Seb Lester

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A Pair of Contrasting Prints by Seb Lester Gilds Popular Aphorisms in Elegant Lettering

May 26, 2023

Grace Ebert

A detail of a gilded letter C and a with a sword

All images © Seb Lester, shared with permission

Lewes-based artist Seb Lester (previously) vacillates between the maximal and minimal in a new pair of aphoristic prints. Die-stamped in gold ink, the calligraphic works are studies of the relationship between medium and message, all filtered through elegantly gilded lettering.

“Carpe Diem,” the popular Latin maxim to “seize the day,” is the ornate of the pair and embedded with swords, flowers, and elaborate motifs. “I’ve drawn from many influences, including Victorian Memorials, Medieval Cathedral Inscriptions, and the work of the finest Writing Masters of the 18th century,” Lester says. “The letterforms are all highly ornamental and drawn especially for the project—warm Lombardic Capitals paired with a softened Textura lowercase.”

As a counterpart, the other print is more austere, reading “Illegitimi Non Carborundum,” which roughly translates to “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Using bespoke Roman Monumental Capitals depicted “as if lovingly carved and gilded in marble into a magnificent ancient monument,” the mock-Latin phrase is graceful and refined, a contrast to the otherwise audacious message.

Both limited-edition prints are available in Lester’s shop, and you can find more of his calligraphy on Instagram.


the phrase carpe diem in gilded lettering on black paper

a detail of swirling gilded ink

a detail of diem in ornate lettering

the letters CA in clean gilded lettering

the phrase ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM in minimal gilded lettering

a detail of IMI in minimal lettering

the phrase carpe diem in ornate lettering on white paper





An Ornate Metallic Butterfly Hides Hundreds of Symbols in a Screenprint by Seb Lester

November 22, 2021

Christopher Jobson

“Butterfly” (2021), a two color hand-pulled screenprint (Rose Gold & Moon Gold) on Peregrina Majestic Kings Blue Paper. All images © Seb Lester, shared with permission

In his latest screenprint, artist, and calligrapher Seb Lester (previously) focuses on the Transcendentals: the virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness as they manifest to all living things. In the form of a butterfly, the work is filled with dozens of hidden symbols that dot the insect’s wings and abdomen, a mixture of order and chaos rendered in metallic ink. Lester shares about the piece:

It has been said that artists often seek to create order from chaos. Recent times have been nothing if not chaotic. In ‘Butterfly’ I’m trying to visualise a beautiful reconciliation, a balancing and harmonising of our currently fraught and destructive relationship with the flora and fauna of this beautiful and fragile planet.

Butterfly” is available as a limited edition of 75 in Lester’s shop and is nearly sold out. You can follow more from the Lewes, England-based artist on Instagram.





Hundreds of Symbols From Prehistory to Modern Day Comprise a Gold ‘S’ Screenprint by Seb Lester

August 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

“S” (2020), metallic rose gold screenprint on black Plike art paper, 330 gsm, 24.4 x 24.4 inches. All images © Seb Lester, shared with permission

Centered on the letter “S,” an anachronistic print from Seb Lester (previously) blends hundreds of symbols into one embellished form. Rendered in metallic on black paper, the typographic piece captures an incredibly long timeline, from prehistory to the Dark Ages to the Renaissance to present day. Look closely and you’ll spot snippets of cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, emojis, and modern logos.

Based in Lewes, England, the artist and calligrapher channeled the heavily detailed marginalia and flourishes of illuminated manuscripts. “I have spent two decades studying the most beautiful examples of intricate letterform and ornamental design I can find. This letter ‘S’ is arguably the most intricate letterform that has ever been drawn,” he shares with Colossal.

Lester released a limited run of 150 gold screenprints, which currently are available in his shop. Check out the video below to see all of the piece’s gleaming intricacies, and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up with his latest releases.



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A post shared by Seb Lester (@seblester) on




Drippy Calligraphy Experiments by Seb Lester

February 13, 2017

Christopher Jobson

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on


Calligraphy master Seb Lester (previously) has been sharing quick videos of watery handwriting experiments on his Instagram account. Each word or phrase begins with a scribble of water or an array of droplets to which he then uses a dropper to apply color. Seen here are some highlights but it hardly even scratches the surface. Much more here. (via Quipsologies)


A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on




Seb Lester Perfectly Renders Ten Famous Brand Logos with Calligraphy Pens

May 6, 2015

Christopher Jobson

Over the past few months, London-based designer and illustrator Seb Lester (previously) shared a number of hand-lettered logos on Instagram. Using only calligraphy pens, some minor preparation coupled with years of experience, the identities for brands like Coca Cola, Converse, and the New York Times seem to spring forth, perfectly formed, from his exquisitely controlled hand. Lester just released this video featuring ten of his favorite attempts. See many more here.



Art Design

Seb Lester Demonstrates Medieval Blackletter Calligraphy

February 26, 2013

Christopher Jobson

In this brief video graphic designer and illustrator Seb Lester demonstrates a form of Medieval blackletter typography that was used commonly in Europe from 1150 to around the 17th century. From a person whose handwriting is almost completely illegible, almost every stroke of his pen looks like a complete miracle. (via vimeo)



A Colossal


Sailing Ship Kite