Here is a tib bit about lettering in the age of computers from the graphic designer
Paul Green

For all the advantages of computers I believe that some of the things that contribute to "good design" have been lost. My reservations may be similar to those of William Morris when he took a stand against the kind of printing that appeared after the Industrial Revolution. Many of the decisions about such things as spacing and layout can be left to the machine. While it remains possible for the designer to intervene and make adjustments it is easy to assume that the machine knows best.

In the old courses of hand lettering students not only developed the skills to produce accurate and well finished letters. By the time they had developed these skills they had also acquired, as a by-product, sensitivities  to spacing and layout, to proportion, and to positive/negative and figure/field relationships. Such sensitivities became internalised and could now be called
upon for making fine adjustments when developing designs with a computer. It is probably true that such sensitivities could also be acquired through a series of computer exercises, but with so many demands on the limited time available in a Design course it is difficult to get beyond the first step of learning how to use what someone else has put into a computer programme.

...read more of this article at Paul's website; Paul Green

The story of a country sign painter...

It all started late in the Depression. Thinking back, I was perhaps 11 years old in 1933, my Dad had passed away, my Mother was teaching school for $72.00 a month, and I saw an itinerant sign painter letter the window on the local Barber Shop. He did a "dynamite job"-- tinted varnish size, aluminum bronze powder rub, red & black split shade, a beautiful thick and thin letter; on the door he did a beautiful thick & thin script. It was the greatest thing I had ever seen. He was an excellent sign painter trying to survive by working the road. And thus begins the story of Johnny Berg... 

A very informative and entertaining article, a must read!