Categories / Inspiration

14 Beautifully Lettered Vintage Book Covers

March 31, 2021 · 2 min read
Hand lettering makes us feel as if we had somehow traveled in time. As if, in an incomprehensible course of events, we had gone back to days that were less cluttered and busy. Days when design was done with one’s hands and an artist could be an artist. Fortunately, there is a blooming hand lettering trend that aims to bring these days back. The expressive, unpretentious nature of lettering has brought us relief: the idea that we can once again explore our craft far away from pixel perfection. In this article, we will share 14 beautifully lettered book covers from the late 1800s and early 1900s that will surely inspire your next design project.

1. The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit

The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit Dean & Son, The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit: Internet Archive

2. Wee Tots

Wee Tots Amy Blanchard & Ida Waugh, Wee Tots: University of Florida Digital Collections

3. Soyer’s Shilling Cookery for the People

Soyer's Shilling Cookery for the People Alexis Soyer, Soyer’s Shilling Cookery for the People: The Foods of England Project

4. Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey Diddle Diddle McLoughlin Brothers, Hey Diddle Diddle: University of Florida Digital Collections

5. The Locomobile Book

The Locomobile Book The Locomobile Book, 1909: New York Public Library Digital Collections

6. The ABC of Animals

The ABC of Animals McLoughlin Bros, The ABC of Animals: University of Florida Digital Collections

7. What to Draw & How to Draw It

What to Draw & How to Draw It E. G. Lutz, What to Draw & How to Draw It: Internet Archive

8. The Snow Image

The Snow Image Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Snow Image: Open Library

9. Voyages Extraordinaires

Voyages Extraordinaires Jules Verne, Voyages Extraordinaires: Wikimedia Commons

10. P.T. Barnum’s Route Book

PT Barnum's Route Book P.T. Barnum, Route Book: via Keith Tatum on Dribbble

11. Cinderella

cinderella George Routledge and Sons, Cinderella: Internet Archive

12. The Baby’s Own Aesop

The Baby's Own Aesop Walter Crane, The Baby’s Own Aesop: Internet Archive

13. 1984

1984 George Orwell, 1984: University College London – George Orwell Archives

14. The Story of Jack and the Giants

The Story of Jack and the Giants Richard Doyle, The Story of Jack and the Giants: Internet Archive

Create your own!

The amazing designers at Creative Market are constantly creating new tools to make lettering more accessible to all of us, offering wonderful graphic sets, brushes, textures, vectors & fonts. Check out a few of them below:

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10 Comments
  • Wow, this is totally up my alley! The Cinderella one is the best. Thanks for the great roundup. 7 years ago
  • Brilliant! Great skill, really like the snow image..icey! 7 years ago
  • Glad you liked them! @Beth Rufener @Bill Mawhinney 7 years ago
  • Beautiful collection!!! The Wee tots is slightly creeping which is quite cool but my favourite is The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit, lovely. Thanks for including my product preview at the end, much appreciated! 7 years ago
  • Agree @Lisa Glanz - The Alphabet is fascinating! Lots of inspiration to pull from here. 7 years ago
  • These are great! Thank you for this awesome set. 7 years ago
  • nice collections, ABC of Animals is my favorite one! 7 years ago
  • Anonymous
    Wow - I love them all - especially the owl one. Great stuff! 7 years ago
  • Lovely work :) 7 years ago
  • Thanks for this. I'm stashing the Birds and Flowers cover in my book design folder. Love the timeless elegance and fun of the black backdrop for a lighthearted topic! 7 years ago