Words as Art

February 29, 2016


I want to tell you about two books that I enjoyed recently.  Both present words or phrases as art.  For someone who loves words (I am an English major) and art, these graphically designed pages are a joy to read and look at.

The first book, Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self by Susan O’Malley, offers gems of wisdom and advice in a straightforward way against colorful backgrounds.  The effect is very much like a series of posters.  Here is one of my favorite sayings:


The second book, This Moment is Full of Wonders by Thich Nhat Hanh, takes a more traditional approach.  It is a compilation of hand-brushed calligraphy — in English — and each word is full of spirit and energy.  The messages are simple and direct, and each hand-wrought design is so beautifully executed.  I loved many of these pieces of art:







Many years ago, I played around with calligraphy — mostly Italian script — and these books stirred my interest again.  How can I combine words and art?  I will have to work on this.  Here is a first attempt:




4 Responses to “Words as Art”

  1. Lisa Says:

    This strikes a chord with me, not only because I, too, was an English major but I also financed my studies working as a proofreader then a typesetter. When you manipulate type either ‘low tech’ with hot lead or ‘high tech’ through code, you develop an affection for fonts, picas, kerning and leading. Whether the lettering is set in type or in calligraphy, the beauty of the word comes from both the intention and the artful interpretation of that intention.

  2. shoreacres Says:

    I used to have a friend who did calligraphy — or at least, very fancy handwriting. She always took the time to address her hand-written Christmas cards that way, and they were a joy to receive.

  3. Adrienne Says:

    looks like a couple of books I’d like. will look them up. thank you.

  4. Diana Studer Says:

    always enjoy when we see your art

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