Although the shapes and glyphs of the characters are different from what we are using today, there is a reason for this change that we will discuss later, in the Calligraphy and Printing section of the article.
The art of calligraphy is not limited to handwriting and written communication in letters, but it has extended to become a branch of creative artwork that modern artists use to express their talent and ideas, such as street art, graffiti, tattoo, body art and poster designs. Many advertising agencies are using calligraphy art to promote their products as well.
The History of Calligraphy
Before we go through the amazing calligraphy art of modern artists, let us start with a brief introduction to the history of Latin characters. The origins of calligraphy go back to 3000 BC, when capital letters were first used and later, in the Carolingian period, lower case letters started to develop. In the beginning, Latin calligraphy was written on papyrus – which was first used by the ancient Egyptian civilization around 3000 BC – and was then replaced by animal skins in the Roman days. Unlike the current calligraphy pens and advanced ink pens, writers in the old days used reed pens that were later replaced with quill pens.
Different styles of Latin calligraphy have been developed by the European civilizations through history. Here are some of the Latin scripts that have developed through the ages: Rustic capitals were used between the 1st and 9th centuries BC. They were similar to Roman Square Capitals, but thinner and less rigid.
Roman Square Capitals were used for writing inscriptions in the days of the Roman Empire, and were known as Latin book hand or Latin cursive when they were used in everyday writing style.
Uncial script, which has developed from the Roman cursive, was used for writing Greek, Latin, and Gothic texts between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD.
Carolingian Minuscule, this script was very developed and was used all over Europe between 800 and 1200 in Christian texts and education materials. Later, this script became obsolete and was replaced by the Blackletter script (Gothic script).
Gothic Script, also known as Blackletter script, was used throughout Western Europe from around 1150 until the 17th century, and the Germans continued to use it until the 20th century. It is distinguished by the shapes of its characters and their strong fonts.
In addition to the above-mentioned scripts there were other styles, such as the Roman Cursive, Beneventan script, visigothic script, Antiqua, and Chancery hand.
Calligraphy and Printing
Along with the invention of printing in the middle of the 15th century, calligraphy continued to rise as the main method of communication. The printing industry helped to spread calligraphy artwork and writings. Before printing, it was hard for calligraphers to replicate their work and create copies of calligraphy writings. They used to have to write the content again and again to create copies of books and other types of communication, which was very hard and time consuming.
The printing process helped calligraphers create copies of their work from a single version of the writings. It also extended their experience by giving them methods to expand their creativity, such as using different printing tools and materials.
Calligraphy and Modern Artists
Nowadays, computers have replaced manual writing, especially in writing documents, letters, and books. Many font designers get their design inspiration from old calligraphy styles. While these styles are not as readable and usable as modern, simple fonts, they can still be used for writing titles and headlines.
Many modern artists and designers get their digital typography and traditional art inspiration from calligraphy, as we will see later in today’s Latin calligraphy showcase. Each of the following artists uses calligraphy to visualize their ideas and creativity in different ways. Some artists follow old calligraphy styles and script standards, while other artists invent their own styles and letter glyphs that mark their work.
Ben is a 26-year-old Canadian calligrapher who currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Ben is also an illustrator and designer who implements calligraphy into his work and designs that vary from corporate identity to book and magazine covers, and product designs. He also uses calligraphy to create logo designs. His artwork is marked by its intersected lines and letters that are inspired by old calligraphy scripts. Ben Johnston’s client list includes large companies such as Disney, Shell, GM Motors, Virgin, Audi, and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Her colorful letters and calligraphy are eye-catching and full of joy and harmony. Car is a graphic designer, illustrator, and calligrapher from Argentina who uses freestyle writing and letters to build her artwork. Although her calligraphy may look simple, it requires great talent to handle the lines and colors in her artwork to create this amazing harmony among the letters.
Nicolás Rojas León
Nicolás is a graphic designer from Chile who is specialized in calligraphy and building identity. He also uses calligraphy to design T-Shirts, business cards and logos.
Pedro is another talented calligrapher from Spain. In addition to using calligraphy in poster and logo design, he also participated in the annual “Fora Series” design festival with his calligraphy.
Giuseppe is an Italian designer and calligrapher with more than 10 years of experience in creative work. Currently, he lives in Germany. His calligraphy design shows a comprehensive usage of lines to form letters and glyphs. Also, he uses letters in different styles and forms.
Jose Luis Vivas Andrade, aka Joluvian, is a talented designer and calligrapher from Venezuela, whose love and passion for design and calligraphy started in his early days. His talent allowed him to work in different types of projects including art directing in advertising agencies. His talent is remarkable using both computer applications and traditional pen and other tools, such as charcoal.
Panco is a designer and calligrapher from Argentina with a special talent in typography and creating talented calligraphy artwork. Panco is also a professor of design workshops and typography at the Hilet institute. Panco’s artwork is distinguished by merging typography and digital art into amazing photo manipulation artwork.
I hope you will enjoy these calligraphy examples and find them inspiring for your design projects. Do not forget to share your opinion about the above examples with us.