What is REALLY a professional calligrapher?

Anyone can claim to be a professional calligrapher offering professional calligraphy services because someone pays them for their service. That doesn’t mean that the person actually knows how to write actual established calligraphy style (hands). It’s said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and right now the most popular style of “calligraphy” is not actually a historical “hand” such as Italic, foundational, or copperplate calligraphy. It is more of a modern fad. When you compare historical calligraphy styles to this made up “calligraphy” you will see that it is both difficult to read, and even has a sloppy look.

unprofessional, inconsistent, sloppy fad style of writing

Professional Calligraphy Does Not Look Like This

The definition of calligraphy is “beautiful writing” and your opinion is what makes something beautiful, although it’s not an actual calligraphic style. The most popular style of wedding calligraphy in two of the examples above is a handwriting that doesn’t follow any of the rules. The calligraphy letters don’t stay on a line, they’re “bouncy” and very inconsistent from one letter to another. You can even see the places in the letters where the writer hesitated. In my opinion, it looks ugly, and certainly not like professional calligraphy.  In most other legitimate styles of calligraphy, capital letters are the same size, or shorter than the tall parts of letters called “ascenders” (in b, d, k, l, h). In many cases you’ll see it’s pretty illegible or difficult to read. I can’t imagine that the mail service is going to have an easy time reading the address on the envelopes! A professional calligrapher knows that you must be able to read what is written above all! Compare those examples above to the center oval example- that is the work of a “Master Penman” (sorry, it’s kind of sexist language). Yes, it’s flourished, but it’s done legibly and with great design. illegible lettering called calligraphy by some People who claim they are professional calligraphers, but do not understand how actual calligraphy styles of lettering is written are doing this kind of writing. It’s only a matter of time when people will realize this is a “dated” look, and move on to the next trend.

Computer or REAL Handwritten Calligraphy?

Here is a quote from a website that is actually VERY misleading. They are using a calligraphy machine to “write” out addresses on envelopes – It is NOT handwriting done by a professional calligrapher!

 “We are able to print handwritten computer calligraphy on your envelopes that look as good or better than real handwriting.”

Well, maybe better than “some” calligraphers… but, on the whole I don’t think so! 

Some of this writing is really done well but it has a stiff look like type. The way to tell if something is hand written by a professional calligrapher or typed is by comparing individual letters. For example in typing each letter “e” will look EXACTLY the same. If they are the same start comparing other letters the same way. Now you will learn for yourself whether you are paying for hand calligraphy or something much cheaper.

Professional Calligraphers Bring Out the Meaning of the Text

Part of the skill of a professional calligrapher is their ability to bring out the meaning of the text with the design of the calligraphy. When you have a short quote or poem, there is even more opportunity to look for the key concept of the text, and bring that forward. That can be done by changing the size, color, style, placement of the key word or phrase, the placement and size of the title. That is part of the art of calligraphy: great layout.  

I think The Serenity Prayer design that I have below is a perfect example of what a professional calligrapher can create. The meaning of the subtext can be read in many ways with the emphasis on the words: Serenity, Courage, Wisdom. But there is also the subtext of “Accept, Change and Know”. I tried to bring out both of these concepts in the design that I worked on.

The Teddy Roosevelt quote is another example of bringing out the subtler meanings in a quote. Now you know how to evaluate good calligraphy and the ability of a professional calligrapher you can get value for your money! I’ll be happy to help you create the perfect calligraphy piece that reflects your preferences. Get started with contacting me.

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