Being taught at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague in the late nineties, I left the academy with a ‘Hague scrawl’. A type of cursive handwriting that most students (that were interested in type) developed during their studies. Unfortunately, I think it is not taught anymore.
Since the script is so terribly comfortable and easy, I decided to spread the love for it and organise masterclasses and courses about it. I simplified the system for writing this ‘Hague scrawl’, made a typeface that explains the construction, and wrote a manual to practise.
It seems quite hard to find the right people to attend the lessons. What does this mean? Handwriting is gone? Pondering about this, I was thinking about my type design teachers at the academy and literally ALL of them take care of their handwriting. To me, it looks quite ridiculous to NOT do that as a typedesigner. I’m really curious to know how you think about that?
The possible problem is that sometimes the audience likes the content but is not sure what exactly is going on (because people scroll half-minded through the social networks).
For example some of my friends like my type design posts for years, but when we met in person they were not sure what exactly I am doing, and they didn't realize that I am actually trying to SELL fonts.
That said, I really like your script system and videos but wasn't aware you run the course.
I guess that a more open "call to action" message should be conveyed more directly. Somehow to tell "I SELL FONTS" or "I RUN THE COURSE". Seems that social networks sadly are not for subtle messages
Or to give a small giveaway, like one free ticket or one free font license. Then people share/tag/comment in order to enter the giveaway.
Also, consulting the marketing expert or sponsor the post might be a good move. On Instagram things happen in terms of thousands of followers, my 330 or so followers mean one or zero fonts sold via Instagram
It reminds me about an interview I once saw with a professor. A student came up to him, telling him that he couldn't read his feedback. 'Oh my god', the professor answered, ‘is my handwriting that bad?!?’ —‘No’, the student said, ‘I can not read handwriting in general. I only can read typed text.’
I thought that learning proper calligraphy would better inform my efforts at type design, while pursuing my interest in cultural history, by hand.
Of course, it’s not necessary to be a calligrapher, or to know anything about it, to design type in this day and age, but as an antiquarian, I had fallen under the spell of Cooper, Goudy, Tschichold and the Zapfs.
The upshot of my calligraphy course was a change in my writing style, incorporating the “joining rules” according to my instructor, which did improve it. At least, I think so.
I have published one cursive “handwriting” typeface, which I subsequently updated with the joining rules implemented with dynamic ligaturing in the <calt> feature, but it doesn’t look much like my own writing style. I have the idea, at the back of my mind, that one day I will knuckle down and make a font that would create a quite accurate facsimile of how I write, but I doubt I’ll get around to it.
My handwriting is terrible, and I've taken only one calligraphy class (below is my best result) but derive comfort from something decidedly controversial my instructor actually said: "The highest compliment is when your calligraphy is mistaken for a font." :->
Yes, you HAVE to calm down to be able to write, to organise your thoughts. And organising your thoughts makes you feel calm. Quite an effective circle!
Here you can see a few of those letters:
In general, I don't think there's necessarily a connection between having good handwriting and being a type designer. There are definitely some with excellent handwriting, though, and some calligraphers who also design type. Their faces tend to have a more calligraphic feel.
In the US, when I was in elementary school in the 1960s, a cursive style, descended from the Palmer hand and the like, was taught. That style was better suited to fountain pens, not ballpoint pens and pencils, which is what we had. And the instruction was not as rigorous as when my mother learned with the Palmer Method. I don't remember anyone in my class having particularly good handwriting.
Gudrun Zapf von Hesse was an apprentice and assistant at the bookbindery of Otto Dorfner in Weimar from 1934 to 1937. Her calligraphy practice began during this apprenticeship; in her acceptance address for the Frederic W. Goudy Award, she said “One afternoon a week we had to write very simple letters. I was not satisfied with this form of instruction; therefore, I taught myself at home, from a detailed examination of the works of Rudolf Koch and Edward Johnston.”
Ever since the establishment pf printing the best calligraphy has been essentially unconcerned with legibility. See the amazing work of Pierre Soulages.
Although painted skeletons can certainly be æsthetically pleasing to readers, that's not really at the level of reading, but merely looking. The closer one gets to text typeface design, the more one needs to eschew chirography. (I wish there was a recording of my ATypI talk of Mexico City...)
And I'm quite envious of my then-6yo boy's freedom from convention: