This article is about printing. For the handwriting style, see Italic script.
In typography, italic type is a cursivefont based on a stylized form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, italics normally slant slightly to the right. Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed text, or when quoting a speaker a way to show which words they stressed. One manual of English usage described italics as "the print equivalent of underlining".
The name comes from the fact that calligraphy-inspired typefaces were first designed in Italy, to replace documents traditionally written in a handwriting style called chancery hand. Aldus Manutius and Ludovico Arrighi (both between the 15th and 16th centuries) were the main type designers involved in this process at the time. Different glyph shapes from Roman type are usually used – another influence from calligraphy – and upper-case letters may have swashes, flourishes inspired by ornate calligraphy. An alternative is oblique type, in which the type is slanted but the letterforms do not change shape: this less elaborate approach is used by many sans-serif typefaces.
Italic type was first used by Aldus Manutius and his press in Venice in 1500.
Manutius intended his italic type to be used not for emphasis but for the text of small, easily carried editions of popular books (often poetry), replicating the style of handwritten manuscripts of the period. The choice of using italic type, rather than the roman type in general use at the time, was apparently made to suggest informality in editions designed for leisure reading.[a] Manutius' italic type was cut by his punchcutterFrancesco Griffo (who later following a dispute with Manutius claimed to have conceived it). It replicated handwriting of the period following from the style of Niccolò de' Niccoli, possibly even Manutius' own.
The first use in a complete volume was a 1501 edition of Virgil dedicated to Italy, although it had been briefly used in the frontispiece of a 1500 edition of Catherine of Siena's letters. In 1501, Aldus wrote to his friend Scipio:
We have printed, and are now publishing, the Satires of Juvenal and Persius in a very small format, so that they may more conveniently be held in the hand and learned by heart (not to speak of being read) by everyone.
Manutius' italic was different in some ways from modern italics, being conceived for the specific use of replicating the layout of contemporary calligraphers like Pomponio Leto and Bartolomeo Sanvito. The capital letters were upright capitals on the model of Roman square capitals, shorter than the ascending lower-case italic letters, and were used at the start of each line followed by a clear space before the first lower-case letter. While modern italics are often more condensed than roman types, historian Harry Carter describes Manutius' italic as about the same width as roman type. To replicate handwriting, Griffo cut at least sixty-five tied letters (ligatures) in the Aldine Dante and Virgil of 1501. Italic typefaces of the following century used varying but reduced numbers of ligatures.
Italic type rapidly became very popular and was widely (and inaccurately) imitated. The Venetian Senate gave Aldus exclusive right to its use, a patent confirmed by three successive Popes, but it was widely counterfeited as early as 1502. Griffo, who had left Venice in a business dispute, cut a version for printer Girolamo Soncino, and other copies appeared in Italy and in Lyons. The Italians called the character Aldino, while others called it Italic. Italics spread rapidly; historian Hendrik Vervliet dates the first production of italics in Paris to 1512. Some printers of Northern Europe used home-made supplements to add characters not used in Italian, or mated it to alternative capitals, including Gothic ones.
Besides imitations of Griffo's italic and its derivatives, a second wave appeared of "chancery" italics, most popular in Italy, which Vervliet describes as being based on "a more deliberate and formal handwriting [with] longer ascenders and descenders, sometimes with curved or bulbous terminals, and [often] only available in the bigger sizes." Chancery italics were introduced around 1524 by Arrighi, a calligrapher and author of a calligraphy textbook who began a career as a printer in Rome, and also by Giovanni Antonio Tagliente of Venice, with imitations rapidly appearing in France by 1528. Chancery italics faded as a style over the course of the sixteenth century, although revivals were made beginning in the twentieth century.[b] Chancery italics may have backward-pointing serifs or round terminals pointing forwards on the ascenders.
Italic capitals with a slope were introduced in the sixteenth century. The first printer known to have used them was Johann or Johannes Singriener in Vienna in 1524, and the practice spread to Germany, France and Belgium. Particularly influential in the switch to sloped capitals as a general practice was Robert Granjon, a prolific and extremely precise French punchcutter particularly renowned for his skill in cutting italics. Vervliet comments that among punchcutters in France "the main name associated with the change is Granjon's."
The evolution of use of italic to show emphasis happened in the sixteenth century and was a clear norm by the seventeenth. The trend of presenting types as matching in typefounders' specimens developed also over this period. Italics developed stylistically over the following centuries, tracking changing tastes in calligraphy and type design. One major development that slowly became popular from the end of the seventeenth century was a switch to an open form h matching the n, a development seen in the Romain du roi type of the 1690s, replacing the folded, closed-form h of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century italics, and sometimes simplification of the entrance stroke.
An example of normal (roman) and true italics text:
The same example, as oblique text:
Some examples of possible differences between roman and italic type, besides the slant, are below. The transformations from roman to italics are illustrated:
a "round" or one-storey a,
an e whose bowl is curved rather than pointed,
an f with a tail (known as a descender),
a p with an intersection at the stem (ascender),
a v and w with swashes and curved bottoms,
a z with the stress on the horizontal strokes as opposed to the diagonal vertical one.
None of these differences are required in an italic; some, like the "p" variant, do not show up in the majority of italic fonts, while others, like the "a" and "f" variants, are in almost every italic. Other common differences include:
- Double-loop g replaced by single-loop version.
- Different closing height where the forked stroke intersects with the stem (e.g. : a, b, d, g, p, q, r, þ).
- Bracketed serifs (if any) replaced by hooked serifs.
- Tail of Q replaced by tilde (as in, for example, the Garamond typeface).
Less common differences include a descender on the z and a ball on the finishing stroke of an h, which curves back to resemble a b somewhat. Sometimes the w is of a form taken from old German typefaces, in which the left half is of the same form as the n and the right half is of the same form as the v in the same typeface. There also exist specialized ligatures for italics, such as a curl atop the s which reaches the ascender of the p in sp.
In addition to these differences in shape of letters, italic lowercases usually lack serifs at the bottoms of strokes, since a pen would bounce up to continue the action of writing. Instead they usually have one-sided serifs that curve up on the outstroke (contrast the flat two-sided serifs of a roman font). One uncommon exception to this is Hermann Zapf's Melior. (Its outstroke serifs are one-sided, but they don't curve up.)
Outside the regular alphabet, there are other italic types for symbols:
True italic styles are traditionally somewhat narrower than roman fonts.
- Emphasis: "Smith wasn't the only guilty party, it's true". This is called stress in speech.
- The titles of works that stand by themselves, such as books (including those within a larger series), albums, paintings, plays, and periodicals: "He wrote his thesis on The Scarlet Letter". Works that appear within larger works, such as short stories, poems, or newspaper articles, are not italicized, but merely set off in quotation marks. When italics are unavailable, such as on a typewriter or websites that do not support formatting, an underscore or quotes are often used instead.
- The names of ships: "The Queen Mary sailed last night."
- Foreign words, including the Latin binomial nomenclature in the taxonomy of living organisms: "A splendid coq au vin was served"; "Homo sapiens".
- Mentioning a word as an example of a word rather than for its semantic content (see use–mention distinction): "The word the is an article".
- Using a letter or number mentioned as itself:
- John was annoyed; they had forgotten the h in his name once again.
- When she saw her name beside the 1 on the rankings, she finally had proof that she was the best.
- Using a letter or number mentioned as itself:
- Introducing or defining terms, especially technical terms or those used in an unusual or different way: "Freudian psychology is based on the ego, the super-ego, and the id."; "An even number is one that is a multiple of 2."
- Sometimes in novels to indicate a character's thought process: "This can't be happening, thought Mary."
- Italics are used in the King James Version to de-emphasise words "that have no equivalent in the original text but that are necessary in English.
- Algebraic symbols (constants and variables) are conventionally typeset in italics: "The solution is x = 2."
- Symbols for physical quantities and mathematical constants: "The speed of light, c, is approximately equal to 3.00×108 m/s."
- In biology, gene names (for example, lacZ) are written in italics whereas protein names are written in roman type (e.g. β-galactosidase, which the lacZ gene codes for).
Oblique type compared to italics
Oblique type (or slanted roman, sloped roman) is type that is slanted, but lacking cursive letterforms, with features like a non-descending f and double-storey a, unlike "true italics". Many sans-serif typefaces use oblique designs (sometimes called "sloped roman" styles) instead of italic ones; some have both italic and oblique variants. Type designers have described oblique type as less organic and calligraphic than italics, which in some situations may be preferred. Contemporary type designer Jeremy Tankard stated that he had avoided a true italic 'a' and 'e' in his sans-serif Bliss due to finding them "too soft", while Hoefler and Frere-Jones have described obliques as more "keen and insistent" than true italics.Adrian Frutiger has described obliques as more appropriate to the aesthetic of sans-serifs than italics. In contrast, Martin Majoor has argued that obliques do not contrast enough from the regular style.
Almost all modern serif fonts have true italic designs. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of type foundries such as American Type Founders and Genzsch & Heyse offered serif typefaces with oblique rather than italic designs, especially display typefaces but these designs (such as Genzsch Antiqua) have mostly disappeared. An exception is American Type Founders' Bookman, offered in some releases with the oblique of its metal type version. An unusual example of an oblique font from the inter-war period is the display face Koch Antiqua. With a partly-oblique lower case, it also makes the italic capitals inline in the style of blackletter capitals in the larger sizes of the metal type. It was developed by Rudolph Koch, a type designer who had previously specialised in to blackletter font design (which does not use italics); Walter Tracy described his design as "uninhibited by the traditions of roman and italic".
The printing historian and artistic director Stanley Morison was for a time in the inter-war period interested in the oblique type style, which he felt stood out in text less than a true italic and should supersede it. He argued in his article Towards an Ideal Italic that serif book typefaces should have as the default sloped form an oblique and as a complement a script typeface where a more decorative form was preferred. He made an attempt to promote the idea by commissioning the typeface Perpetua from Eric Gill with a sloped roman rather than an italic, but came to find the style unattractive; Perpetua's italic when finally issued had the conventional italic 'a', 'e' and 'f'. Morison wrote to his friend, type designer Jan van Krimpen, that in developing Perpetua's italic "we did not give enough slope to it. When we added more slope, it seemed that the font required a little more cursive to it."[c] A few other type designers replicated his approach for a time: van Krimpen's Romulus and William Addison Dwiggins' Electra were both released with obliques.[d] Morison's Times New Roman typeface has a very traditional true italic in the style of the late eighteenth century, which he later wryly commented owed "more to Didot than dogma".
Some serif designs primarily intended for headings rather than body text are not provided with an italic, Engravers and some releases of Cooper Black and Baskerville Old Style being common examples of this. In addition, computer programmes may generate an 'italic' style by simply slanting the regular style if they cannot find an italic or oblique style, though this may look awkward with serif fonts for which an italic is expected. Professional designers normally do not simply tilt fonts to generate obliques but make subtle corrections to correct the distorted curves this introduces. Many sans-serif families have oblique fonts labelled as italic, whether or not they include "true italic" characteristics.
More complex usage
Italics within italics
If something within a run of italics needs to be italicized itself, the type is normally switched back to non-italicized (roman) type: "I think The Scarlet Letter had a chapter about that, thought Mary." In this example, the title ("The Scarlet Letter") is within an italicized thought process and therefore this title is non-italicized. It is followed by the main narrative that is outside both. It is also non-italicized and therefore not obviously separated from the former. The reader must find additional criteria to distinguish between these. Here, apart from using the attribute of italic–non-italic styles, the title also employs the attribute of capitalization. Citation styles in which book titles are italicized differ on how to deal with a book title within a book title; for example, MLA style specifies a switch back to roman type, whereas The Chicago Manual of Style (8.184) specifies the use of quotation marks (A Key to Whitehead's "Process and Reality"). An alternative option is to switch to an 'upright italic' style if the typeface used has one; this is discussed below.
Left-leaning italics are very rare in Latin alphabet use, where their use is mostly restricted to occasional use where an attention-grabbing effect is sought. They are more common in Arabic printing.
In certain Arabic fonts (e.g.: Adobe Arabic, Boutros Ads), the italic font has the top of the letter leaning to the left, instead of leaning to the right. Some font families, such as Venus, Roemisch, Topografische Zahlentafel, include left leaning fonts and letters designed for German cartographic map production, even though they do not support Arabic characters.
Iranic font style
In the 1950s, Gholamhossein Mosahab invented the Iranic font style, a back-slanted italic form to go with the right-to-left direction of the script.
Since italic styles clearly look different from regular (roman) styles, it is possible to have 'upright italic' designs that have a cursive style but remain upright. In Latin-script countries, upright italics are rare but are sometimes used in mathematics or in complex texts where a section of text already in italics needs a 'double italic' style to add emphasis to it. Donald Knuth's Computer Modern has an alternate upright italic as an alternative to its standard italic, since its intended use is complex mathematics typesetting.
Font families with an upright or near-upright italic only include Jan van Krimpen's Romanée, Eric Gill's Joanna, Martin Majoor's FF Seria and Frederic Goudy's Deepdene. The popular book typeface Bembo has been sold with two italics: one reasonably straightforward design that is commonly used today, and an alternative upright 'Condensed Italic' design, far more calligraphic, as a more eccentric alternative. This italic face was designed by Alfred Fairbank and named "Bembo Condensed Italic", Monotype series 294.  Some Arts and Crafts movement-influenced printers such as Gill also revived the original italic system of italic lower-case only from the nineteenth century onwards.
The Chicago Manual of Style suggests that to avoid problems such as overlapping and unequally spaced characters, parentheses and brackets surrounding text that begins and ends in italic or oblique type should also be italicized (as in this example). An exception to this rule applies when only one end of the parenthetical is italicized (in which case roman type is preferred, as on the right of this example).
In The Elements of Typographic Style, however, it is argued that since Italic delimiters are not historically correct, the upright versions should always be used, while paying close attention to kerning.
In media where italicization is not possible, alternatives are used as substitutes:
- In typewritten or handwritten text, underlining is typically used.
- In plain-text computer files, including e-mail communication, italicized words are often indicated by surrounding them with slashes or other matched delimiters. For example:
- I was /really/ annoyed.
- They >completely< forgot me!
- I had _nothing_ to do with it. (Commonly interpreted as underlining, which is an alternative to italics.)
- It was *absolutely* horrible. (Commonly interpreted as bold. This and the previous example signify italic in Markdown.)
- Where the italics do not indicate emphasis, but are marking a title or where a word is being mentioned or defined as a direct object, quotation marks may be substituted:
- The word "the" is an article.
- The term "even number" refers to a number that is a multiple of 2.
- The story "A Sound of Thunder" was written by Ray Bradbury.
In HTML, the element is used to produce italic (or oblique) text. When the author wants to indicate emphasized text, modern Web standards recommend using the element, because it conveys that the content is to be emphasized, even if it cannot be displayed in italics. Conversely, if the italics are purely ornamental rather than meaningful, then semantic markup practices would dictate that the author use the Cascading Style Sheets declaration along with an appropriate, semantic class name instead of an or element.
- ^Ewan Clayton (5 September 2013). The Golden Thread: The Story of Writing. Atlantic Books. pp. 104–6. ISBN 978-1-78239-034-3.
- ^Hoefler, Jonathan. "Italics Examined". Hoefler & Co.Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- ^Truss, Lynne (2004), Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, New York: Gotham Books, p. 146, ISBN 1-59240-087-6
- ^"Aldus Manutius". Pioneers of Print. University of Manchester. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- ^ abcdefgHendrik D. L. Vervliet (2008). The Palaeotypography of the French Renaissance: Selected Papers on Sixteenth-century Typefaces. BRILL. pp. 287–319. ISBN 90-04-16982-2.
- ^Oxford University Press (1 June 2010). Aldo Manuzio (Aldus Manutius): Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-19-980945-5.
- ^Berthold Louis Ullman, The origin and development of humanistic script, Rome, 1960, p. 77
- ^"Roman vs Italic". Type to Print: The Book & The Type Specimen Book. Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- ^ abcdeKaufmann, Ueli. "The design and spread of Froben's early Italics". Department of Typography & Graphic Communication. University of Reading. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- ^ abCarter, Harry (1969). A View of Early Typography. pp. 117–126.
- ^Updike, D.B. (1927), Printing Types: Their History, Form and Use, Harvard University
- ^ abMorison, Stanley; Johnson, Alfred (2009). "3: The Chancery Types of Italy and France". In McKitterick, David John. Selected essays on the history of letter-forms in manuscript and print. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 30–45. ISBN 978-0-521-18316-1. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- ^Morison, Stanley (1973). A Tally of Types. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 41–60. ISBN 978-0-521-09786-4.
- ^Hoefler, Jonathan. "Requiem". Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- ^ ab"Fairbank". Monotype. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- ^ ab"Fairbank". MyFonts. Monotype.
- ^"Fairbanks Italic specimen"(PDF). Monotype. Archived from the original(PDF) on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- ^"Alfred Fairbank"(PDF). Klingspor Museum. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- ^"Poetica". MyFonts. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- ^Clair, Colin (1969). A Chronology of Printing. p. 43.
- ^Lane, John (1983). "The Types of Nicholas Kis". Journal of the Printing Historical Society: 47–75.
- ^Johnson, Alfred F. (1930). "The Evolution of the Modern-Face Roman". The Library. s4-XI (3): 353–377. doi:10.1093/library/s4-XI.3.353.
- ^Dreyfus, John (1950). "The Baskerville Punches 1750–1950". The Library. s5–V (1): 26–48. doi:10.1093/library/s5-V.1.26.
- ^Ewan Clayton (11 February 2014). The Golden Thread: A History of Writing. Counterpoint LLC. pp. 205–210. ISBN 978-1-61902-242-3.
- ^Morison, Stanley (1937). "Type Designs of the Past and Present, Part 3". PM: 17–81. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
- ^Mosley, James. "Comments on Typophile thread". Retrieved 27 March 2017.
- ^Butterick, Matthew. "Bold or italics?". Practical Typography. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- ^Butterick, Matthew. "Small caps". Practical Typography. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- ^"Formatting Book Titles in the Digital Age". dailywritingtips.com.
- ^University of Minnesota Style Manual, University of Minnesota, July 18, 2007, archived from the original on March 24, 2010, retrieved October 22, 2009
- ^Norton, David (2005). A Textual History of the King James Bible. Cambridge University Press. p. 162. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- ^Mills, I. M.; Metanomski, W. V. (December 1999), On the use of italic and roman fonts for symbols in scientific text(PDF), IUPAC Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols, retrieved 9 November 2012 . This document was slightly revised in 2007* and full text included in the Guidelines For Drafting IUPAC Technical Reports And Recommendations and also in the 3rd edition of the IUPAC Green Book. *Refer to Chemistry International. Volume 36, Issue 5, Pages 23–24, ISSN (Online) 1365-2192, ISSN (Print) 0193-6484, DOI: 10.1515/ci-2014-0529, September 2014
- ^See also Typefaces for Symbols in Scientific Manuscripts, NIST, January 1998. This cites the family of ISO standards 31-0:1992 to 31-13:1992.
- ^"More on Printing and Using Symbols and Numbers in Scientific and Technical Documents". Chapter 10 of NIST Special Publication 811 (SP 811): Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI). 2008 Edition, by Ambler Thompson and Barry N. Taylor. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, US. March 2008. 76 pages. This cites the ISO standards 31-0:1992 and 31-11:1992, but notes "Currently ISO 31 is being revised [...]. The revised joint standards ISO/IEC 80000-1—ISO/IEC 80000-15 will supersede ISO 31-0:1992—ISO 31-13.".
- ^"The NCBI Style Guide: Style Points and Conventions". National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- ^"Guidelines for Formatting Gene and Protein Names". BioScience Writers. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- ^Majoor, Martin. "Inclined to be dull". Eye magazine. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
A common view of when to use italics and bold text. An additional option for emphasis is to use small capitals for a word or name to stand out.
"Calligrapher" redirects here. For the novel, see The Calligrapher.
Further information: Handwriting and Script typeface
Calligraphy (from Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad tip instrument, brush, or other writing instruments.:17 A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner".:18
Modern calligraphy ranges from functional inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the letters may or may not be readable.[page needed] Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may practice both.
Calligraphy continues flourishing in the forms of wedding invitations and event invitations, font design and typography, original hand-lettered logo design, religious art, announcements, graphic design and commissioned calligraphic art, cut stone inscriptions, and memorial documents. It is also used for props and moving images for film and television, testimonials, birth and death certificates, maps, and other written works.
The principal tools for a calligrapher are the pen and the brush. Calligraphy pens write with nibs that may be flat, round, or pointed. For some decorative purposes, multi-nibbed pens—steel brushes—can be used. However, works have also been created with felt-tip and ballpoint pens, although these works do not employ angled lines. There are some styles of calligraphy, such as Gothic script, that require a stub nib pen.
Writing ink is usually water-based and is much less viscous than the oil-based inks used in printing. High quality paper, which has good consistency of absorption,[clarification needed] enables cleaner lines, although parchment or vellum is often used, as a knife can be used to erase imperfections and a light-box is not needed to allow lines to pass through it. Normally, light boxes and templates are used to achieve straight lines without pencil markings detracting from the work. Ruled paper, either for a light box or direct use, is most often ruled every quarter or half inch, although inch spaces are occasionally used. This is the case with litterea unciales (hence the name), and college-ruled paper often acts as a guideline well.
Common calligraphy pens and brushes are:
Main article: Western calligraphy
Western calligraphy is recognizable by the use of the Latin script. The Latin alphabet appeared about 600 BC, in Rome, and by the first century[clarification needed] developed into Roman imperial capitals carved on stones, Rustic capitals painted on walls, and Roman cursive for daily use. In the second and third centuries the uncial lettering style developed. As writing withdrew to monasteries, uncial script was found more suitable for copying the Bible and other religious texts. It was the monasteries which preserved calligraphic traditions during the fourth and fifth centuries, when the Roman Empire fell and Europe entered the Dark Ages.
At the height of the Empire, its power reached as far as Great Britain; when the empire fell, its literary influence remained. The Semi-uncial generated the Irish Semi-uncial, the small Anglo-Saxon. Each region developed its own standards following the main monastery of the region (i.e. Merovingian script, Laon script, Luxeuil script, Visigothic script, Beneventan script), which are mostly cursive and hardly readable.
Christian churches promoted the development of writing through the prolific copying of the Bible, particularly the New Testament and other sacred texts. Two distinct styles of writing known as uncial and half-uncial (from the Latin "uncia", or "inch") developed from a variety of Roman bookhands. The 7th-9th centuries in northern Europe were the heyday of Celtic illuminated manuscripts, such as the Book of Durrow, Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.
Charlemagne's devotion to improved scholarship resulted in the recruiting of "a crowd of scribes", according to Alcuin, the Abbot of York. Alcuin developed the style known as the Caroline or Carolingian minuscule. The first manuscript in this hand was the Godescalc Evangelistary (finished 783)—a Gospel book written by the scribe Godescalc. Carolingian remains the one progenitor hand from which modern booktype descends.
In the eleventh century, the Caroline evolved into the Gothic script, which was more compact and made it possible to fit more text on a page.:72 The Gothic calligraphy styles became dominant throughout Europe; and in 1454, when Johannes Gutenberg developed the first printing press in Mainz, Germany, he adopted the Gothic style, making it the first typeface.:141
In the 15th century, the rediscovery of old Carolingian texts encouraged the creation of the humanist minuscule or littera antiqua. The 17th century saw the Batarde script from France, and the 18th century saw the English script spread across Europe and world through their books.
In the mid-1600s French officials, flooded with documents written in various hands and varied levels of skill, complained that many such documents were beyond their ability to decipher. The Office of the Financier thereupon restricted all legal documents to three hands, namely the Coulee, the Rhonde, (known as Round hand in English) and a Speed Hand sometimes simply called the Bastarda.
While there were many great French masters at the time, the most influential in proposing these hands was Louis Barbedor, who published Les Ecritures Financière Et Italienne Bastarde Dans Leur Naturel circa 1650.
With the destruction of the Camera Apostolica during the sack of Rome (1527), the capitol for writing masters moved to Southern France. By 1600, the Italic Cursiva began to be replaced by a technological refinement, the Italic Chancery Circumflessa, which in turn fathered the Rhonde and later English Roundhand.
In England, Ayres and Banson popularized the Round Hand while Snell is noted for his reaction to them, and warnings of restraint and proportionality. Still Edward Crocker began publishing his copybooks 40 years before the aforementioned.
Sacred Western calligraphy has some special features, such as the illumination of the first letter of each book or chapter in medieval times. A decorative "carpet page" may precede the literature, filled with ornate, geometrical depictions of bold-hued animals. The Lindisfarne Gospels (715–720 AD) are an early example.
As with Chinese or Islamic calligraphy, Western calligraphic script employed the use of strict rules and shapes. Quality writing had a rhythm and regularity to the letters, with a "geometrical" order of the lines on the page. Each character had, and often still has, a precise stroke order.
Unlike a typeface, irregularity in the characters' size, style, and colors increases aesthetic value,[dubious– discuss] though the content may be illegible. Many of the themes and variations of today's contemporary Western calligraphy are found in the pages of The Saint John's Bible. A particularly modern example is Timothy Botts' illustrated edition of the Bible, with 360 calligraphic images as well as a calligraphy typeface.
Several other Western styles use the same tools and practices, but differ by character set and stylistic preferences. For Slavonic lettering, the history of the Slavonic and consequently Russianwriting systems differs fundamentally from the one of the Latin language. It evolved from the 10th century to today.
See also: Chinese calligraphy, Japanese calligraphy, Korean calligraphy, and Vietnamese calligraphy
The Chinese name for calligraphy is shūfǎ (書法 in Traditional Chinese, literally "the method or law of writing"); the Japanese name shodō (書道, literally "the way or principle of writing"); the Korean is seoye (Korean: 서예/書藝, literally "the art of writing"); and the Vietnamese is Thư pháp (書法, literally "the way of letters or words"). The calligraphy of East Asian characters is an important and appreciated aspect of East Asian culture.
In ancient China, the oldest Chinese characters existing are Jiǎgǔwén (甲骨文) characters carved on ox scapulae and tortoise plastrons, because the dominators in Shang Dynasty carved pits on such animals' bones and then baked them to gain auspice of military affairs, agricultural harvest, or even procreating and weather. During the divination ceremony, after the cracks were made, the characters were written with a brush on the shell or bone to be later carved.(Keightley, 1978). With the development of Jīnwén (Bronzeware script) and Dàzhuàn (Large Seal Script) "cursive" signs continued. Moreover, each archaic kingdom of current China had its own set of characters.
In Imperial China, the graphs on old steles—some dating from 200 BC, and in Xiaozhuan style—are still accessible.
About 220 BC, the emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first to conquer the entire Chinese basin, imposed several reforms, among them Li Si's character unification, which created a set of 3300 standardized Xiǎozhuàn（小篆） characters. Despite the fact that the main writing implement of the time was already the brush, few papers survive from this period, and the main examples of this style are on steles.
The Lìshū（隶书） style (clerical script) which is more regularized, and in some ways similar to modern text, have been also authorised under Qin Shi Huangdi.
Kǎishū style (traditional regular script)—still in use today—and attributed to Wang Xizhi (王羲之, 303–361) and his followers, is even more regularized. Its spread was encouraged by Emperor Mingzong of Later Tang (926–933), who ordered the printing of the classics using new wooden blocks in Kaishu. Printing technologies here allowed a shape stabilization. The Kaishu shape of characters 1000 years ago was mostly similar to that at the end of Imperial China. But small changes have been made, for example in the shape of 广 which is not absolutely the same in the Kangxi Dictionary of 1716 as in modern books. The Kangxi and current shapes have tiny differences, while stroke order is still the same, according to old style.
Styles which did not survive include Bāfēnshū, a mix made of Xiaozhuan style at 80%, and Lishu at 20%. Some variant Chinese characters were unorthodox or locally used for centuries. They were generally understood but always rejected in official texts. Some of these unorthodox variants, in addition to some newly created characters, compose the Simplified Chinese character set.
Traditional East Asian writing uses the Four Treasures of the Study (文房四寶/文房四宝): the ink brushes known as máobǐ (毛笔) to write Chinese characters, Chinese ink, paper, and inkstone, known as the Four Friends of the Study (Korean: 문방사우, translit. 文房四友) in Korea. In addition to these four tools, desk pads and paperweights are also used.
The shape, size, stretch, and hair type of the ink brush, the color, color density and water density of the ink, as well as the paper's water absorption speed and surface texture are the main physical parameters influencing the final result. The calligrapher's technique also influences the result. The calligrapher's work is influenced by the quantity of ink and water he lets the brush take, then by the pressure, inclination, and direction he gives to the brush, producing thinner or bolder strokes, and smooth or toothed borders. Eventually, the speed, accelerations, decelerations of the writer's moves, turns, and crochets, and the stroke order give the "spirit" to the characters, by greatly influencing their final shapes.
Cursive styles such as xíngshū (semi-cursive or running script) and cǎoshū (cursive or grass script) are less constrained and faster, where more movements made by the writing implement are visible. These styles' stroke orders vary more, sometimes creating radically different forms. They are descended from Clerical script, in the same time as Regular script (Han Dynasty), but xíngshū and cǎoshū were used for personal notes only, and never used as a standard. The cǎoshū style was highly appreciated in Emperor Wu of Han reign (140–187 AD).
Examples of modern printed styles are Song from the Song Dynasty's printing press, and sans-serif. These are not considered traditional styles, and are normally not written.
Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese calligraphies were greatly influenced by Chinese calligraphy. The Japanese and Korean people have also developed specific sensibilities and styles of calligraphy. For example, Japanese calligraphy go out of the set of CJK strokes to also include local alphabets such as hiragana and katakana, with specific problematics such as new curves and moves, and specific materials (Japanese paper, washi和紙, and Japanese ink). In the case of Korean calligraphy, the Hangeul and the existence of the circle required the creation of a new technique which usually confuses Chinese calligraphers.
Temporary calligraphy is a practice of water-only calligraphy on the floor, which dries out within minutes. This practice is especially appreciated by the new generation of retired Chinese in public parks of China. These will often open studio-shops in tourist towns offering traditional Chinese calligraphy to tourists. Other than writing the clients name, they also sell fine brushes as souvenirs and lime stone carved stamps.
Since late 1980s, a few Chinese artists have branched out traditional Chinese calligraphy to a new territory by mingling Chinese characters with English letters; notable new forms of calligraphy are Xu Bing's square calligraphy and DanNie's coolligraphy or cooligraphy.
Mongolian calligraphy is also influenced by Chinese calligraphy, from tools to style.
Calligraphy has influenced ink and wash painting, which is accomplished using similar tools and techniques. Calligraphy has influenced most major art styles in East Asia, including ink and wash painting, a style of Chinese, Korean, Japanese painting, and Vietnamese painting based entirely on calligraphy.
Main article: Indian calligraphy
On the subject of Indian calligraphy, writes:
Aśoka's edicts (c. 265–238 BC) were committed to stone. These inscriptions are stiff and angular in form. Following the Aśoka style of Indic writing, two new calligraphic types appear: Kharoṣṭī and Brāhmī. Kharoṣṭī was used in the northwestern regions of India from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century of the Christian Era, and it was used in Central Asia until the 8th century.
In many parts of ancient India, the inscriptions were carried out in smoke-treated palm leaves. This tradition dates back to over two thousand years. Even after the Indian languages were put on paper in the 13th century, palm leaves where considered a preferred medium of writing owing to its longevity (nearly 400 years) compared to paper. Both sides of the leaves were used for writing. Long rectangular strips were gathered on top of one another, holes were drilled through all the leaves, and the book was held together by string. Books of this manufacture were common to Southeast Asia. The palm leaf was an excellent surface for penwriting, making possible the delicate lettering used in many of the scripts of southern Asia.
Burnt clay and copper were a favoured material for Indic inscriptions. In the north of India, birch bark was used as a writing surface as early as the 2nd century AD.
Main article: Nepalese calligraphy
Ranjana script is the primary form of Nepalese calligraphy. The script itself, along with its derivatives (like Lantsa, Phagpa, Kutila) are used in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Leh, Mongolia, coastal Japan, and Korea to write "Om mani padme hum" and other sacred Buddhist texts, mainly those derived from Sanskrit and Pali.
Main article: Thai calligraphy
Sanskrit is the primary form of Thai calligraphy. Historically Thai calligraphy has been limited to sacred texts of the Pali Canon with few wider artistic applications where graphic calligraphy representing figures and objects is produced. Calligraphy appears on the personal flag of each member of the Thai royal family bearing its owner's initials in calligraphy. The most obvious place in the country where calligraphy is present is in graffiti. A few books have been published with calligraphic compositions.
Main article: Tibetan calligraphy
Calligraphy is central in Tibetan culture. The script is derived from Indic scripts. The nobles of Tibet, such as the High Lamas and inhabitants of the Potala Palace, were usually capable calligraphers. Tibet has been a center of Buddhism for several centuries, and that religion places a great deal of significance on written word. This does not provide for a large body of secular pieces, although they do exist (but are usually related in some way to Tibetan Buddhism). Almost all high religious writing involved calligraphy, including letters sent by the Dalai Lama and other religious and secular authority. Calligraphy is particularly evident on their prayer wheels, although this calligraphy was forged rather than scribed, much like Arab and Roman calligraphy is often found on buildings. Although originally done with a reed, Tibetan calligraphers now use chisel tipped pens and markers as well.
Main article: Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy (calligraphy in Arabic is khatt ul-yadخط اليد) has evolved alongside Islam and the Arabic language. As it is based on Arabic letters, some call it "Arabic calligraphy". However the term "Islamic calligraphy" is a more appropriate term as it comprises all works of calligraphy by the Muslim calligraphers from Andalusia in modern Spain to China.
Islamic calligraphy is associated with geometric Islamic art (arabesque) on the walls and ceilings of mosques as well as on the page. Contemporary artists in the Islamic world draw on the heritage of calligraphy to use calligraphic inscriptions or abstractions.
Instead of recalling something related to the spoken word, calligraphy for Muslims is a visible expression of the highest art of all, the art of the spiritual world. Calligraphy has arguably become the most venerated form of Islamic art because it provides a link between the languages of the Muslims with the religion of Islam. The Qur'an has played an important role in the development and evolution of the Arabic language, and by extension, calligraphy in the Arabic alphabet. Proverbs and passages from the Qur'an are still sources for Islamic calligraphy.
It is generally accepted that Islamic calligraphy excelled during the Ottoman era.[by whom?] Istanbul is an open exhibition hall for all kinds and varieties of calligraphy, from inscriptions in mosques to fountains, schools, houses, etc.
Main article: Persian calligraphy
The history of calligraphy in Persia dates back to the pre-Islam era. In Zoroastrianism beautiful and clear writings were always praised.
It is believed that ancient Persian script was invented by about 600–500 BC to provide monument inscriptions for the Achaemenid kings. These scripts consisted of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal nail-shape letters, which is why it is called "script of nails/cuneiform script" (khat-e-mikhi) in Persian. Centuries later, other scripts such as "Pahlavi" and "Avestan" scripts were used in ancient Persia.
The Nasta'liq style is the most popular contemporary style among classical Persian calligraphy scripts; Persian calligraphers call it the "bride of calligraphy scripts". This calligraphy style has been based on such a strong structure that it has changed very little since. Mir Ali Tabrizi had found the optimum composition of the letters and graphical rules so it has just been fine-tuned during the past seven centuries. It has very strict rules for graphical shape of the letters and for combination of the letters, words, and composition of the whole calligraphy piece.
Mayan calligraphy was expressed via Mayan hieroglyphs; modern Mayan calligraphy is mainly used on seals and monuments in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Mayan hieroglyphs are rarely used in government offices; however in Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo, Mayan calligraphy is written in Latin letters.[clarification needed] Some commercial companies in southern Mexico use Mayan hieroglyphs as symbols of their business. Some community associations and modern Mayan brotherhoods use Mayan hieroglyphs as symbols of their groups.
Most of the archaeological sites in Mexico such as Chichen Itza, Labna, Uxmal, Edzna, Calakmul, etc. have glyphs in their structures. Carved stone monuments known as stele are common sources of ancient Mayan calligraphy.
After printing became ubiquitous from the 15th century, the production of illuminated manuscripts began to decline. However, the rise of printing did not mean the end of calligraphy.
The modern revival of calligraphy began at the end of the 19th century, influenced by the aesthetics and philosophy of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. Edward Johnston is regarded as being the father of modern calligraphy. After studying published copies of manuscripts by architect William Harrison Cowlishaw, he was introduced to William Lethaby in 1898, principal of the Central School of Arts and Crafts, who advised him to study manuscripts at the British Museum.
This triggered Johnston's interest in the art of calligraphy with the use of a broad edged pen. He began a teaching course in calligraphy at the Central School in Southampton Row, London from September 1899, where he influenced the typeface designer and sculptor Eric Gill. He was commissioned by Frank Pick to design a new typeface for London Underground, still used today (with minor modifications).
He has been credited for reviving the art of modern penmanship and lettering single-handedly through his books and teachings - his handbook on the subject, Writing & Illuminating, & Lettering (1906) was particularly influential on a generation of British typographers and calligraphers, including Graily Hewitt, Stanley Morison, Eric Gill, Alfred Fairbank and Anna Simons. Johnston also devised the simply crafted round calligraphic handwriting style, written with a broad pen, known today as the Foundational hand. Johnston initially taught his students an uncial hand using a flat pen angle, but later taught his hand using a slanted pen angle. He first referred to this hand as "Foundational Hand" in his 1909 publication, Manuscript & Inscription Letters for Schools and Classes and for the Use of Craftsmen.
Graily Hewitt taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and published together with Johnston throughout the early part of the century. Hewitt was central to the revival of gilding in calligraphy, and his prolific output on type design also appeared between 1915 and 1943. He is attributed with the revival of gilding with gesso and gold leaf on vellum. Hewitt helped to found the Society of Scribes & Illuminators (SSI) in 1921, probably the world's foremost calligraphy society.
Hewitt is not without both critics and supporters in his rendering of Cennino Cennini's medieval gesso recipes.Donald Jackson, a British calligrapher, has sourced his gesso recipes from earlier centuries a number of which are not presently in English translation. Graily Hewitt created the patent announcing the award to Prince Philip of the title of Duke of Edinburgh on November 19, 1947, the day before his marriage to Queen Elizabeth.
Johnston’s pupil, Anna Simons, was instrumental in sparking off interest in calligraphy in Germany with her German translation of Writing and Illuminating, and Lettering in 1910. Austrian Rudolf Larisch, a teacher of lettering at the Vienna School of Art, published six lettering books that greatly influenced German-speaking calligraphers. Because German-speaking countries had not abandoned the Gothic hand in printing, Gothic also had a powerful effect on their styles.
Rudolf Koch was a friend and younger contemporary of Larisch. Koch's books, type designs, and teaching made him one of the most influential calligraphers of the 20th century in northern Europe and later in the U.S. Larisch and Koch taught and inspired many European calligraphers, notably Karlgeorg Hoefer, and Hermann Zapf.
Contemporary typefaces used by computers, from word processors like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages to professional designers' software like Adobe InDesign, owe a considerable debt to the past and to a small number of professional typeface designers today.
Unicode provides "Script" and "Fraktur" Latin alphabets that can be used for calligraphy. See Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols.
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- ^de Hamel 2001a
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- ^Jackson 1981: 64
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- ^de Hamel 1994: 46
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- ^ ab