What Are Some Ways to Write Using the Calligraphy Alphabet?


Quick Answer

Roman, Italic, Gothic and illuminated letters are four prominent Western types of calligraphy. The choice of calligraphy alphabet depends on personal preference and individual needs for specific projects.

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Calligraphy comes from the Greek words for beautiful writing. While calligraphy is an expression of written words, many consider it more akin to drawing than writing. Calligraphic writing often utilizes special pens or brushes and some letters require a specific stroke order, while others require only a single stroke. The Roman calligraphy of today is basically the same script in use on Roman monuments. Roman calligraphy has strong, straight lines and is easily readable. Italic cursive script is also very practical and easy to read. Italic letters have more slant and fluidity than Roman script and provide an excellent middle ground between overly utilitarian and overly ornate letters.

Gothic script is the type of calligraphy once in use by monks and clergy when transcribing and writing religious texts. Gothic calligraphy was also the script of the first printing presses. This script is heavy, ornate and beautiful, but sometimes difficult to read. Illuminated letters often come in conjunction with Gothic script and appear in many medieval texts. With this style, the first letter of a page or passage is extremely ornate and includes tiny illustrations and multiple colors, often with gold-leaf embellishments.

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