Posts tagged "education"

January 28, 2014

Bickham Script: The Allure of the Vintage Form

Book cover for Democracy in America

Cover designed by Alvin Lustig. From the collection of Dr. Shelley Gruendler.

The following is a guest post by educator and typographer Dr. Shelley Gruendler.

George Bickham (1684–1758) published one of the best-known English writing manuals, The Universal Penman, in 1741. His aim was to ease the learning process of formal calligraphic writing with a pointed pen, used primarily for business correspondence. The letterforms were flowing and open and accentuated the thicks and thins, with emphasis on entry and exit strokes, particularly for the capital letters. The business writer and the casual correspondent soon adopted the style that is now known as English Roundhand.

For years both before and after George Bickham’s life, one’s handwriting symbolized intellect and stature in society. Both the rich and poor at the time aimed for appealing and elegant handwriting and, with the proliferation of handwriting manuals of which Bickham’s was one of the most popular, many were able to achieve it.

Considering that these letterforms are nearly 350 years old, it doesn’t mean that they are dusty and dated. Scripts still have purpose and are far from obsolete. In fact, they are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, perhaps as a reaction to the abundance of computer typeset forms. We’re in the middle of an Arts and Crafts revival, and applications of older typefaces and letterforms are now at the forefront.  Continue reading…

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October 30, 2013

The almost-forgotten (but always-awesome) Typography Primer


My motivation for writing this post can be credited to my co-worker Steve Ross. For the past year, Steve has kept saying things like, “Nicole, you know that Typography Primer that was included in Font Folio Education Essentials? It’s a really good primer.”

I always agreed with Steve when he mentioned the primer, thinking we really must do something with such a nifty resource. Then I would get busy with something else entirely and completely forget about that little Typography Primer that was hanging around, collecting dust.

Last month, Steve gave the primer to a program manager who has an office on our floor —a colleague who knows next to nothing about type (sacrilege, I know!). This (formerly) typographically unenlightened program manager read the primer, then sent us an enthusiastic email, saying that everyone at Adobe should read it so they could learn more about typography. Now, that’s something I would love to see happen! But these things take time, so I figured I’d start by sharing the primer with all the awesome folks who follow our blog.

This primer was written back in 2000, but its content is still relevant today. It talks about things like using the right character, choosing and using typefaces, combining typefaces in a publication, and loads of other interesting typographic tidbits. If you follow our blog, you probably already know a lot about type. If that’s the case, why not take a look inside anyway? Think of it as a fun refresher when you need a break from work. Perhaps it’s even something you might share with a co-worker who longs to know more about the mysterious world of x-heights and optical sizes.

And if you’re like Steve, and say to yourself, “Hey, this primer is really great,” we’d love to hear about it! If enough people give positive feedback about our dear little Typography Primer, I might be able to get some printed copies into conference goodie bags next year.

Download our Typography Primer & happy reading!

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