lettering typography

Ralph Beyer and inscriptional lettering: the grand tradition

I have always had a soft spot for the work of Ralph Beyer. I do not know much about the man, and I am sure there are those who can point us in the right direction to discover more. What I do know is that his inscriptional lettering influenced my work. Beyer is particularly well known in the UK for his carvings which adorn (are rather a part of the very fabric) of Coventry Cathedral. The first illustration is from that place, set into the floor (look closely, adjust your eyes and you’ll see people at the bottom of the image to give scale); while the second is a much, much smaller piece.

Both have that freedom yet control which is so natural to Beyer. [Images from Lettering on Architecture, Alan Bartram (1976), Whitney Library of Design; and Fine Words Fine Books (1991), an exhibition catalogue.]

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