How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer

A Guide to Making Perfectly Imperfect Art

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 23 May 2023 | Archive Date 22 May 2023

Talking about this book? Use #HowtoBeaRuleBreakingLetterer #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Break the rules, embrace imperfection, and express your unique self through lettering art!

This book is for anyone who's felt the pressure of perfection. As a schoolgirl in Vietnam and later in online lettering classes, Huyen Dinh was always told to perfect her penmanship. Instead, she started embracing her own imperfect style—with squiggly lines, cheeky messages, and pastel colors.

In this upbeat guidebook, Dinh walks you through the basic rules of lettering and then teaches you how to break them in clever and creative ways. She shares challenges and triumphs from her own artistic journey and offers inspiration as well as technical tips. You can use your new lettering skills to tell your personal story, support a cause you care about, or decorate your tote bags and sneakers! Fully illustrated in Dinh's signature pastel palette, this book is the perfect companion for any aspiring creative. 

Break the rules, embrace imperfection, and express your unique self through lettering art!

This book is for anyone who's felt the pressure of perfection. As a schoolgirl in Vietnam and later in...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781797215532
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 18 members

Featured Reviews

A great how-to on lettering! It had great tips and was very user friendly. I also enjoyed that there were pages to practice on within the book. Very cute!

Was this review helpful?

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a cute book!

Dinh shares her experience learning lettering, making a job out of it, and her training. The book is broken down by techniques and suggestions and "rules" with recaps at the end of each section recapping the key points. The book includes a couple of alphabets, techniques to use in lettering, ways to brainstorm ideas, and many of the author's original pieces. The book also talks about learning the rules of lettering and how to break them once you know them.

It's a colorful and inspirational book!

Was this review helpful?

How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer by
4.5 Stars

I own quite a few books about calligraphy and hand lettering. I'm a good artist, but I still struggle with drawing straight lines, and with lettering placements. I have tried hand lettering throughout the years, but just wasn't satisfied with my results. However, I had a lot more success with this book. Even the author's book layout is different (in a good way). By the time I got to more challenging projects, I felt ready to start. The author did a great job of breaking the steps into bite-sized pieces. I'm impressed with her stress-free teaching style.

For me, everything clicked into place. I'm a visual learner, and the author did an excellent job explaining spacing through pictures, examples, and training your typographic eye for lettering success.

There are step-by-step directions with picture instructions from cover-to-cover. I feel this book teaches a good overview of writing terminology, which is lacking in similar books. The artist walks us through each step: brainstorming, ugly sketches, detailed sketches, & finalizing our piece. Thus, leaving us with the tools to get creative again and again.

It's so nice this book offers instructions for traditional and digital art. Tips and advice for improving your own hand lettering. It's cool how the artist included her thumbnails, and finished works as reference pictures in this book. Everyone starts somewhere; it's a brave move showing your beginning pieces.

All in all, I'd recommend this book for creative people wanting to improve their hand letter game. Besides, you have to know the rules to break them. 😉

I deducted half a star for how difficult it is to read. My digital copy's font size was too small. I loved all the pastel artwork, but it strained my eyes on the white-white-pale background.

Thank you, NetGalley and Chronicle Books, for providing me with a digital ARC for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

Very informative. Not exactly teaching you lettering as much as the concept of lettering. It teaches more so the terminology and tools for you to use and create your own lettering styles with. I probably wouldn’t recommend to someone extremely new to lettering but maybe someone that has been doing it for 6 months or so and is still fairly new ?

Was this review helpful?

How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer is a fun book it is more of developing of your own style-and the concept of lettering than a how too book.

It is very informative. It teaches a great overview of the terminology and tools to create your own lettering styles. This is a really fun book for someone with a strong artistic background ready to break bout of the mold and find their own fun style.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book! I've always wanted to try hand lettering or calligraphy, but there are just so many rules to follow. No more! Now I realize how fun it can be to hand letter your own way with your own style and following no rules. This book was extremely creative, unique, and fun. I received an arc and appreciate the artist, Netgalley, and the publisher for allowing me to read and review. I will be purchasing an actual book to have on hand.

Was this review helpful?

So colorful and imaginative. It helps bring my ideas to life and works with me through insecurities I may have. The author did a great job of having tons of art work in the book and loads of tutorials. It was a really fun book to have to work on my handwriting and drawings!

Was this review helpful?

There are thousands of lettering books out there but this one shines for a few reasons. Dinh is extremely likable and encouraging. The tone is fun and quite helpful. She shows you her rough drafts and “ugly sketches.” She does a great job teaching you the basics but also teaches you how to break all the rules.

I couldn’t always easily read her designs and her aesthetic is not mine (hers is very pastel pink and purple) but it can all be extrapolated for your own stuff. One small mention— she mentions at some point that one of her lettering designs was a big hit so she put it on shirts and other merchandise and made thousands of dollars on that one design. The photo seems to show it professionally embroidered on a sweatshirt and I was really curious what company she used to make it, how she sells (fulfilled and shipped by someone else?). Others who are really into creating lettering designs are also likely to be really curious about that aspect, especially as it could be one of the only actually new and seriously helpful bits in the book.

All in all it’s a great book, fun and helpful. Recommended.

I read a temporary digital copy of this book via NetGalley.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley and Chronicle Books for accepting my request to read and review How to be a Rule-Breaking Letterer.

Published: 05/23/23

"Lettering is the art of drawing letters."

This is cute, whimsical and helpful. I have stayed away from crafting projects needing writing. I never took the time to learn calligraphy (which is "the art of writing letters.).

Lettering is a craft. It requires practice and patience. This book reiterates the need for both.

All I can say is wow, why didn't I think of looking for a book like this during the pandemic. I could have taken up calligraphy. (I concede, my closets, cabinets, and drawers would not be neat, tidy and clutter-free.)

This makes sense to me. The projects of painting on totes, sneakers, etc., at the end of the book encourage creativity. On a personal note, I do wish in all my crafting that I did not need stamps: cursive, all caps, all lower case. Oh yes, there is a letter stamp for all occasions.

I would gift this book with supplies and encourage its use.

Was this review helpful?

This book contains a great deal of information on lettering. However, I would not recommend this book to someone who is just starting out. This will not teach you how to letter; it will teach you the concepts, rules, and terminology that goes with lettering. A good book nonetheless.

Was this review helpful?

The second I saw this book I knew I had to read it. The art style that Huyen Dinh showcases is similar to the art I have been obsessed with for the past few months. I couldn't find much resources to actually draw this way, though, until this book. This book basically is supposed to teach you the rules so that you know how to break them, as the title suggests. It showcases positive affirmations, plenty of example drawings, and stories about the author's journey with art. I got this in ebook format, but the book is so pretty that I really debated getting a physical copy. The color palette was super pretty and I definitely could see myself reading more by this artist. I also did review this on goodreads but I'm unable to link it currently.

Was this review helpful?

4 stars for a bright and colorful guide to lettering~

This book is just so pretty~

I really liked all the tutorials and examples of different lettering styles within this book. Dinh teaches readers how to "break the rules" by going against normal lettering practices of what artists "should" do and instead put a creative and fun spin on the guidelines.

This would be a great gift to an aspiring letterer, beginners, or a crafty person in your life - especially if supplies were gifted as well to get started.

Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for providing a digital ARC for review!

Was this review helpful?

This was a great little book that is under 200 pages. I think that it could have used a little more step by step instruction. But for the most part it would be a great for the beginner.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: