The Speedball D Series Nib

Class 4 in the Writing with a Bent Nib series uses the oval D nib for creating casual blunt-serifed vintage alphabets.

The Speedball D-Nib (Oval)

This is the fourth class in the Writing with a Bent Nib five-part series. The Speedball D nib, introduced in 1926, is an easy-to-use nib that creates subtle thick and thin lettering and a prominent “blunt” serif. Used for playful, vintage styles of lettering, vintage looking Roman forms, and the famous Metropolitan Poster style of the art deco era, this nib will feel familiar with a natural pen angle and will be an easy adaptation for the calligrapher. 

Note that each class in the series is sold separately or you can also purchase all five classes at special bundle price ($400) OR pay in six monthly installments. 

The duration of this D-Nib class is over 4.25 hours. Scroll down to view curriculum and watch preview movies.

A Bit of History & the Basic Strokes

The oval-style D nib is one of Randall’s favorites. The D nib yeilds a casual style of lettering with a blunt serif. There is a natural pen angle and some easy pen manipulation. European poster artists such as Hans Rudy Erdt and Lucian Bernhard, as well as the American F. G. Cooper, used this lettering style because the thicker blunt serif made posters more readable over long distances when compared to thin Roman serifs.

A Blunt-Serifed Alphabet – Lowercase

The D nib is perfect for creating a casual alphabet reminiscent of the show card styles of the 1920s. The D nib pen is a little easier to use because the pen is kept on a consistent angle, sililar to how a calligrapher uses a broad-edged pen. Randall used this style for the cover of his upcoming book, Teaching America How to Letter, the story of the Speedball Textbook (top of montage).

A Blunt-Serifed Alphabet – Capitals

After the lowercase letters, the capital letters are also covered in-depth with lessons both by letter group and with the full alphabet. Then Randall invites you to explore his philosophy of writing in his Mahara Watercolor Journal, which he designed for Paper & Ink Arts. You’ll learn about the challenges of writing on a hand-sized textured surface, as well as adapting to writing without lines. 

Metropolitan Poster Alphabet

One of the most intriguing Ross George styles, Metropolitan Poster is an bold alphabet reminiscent of the 1930s. Building on your skills with the D nib, you’ll learn how to build up letters as well as add variations to this casual alphabet. Randall demonstrates the interaction of letters and proper spacing by writing a variety of words using Bister Inks on cold-press watercolor paper.

Why choose Courses from the Hasson Studio?

A superior quality, informative presentation is the highest priority in Randall’s Course offerings.
He has a focus on the WHY of his subject matter. Each course has detailed introductions with history and background, information on materials, and skill session videos geared towards your learning style. Short videos allow a more focused concentration, while longer presentations can give a greater overview for those who learn better that way.

Features of these Online Courses

Extended access allows you to learn at your own pace.
Classes are ready to begin as soon as your payment is processed.

  • Classes are prerecorded, allowing you to watch on your own schedule
  • Videos are recorded in High Definition video with multiple camera angles
  • Videos are paced for the artist; unnecessary pauses and wasted time are edited out.
  • Copious handouts, resources, or detailed materials videos are included with each course.
  •  4 years of extended access for individual courses; 5 years for multiple class bundles. 

We also recommend adding Randall's Live Sessions and Session Replays for a full year (10 sessions)
These sessions include presentations, projects, questions and answers, and the ability to interact with fellow students. Live Session Replays are posted so new students can catch the ones they missed, and a private Facebook Group allows you to comment, share your work, and get inspired. 

To learn more about this series, please visit the Writing with a Bent Nib page.

Nina Tran

Calligraphy Instructor

Hands down, Randy Hasson is one of my favorite teachers. His lessons are jam-packed with the technical how-tos, tips and tricks -- equipping students with the confidence to transition from one lesson to the next. Randy's deep knowledge and love for letters is evident in his lectures and captivating stories. The level of care and detail that he puts into his courses -- from handouts, to lectures, to study group sessions -- is further proof of his hard work and dedication to the success of his students.

Course Curriculum

Speedball D Series Nib
Single Class Purchase


The Speedball D Series Nib
(class 4 in a 5-part series)

Writing with a Bent Nib Series (5 Classes)
*Recommended Plan


Special bundle price
($100 savings)
Learn more about the Series

Writing with a Bent Nib Series (5 Classes)
Installment Plan


Six monthly payments
Total $420 ($80 savings)
Learn more about the Series


Randall Hasson

Randall M. Hasson is an artist, calligrapher, instructor and speaker who has appeared on the faculty of over 25 Arts, Lettering Arts, and Educational Conferences in the United States, Canada and England. He is the author of articles on a variety of Art or Lettering Art related subjects and has appeared as a mainstage presenter and/or teacher with lecture topics covering Public Art, Art History, the Painting Process, Collaborative Art Projects, and the History of Writing including the recent invention of the ADLaM Alphabet in West Africa.

In 2015, he co-edited of the 24th (Centennial) Edition of The Speedball Textbook. In addition to a series of online workshops called Writing with a Bent Nib, Randall is currently writing and designing his forthcoming book Teaching America How to Letter – The Speedball Story, a history of commercial lettering and American show card writing in the 1900’s.