graphic design + illustration

betsy dunlap

by Grace Bonney

kate from saturate just sent over a fantastic link to calligraphic artist betsy dunlap. betsy creates beautiful (and i mean beautiful) hand-written calligraphy for custom use. i wish i could buy pages of these and frame them in antique wooden frames and fill a wall top to bottom- they’re so lovely. but then again, i’ve always had a thing for cool handwriting. you can view more of betsy’s work right here and contact her for pricing and custom work. if you’re getting married or announcing something special, betsy’s work would be a wonderful investment.

Suggested For You


  • Wow! These are so gorgeous. Now all I need to do is convince my boyfriend we should get married based on the potential of Kate’s handwriting on wedding invites!!!!

  • let me try that again (just waking up)…what i meant was, this is so beautiful, i love it! (being a calligraphy hand-lettering fan this is a great link!) thanks!

  • gorgeous! i chose not to have professional calligraphy because nothing out there seemed worth the extra cost… but this would have been MORE than worth it! and $1.80 for inner and outer envelopes is very reasonable.

  • I agree with jerseyfresh, I wish I’d known about this when preparing my wedding, I definitely would have splurged for such gorgeous lettering!

  • I think I am the lucky dog today! My wedding invitations are on press this very moment and I’ve been so sad about the calligraphy options until now. All I have to do is say little design*spongey prayers that she can fit me into her calendar.

  • I just hired Betsy to do the calligraphy for one of my clients!… I’m SO excited to have samples of the end result to show off! Her work is GREAT!!! I’m especially in love with the “Elle Reynolds” sample above…

  • I just recommended her to a client of mine who wants that extra touch to her already beautiful letterpress wedding stationery. Thanks for posting!!!

  • so glad you guys like betsy’s work! i finally figured out a way to bring it into my home- i asked betsy if i could pay for her to write out one of my favorite short poems: carl sandburg’s “fog”. can’t wait to see it when she’s through!


  • I saw her work in Martha Stewart Weddings and tried for a similar look, to no avail! I only wish I had the budget for her amazing services!

  • umm…it might go against the idea of unique, but it would be amazing if she would create her own font- I would love that. i bet it would be #1 on typographica.com!

  • You may like it….but Calligraphy IT IS NOT!!!! You will not get any self-respecting calligrapher to even attempt to write like this…it is simply not readable and I feel sorry for any postperson who will have to figure it all out. I expect you will not publish this comment.

  • joyce

    i suspect the many clients betsy has had would attest to the fact that her work arrives safely to people’s homes without any trouble.

    i personally know several people who’ve used betsy’s services and haven’t encountered any trouble with the postal service being able to read things.


  • The handwriting is untrained and is not calligraphy. It is handwriting, period. Actually, it looks like spaghetti. That would be what my master calligraphy teacher would say and she’d then say redo it. Calligraphers, like myself, spend hours in practice and only “dance with the pen” when we have mastered the pen.

  • I am also a calligrapher and am a member of numerous calligrapher groups, guilds and associations. I do wedding envelopes as well. I have books and books on the “correct” styles and history of all letterforms. While this isn’t considered “correct” and is considered “just handwriting” by most trained calligraphers, that is because most trained calligraphers are not trained to think outside the box! And that’s a shame! Calligraphy is an art form, plain and simple, and what Betsey does is art. I happen to love her styles! Lots of quirky personality shows through her writing! Love it, love it, love it!!!

  • I have to assume the people who find this attractive were never party to the beauty of a well-formed and legible letter. This is most likely due to the fact that most schools don’t teach handwriting any longer and most people don’t have the ability to form a beautiful letter in “real life”. Perhaps this is comfortable because it is most similar to their own “handwriting”. To call this Calligraphy or Art is laughable. To Grace, just because the envelopes arrive doesn’t mean the post office appreciates the experience – it is just a testament to the extraordinary efforts of our postal system.

    • prudence

      art is a pretty subjective term, so i hope you realize that neither your nor my opinion on this calligraphy is “right”. but this happens to be my personal website, so if i like something, and think it’s art, i’m going to write about it. if you don’t like it, but all means, you don’t need to enjoy, buy, or suggest this work to someone else.

      and who said anything about the postal service “appreciating” letters that aren’t typed? just because i said the post office can handle them doesn’t mean i think it’s a breeze. but that said- i’m not going to avoid something i think is beautiful because it’s not a standard way of doing things.

      it just seems really closed minded to me to “laugh” at handmade work because it doesn’t fit your definition of art.


  • This just proves beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and people who would call this writing calligraphy are completely ignorant of the subject. Calligraphers study for years and years to master the pen and some of us (like me) will never attain the beauty and grace of calligraphers like John Stevens or Julian or Sheila Waters, no matter how hard we try. That being said, I can see how today’s younger folks might like this writing, especially since pretty much everything they do is done on a keyboard. Spontaneous, yes… calligraphy, NOT! I’m thinking I should give up working so hard to make correctly formed calligraphic letters and just learn to scribble… perhaps then I’d be laughing all the way to the bank, too! (And yes, I’ll admit it, I’m envious that this kind of “scribble” made it into Martha Stewart Wedding… I’m sorry, but at least I’m honest!). Thank you for letting me share my opinion on your site, and thank you for the chance to have some discourse about what is and isn’t calligraphy. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree!

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.