Handwriting and visual perception

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‘Ordinary copybooks seem to have followed a highly doubtful tradition of engraver’s letters — which cannot really be copied in writing, even by an adult pen’ wrote Edward Johnston some 100 years ago.

Looking at contemporary copy books or ‘writing work books’ as they now like to call them, little has changed. Continue reading

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Walking before running

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To think of teaching children regular handwriting before any cursive or running script is introduced appears commonsensical. But implementing such an idea in the Western education system is difficult. Continue reading

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Foundational hand

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Sheila Waters in the Foundations of Calligraphy writes: ‘At the beginning of the twentieth century, Edward Johnston was the major discoverer of the lost art of how formal bookhands of ancient illuminated manuscripts had been written: Continue reading

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Handwriting, the way into typography

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Jan Tschichold (1902-1974) spent 8 years working in Munich and teaching at the printers school. When the Nazis took control of Germany in 1933, Tschichold, who was considered avant–garde, accused of cultural Bolshevism and arrested. Soon after publishing The New Typography in 1928, Continue reading

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Reorganizing the alphabet

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The alphabetic order doesn’t have any aparent logic; it’s origin is a mystery.
The best explanation for the fact that b follows a and c, b is found in Continue reading

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Typography and handwriting

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I was re-reading Type Now by the typographer Fred Smeijers, where I came across some of his calligraphic studies. Continue reading

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Sharpness

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When examining manuscript books, often, one of their most striking qualities is sharpness. Scribes used sharp nibs and primed paper Continue reading

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