Tips & ideas on reference materials

One of the best ways to create new stuff, is to feel inspired. Sometimes life and nature will serve you inspiration on a daily basis, other times we need something a bit more concrete. It of course also depends on the person who’s looking, but for the most part, whoever we are, inspiration will fill you with joy and excitement, and that can be from the tiniest of leafs or the structure of the greatest buildings.

Tips & ideas on reference materials for lettering and graphic design by Annika Olsson //

One of my favorite places to find overall inspiration, is nature. I’m amazed by the changes of the seasons, and how a day can be so different in colors and mood from sunrise to sunset. To me it’s an everlasting palette of inspiration.

On my preferred creative ares, like pattern making, lettering, and crafting, I like to be more specific in my inspiration and reference material and I usually go to Pinterest and books for whatever I’m looking for. Lately though, I have been obsessing over one of the most awesome places on the internet. The Internet Archive. This place has digitized millions of free books, including several on the above topics. It is easy to use countless of hours in this place. Some of the books are really old, but oh so beautiful. You can almost feel and smell, what it would be like to hold one of these books in you hand.

I’m going to point you to a few of these gorgeous design and lettering books:

Lettering By Tom Wood Stevens
Hand lettering By M. Chappell  –  Short and to the point.
Easy Lettering by Howard Cromwell  –  This book is is full of alphabet plates
Letters & lettering; a treatise with 200 examples by Frank Chouteau Brown  –  Beautiful plates with ornaments
Writing & illuminating, & lettering by Edward Johnston   –  A comprehensive book on lettering with lots of technical info
Studio Handbook by Samuel Welo  –  Over 250 pages, lettering, design and layouts, new alphabets
David’s practical letterer  –  Instructions in commercial lettering with brush or pen
Convenient book of specimens

I have pinned all of these books to my Pinterest Lettering board for easy access.

Tips & ideas on reference materials for lettering and graphic design by Annika Olsson //

These plates are from the above mentioned books. Download the images individually here: No. 1  –  No.2  –  No.3  –  No.4  –  No.5

When it comes to design and imagery, I’m a huge sucker for everything vintage; packaging, logos and poster design and so on.
A really cool place to find vintage image inspiration is Patricia’s site on flickr. She has uploaded amazing colorful pages from vintage books, magazines and ephemera to her Flickr site. So if vintage is your thing, you should check out her site. Just have a look at these plates:

Tips & ideas on reference materials for lettering and graphic design by Annika Olsson //

No.1 – 3 is from this ALBUM – Download the images individually here: No. 1  –  No.2  –  No.3
No.4 is from this ALBUM – Download image here: No. 4

Now go enjoy these links and create something beautiful!