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Break The Rules

Calligraphers, hobbyists and professionals alike, from around the world believe in creating a style that is unique to their design sensibilities and aesthetics. One of the most common means of creating a unique style is by creating variations to the traditional style of writing.

From a historic point of view, any script that has been passed on for generations is based on a set of rules like the nib type, angle of slant, shape of the letterforms, x-height and ratio of x-height to ascenders and descenders.

If all this sounds like Greek and Latin to you, read on to get an overview on the basic principles of Calligraphy.

Calligraphy: An Introduction

Calligraphy in simple terms is the Art of Beautiful Writing.

The different types of calligraphy styles can be classified based on the writing tool. While broad-edge techniques employ a broad edge nib; pointed pen techniques employ a pointed nib and brush lettering employs paint brushes or brush pens.

In order to understand how the scripts are written using these nibs, there are a set of rules or Guidelines. They help us in understanding the size, shape and alignment of the letters.

Given below is the guideline for copperplate calligraphy.


Now that we have a brief overview on the traditional style; in order to create a variation, one or more of these parameters may be modified.

For example, uncial is an olden day broad-edge script written using a broad-edge nib at about 10-degree angle of slant. A modern-day variation of this uncial script is pointed pen uncial, wherein the same uncial script is written using a pointed pen nib. This changes the mode and style of transcription from broad-edge to pointed pen but the underlying basics like the angle of slant and shape of the letterforms remain the same. And Voila! There you have a new style to decorate your words!
Shown below is an example of pointed pen uncial.


Similarly, there are many versions of copperplate calligraphy that are variations of the regular style. The purpose of these variations is usually to introduce bounce to the letterforms or to change the overall look of the script to something playful and fun.
Shown below is an example of copperplate variation that we are currently developing in-house.


But, in order to create variations and create a new style of scripting, it is important that we are aware of the basics and how the letterforms in the original and traditional style are created. Once we know the basics, we can break the rules!!!

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