Yacotzin Alva


The examination of any current type specimen book invariably discloses a large number of faces designed to imitate some form of handwriting. Strictly speaking, such designs are known as script types. It is a matter of opinion which typefaces should be classified as scripts, especially since all early type designs were derived from written forms. Today, we typically label a typeface as a script if it retains the look of having been written with a pen or other writing implement. Type specimen catalogues of the nineteenth century list numerous examples of such written forms, though these are mostly restricted to styles developed by the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writing masters. Modern scripts differ from those of the last century because of a bewildering variety of structures derived from forms created by different writing instruments, including the broad-edged pen, the steel pen, and the brush. In addition to such traditional sources, more recent scripts have been inspired by the felt-tipped marker, pencil, ruling pen, ball point pen and even the spray paint can. For this thesis project, the author prepared a historical introduction and then attempted to classify as many historic and contemporary script faces as possible in order to determine how type designers are breaking new ground in the structure of these fascinating letterforms. Many recent script faces are radically different from traditional models, while some explore the very limits of style, legibility, and technical fit. Such experimentation would have been much more difficult in the days when types were cast from metal or even when types were made for photocomposition devices. Today, the number and variety of script faces are increasing at a rapid rate due to improvements in computer type design software. Therefore, this thesis project also reviews some of the powerful type design software and digital technology now available which allow designers to create types of great originality. Also included are the results of a questionnaire sent to selected contemporary designers of script faces.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Type and type-founding--Digital techniques; Script type--History--20th century; Computerized typesetting; Printing--Specimens

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Pankow, David


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: Z250.7 A488 1997


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