The ancient art of calligraphy has been around for many centuries and is said to have originated in China in the 7th century, AD, when the first Buddhist manuscripts written in syllabic script started circulating through Asia and beyond.
In Europe, the Latin alphabet developed into Roman imperial capitals in Rome around 600 BC, with the script evolving over centuries until becoming what it is today.
Calligraphy, which is described as decorative, handwritten lettering, was typically reserved for manuscripts of great importance, such as the Bible and the Quran. These days, calligraphy has morphed into an art form used for various purposes. Here are four ways calligraphy is used today.
Posters or invitations for special events are created to inform what the occasion is all about – without the use of too many words that might clutter up a beautiful design. This is where designers turn to calligraphy to set the tone of the event.
A wedding invite with curvaceous, elegant lettering on vintage paper lets recipients know that this is bound to be a sophisticated affair. A poster announcing a certain event with the use of whimsical scripture evokes feelings of warmth and playfulness, hence, interested parties won’t be at the risk of mistaking the occasion for an industrial rave.
Calligraphy is not only beautiful, it conveys emotion and evokes certain feelings which is exactly the idea behind its use in commercial advertising.
Whether it’s the blackboard of your cool local cafeteria announcing this weeks’ specials with eye-catching handwritten letters or the brand-name of a bridal boutique selling luxurious gowns and bridesmaids dresses, one look at these gorgeously crafted letters will immediately tell us a story and inform what the establishment is offering.
Business owners and proprietors are always looking for different, creative ways to make their brand-name stick and, one of the main marketing methods is the creation of attractive advertising materials and client gifts with a strong presence of your logo or brand-name.
Stationary materials such as post-it pads, pens, postcards etc. have always worked wonders for establishments such as hotels, restaurants and other social institutions. Presented in calligraphy, the brand-name enhances the attractiveness of the product and will serve as a constant reminder of the company.
Books no longer tend to be printed with calligraphic scripture, but graphic novels certainly do – the calligraphy present in the works of Dave Sim’s Cerebus, for example, spans different styles and very much informs the time and setting of the story, as well as the characters’ emotional landscapes.
Though we tend to think of most graphic novels to be written in Comic Sans and the like, many artists team up with renowned letterers who can tell an entire story through their choice of lettering.
Delve deeper into the world of graffiti and you’ll come to find that, not only is this street art form very much steeped in lettering, it also has its very own calligraphic style known as calligraffiti.
Some of the most inspiring urban artists of the moment dabble with different forms of calligraffiti, most of which are shared on their preferred canvas – the streets – and some of which even make their way into public institutions such as The San Francisco Opera, where L.A. based calligraffiti artist, Retna, designed the backdrop for Aida, thanks to his inspirational use of hieroglyphics.
A lot of people have one image in mind when it comes to meditation – that of a yogic figure sitting cross-legged, with their fingers in different mudras, chanting om mani padme hum.
The truth is, however, that there are many forms of meditation, many of which are quite creative and active, such as drawing mandalas and, yes, you guessed it, practicing calligraphy. It is a meditative practice in that it promotes a deep-seated focus on beauty that will reconnect you to the steadiness of your breath. So, if the traditional form of meditation does nothing for you, try taking up calligraphy instead.