Presentation details
On airlines, flame bows and speed loops

The forms of primary script

Florian J Hardwig

Friday 14 September | 11:30 – 12:00
Location: Seminar Room 202

Presentation | Theme: Hand made | Duration: 30 minutes

Why do Swiss people write in another way than Germans, French differently than Dutch? Are there dialects’ of handwriting styles?

The handwriting of people varies. Yet, contrary to widespread belief, it is not a completely personal and individual thing: the writing model acquired at school leaves its traces. As school is generally organised nationally, one can distinguish handwriting styles from different countries (and periods). Research was done with the help of two institutions: The Georg-Eckert-Institut in Braunschweig, dedicated to international school book research, offered a voluminous library of primers. A rather unexpected source of information was the ‘European Network of Forensic Handwriting Experts’. Its members compiled a comprehensive database of copybook models from various countries. While the first set priorities on pedagogic issues and the latter on forensic usability, I concentrate on the formal and aesthetic aspects.

The analysis focuses on Latin script and writing models mainly younger than 50 years. It covers examples from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Italy, France, the UK, the USA and Australia.

About twenty models of teaching & learning handwriting are presented and compared, including reform approaches by Hans Eduard Meier or Dr. Rosemary Sassoon. Script is shown as a 4-dimensional sequence of movement. Distracting factors like varying writing tools, size or printed lines are mentioned and explained along with their palpable but, in conclusion, negligible effects. They then are eliminated in the illustrations in order to analyse the essential: the trace, the sequence of strokes; the ‘construction’ of the letter.

The normative power of primary script and its cultural-historical importance has yet to find its way into the realm of typography.

Speaker details

Florian J Hardwig Graphic designer, typography teacher Kaune & Hardwig | Germany

Florian Hardwig is a graphic designer based in Berlin, Germany, where he runs a studio together with Malte Kaune. Since 2007, he has been teaching Typography at Brunswick School of Art. Florian regularly contributes articles and typeface reviews to publications like MyFonts.de, Typographica or Typo. He can frequently be found on Typophile, where is one of the moderators of the Type ID Board. School scripts are Florian’s area of expertise. In his Manuscribe project, he researches the various handwriting models that are used for teaching children how to write. In 2008, he was awarded the Walter Tiemann Prize.

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