Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is the difference between a Calligrapher and Lettering Artist?

When I tell people what I do…. I wait…. For the stunned silence that follows. After I say “I am a Calligrapher and Lettering Artist” there is always an uncomfortable period of silence, as if the person asking is searching for something positive to say. It’s then usually followed by “What’s a Calligrapher?”. The never ask about Lettering Art. I’m always surprised that in this day and age not many people know what Calligraphy is. Calligraphy dates back to the 6th century and even before that… so it’s not exactly a ‘new’ thing.

I work from my studio ‘Inspired by Script’ in a small market town in North Yorkshire UK. My fellow calligraphers and lettering artists in the US and around the world don’t seem to have this problem. Chinese and Islamic Calligraphy is considered an Art Form and is held in high regard. Perhaps the use of computers makes is oblivious to ‘Hand Lettering’ these days, however many of the fonts on your computer are designed by Calligraphers (Did you know that?) Chances are, if you are a Calligrapher, you did and if you aren’t you probably didn’t.

I use the tern calligraphy to define ‘Formal’ lettering with a particular name for the style, it is regular and consistent and is most useful for Weddings, wedding Albums, and Certificates.



Lettering Art however is freer and lends itself more to expression and personality. Among it’s many uses are mixed media work on canvases, packaging, fun and personalised gifts. Both Calligraphy and Lettering Art can be used together (like my cards here) to create contrast and gain attention in the piece of work.


So I suppose, Calligraphy is what I ‘do’, Lettering Art is what I create.



Sometimes it's one, sometimes both. Whatever the difference, it's a life long passion of mine and far more interesting than the silence that follows the question "What do you do" deserves.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Thank you so much for explaining the difference between calligraphy and lettering arts! I have been trying to figure that out for a while. This was super helpful.

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