Calligraphy in Design 2: crazy over calligraphy

In the second part of our Calligraphy in Design series, our Senior Graphic Designer – and typography fan – Paola Ferreyra explores some of the different styles of calligraphy and showcases the artists who have mastered the style.

In the second installment of our Calligraphy in Design series, we’ll introduce you to the different styles and movements within calligraphy. From traditional to experimental, calligraphy comes in many styles.

Style 1: Gestural calligraphy

Gestural calligraphy can refer to a variety of different styles that use a formal base, but are created with energetic strokes or non-traditional tools. In abandoning the pursuit of perfect, almost artificial letterforms, the result is a hand-made, rhythmic look, which can be as legible or as abstract as desired.

One such designer creating calligraphy in this style is Luca Barcellona, the Italian calligrapher, who, as well as mastering traditional scripts like fraktur and italics, mixes these with graffiti/urban influences, to create a style of his own.

Style 2: Roman Capitals

Roman capitals’ balance and elegance is the stuff of legend, and there’s a reason why it has practically stayed the same since the times of the Roman Empire. As one of the most complex styles to master, it requires incredible precision and a sharp eye. 

When we think of Roman capitals, we also think of John Stevens. This American lettering artist, author, calligrapher and teacher is regarded as one of the best modern calligraphers. There’s not a style he can’t write masterfully, and for calligraphy enthusiasts, there aren’t many more beautiful sights than watching him write in Roman capitals with a flat brush – it’s truly awe-inspiring!

Style 3: Italics

Italics, also known as Cancelleresca, originated in the Renaissance. It’s an elegant script created to be functional since it’s supposed to be written in speed, and that’s what creates its iconic slant. 

Ricardo Rousselot is an Argentinian calligrapher and designer, whose work in graphic design often incorporates a lot of calligraphy and lettering. Even though his work on some of Spain’s biggest brands are iconic, some of his most stunning projects are his calligraphic ‘Ex-Libris’, hand-made with his italic script.

Style 4: Copperplate 

Copperplate is probably the first kind of script that comes to mind when people talk about calligraphy. Its elegant elongated and oval shapes are often finished with ornate flourishes and curls, making it one of the most popular and eye-catching styles of calligraphy. 

Suzanne Cunningham is one of the great exponents of this style. This calligrapher and instructor, an expert in pointed pen styles, displays a meticulous and ornate flourishing technique that is definitely jaw-dropping.