I do value Reading, but being self-taught remains the "classical education" in typeface design...
I'd say being self-taught is actually a blip in the history of typeface design, mostly limited to some of us who got into it in the 1990s. If you look at the situation before that, you have more or less a craft tradition of people learning from the previous generation and people learning on the job at foundries, lettering studios, sign-painting shops, etc.. Between the collapse of the industries that maintained that model of learning and the advent of type design courses in an academic setting, a relatively small number of designers were substantially self-taught.
The terminology varies by practice and profession. For instance, the people who write the text in comic books are credited with lettering them. Craig's suggestion that 'lettering' be taken as a catch-all term seems very reasonable as a non-specialist, everyday usage, especially since English lacks another good general term.
I find it a little ironic that the people who are most insistent on the distinction between writing and drawing letters are type folk, most of whom do neither.