dive into the world of lettering with the “House Industries Lettering Manual” and let your creativity flourish.

House Industries Lettering Manual by Ken Barber. Paperback: 208 pages. Publisher: Watson-Guptill (August 25, 2020).

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