AskDefine | Define lettering

Dictionary Definition

lettering n : letters inscribed (especially words engraved or carved) on something [syn: inscription]

User Contributed Dictionary


Verb form

  1. present participle of letter


  1. Written, especially printed, text.
    The lettering on the sign made it clear that intruders were unwelcome.


Extensive Definition

Calligraphy (from Greek kallos "beauty" + graphẽ "writing") is the art of writing (Mediavilla 1996: 17). A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner" (Mediavilla 1996: 18). The story of writing is one of aesthetic evolution framed within the technical skills, transmission speed(s) and materials limitations of a person, time and place (Diringer 1968: 441). A style of writing is described as a script, hand or alphabet (Fraser & Kwiatkowski 2006; Johnston 1909: Plate 6).
Modern calligraphy ranges from functional hand lettered inscriptions and designs to fine art pieces where the abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not supersede the legibility of the letters (Mediavilla 1996). Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may create all of these; characters are historically disciplined yet fluid and spontaneous, improvised at the moment of writing (Pott 2006 & 2005; Zapf 2007 & 2006). Calligraphy continues to flourish in the forms of wedding and event invitations, font design/ typography, original hand-lettered logo design, religious art, various announcements/ graphic design/ commissioned calligraphic art, cut stone inscriptions and memorial documents. Also props and moving images for film and television, testimonials, birth and death certificates/maps, and other works involving writing (see for example Letter Arts Review; Propfe 2005; Geddes & Dion 2004).

East Asian calligraphy

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Italian hand, Spencerian writing, block letter, bold hand, book hand, chancery hand, copperplate hand, coup de plume, cryptography, cursive, cursive hand, engrossment, epigraph, initialing, ink spilling, inkslinging, inscription, law hand, longhand, macrography, majuscule script, micrography, minuscule script, pen, pen-and-ink, pencil driving, printing, round hand, scrivenery, scrivening, secret writing, text hand, transcription, transliteration, typewriting, typing, uncial, writing
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