The Script Typeface

Share this article

Continuing our series on typeface categories, today we’re looking at Scripts. Fonts that fall into the script category are those that have the appearance of hand lettering with a brush, calligraphy pen or pencil. They can be further broken up into the very elegant or formal style that looks like traditional calligraphy and the more rough and ready casual style. Formal Script Many formal scripts are based on the letterforms of the three Georges. George Bickham, George Snell and George Shelley were master calligraphers who wrote with a quill or metal nib in the seventeenth and eighteen century. Bickham Script Pro, based on the engravings of George Bickham. Bickham Snell Roundhand, is a contemporary font by Matthew Carter based on the work of George Snell. Snell English font, based on the work of George Shelley. English
There are literally thousands of formal script typefaces available, both free and commercial. They’re used a lot for invitations, scrolls and situations where elegant typography is called for. They are not suitable for large amounts of body text but can look really beautiful in large sizes when used in headings and in logos. One of the most important rules to remember when using formal script fonts is to never, ever set them in all caps. Ever. They become nearly impossible to read when all the letters are in capitals. The other thing to remember is to use them sparingly. Casual scripts Casual scripts look like more regular handwriting and are less formal. They can still have strokes that vary in width but are not as sophisticated looking as the formal scripts. Some examples are Kaufmann Bold Kaufmann BlackJack BlackJack Zephyr Script Zephyr
The same rules apply for the casual script fonts. Use them sparingly and mainly for headings or very short pieces of text. What other script fonts do you use in your design work? Related Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions about Script Typeface

What is the history of script typefaces?

Script typefaces have a rich history that dates back to the 18th century. They were initially designed to mimic the fluidity and elegance of handwriting. The first script typefaces were created using a flexible quill or metal nib, which allowed for a wide range of stroke widths. Over time, the design of script typefaces has evolved, with designers incorporating more modern and unique elements into their designs. Today, script typefaces are used in a variety of contexts, from formal invitations to logos and branding.

How do I choose the right script typeface for my project?

Choosing the right script typeface depends on the nature of your project and the message you want to convey. For formal or traditional projects, classic script typefaces with elegant curves and flourishes are often a good choice. For more modern or casual projects, you might consider a script typeface with simpler, cleaner lines. It’s also important to consider readability – while script typefaces can be beautiful, they can also be difficult to read if used in large amounts.

Can I use script typefaces for body text?

While script typefaces can be beautiful and eye-catching, they are generally not recommended for body text. Because of their intricate designs and varying stroke widths, script typefaces can be difficult to read in large amounts. They are best used for headlines, logos, invitations, or other short pieces of text where they can add a touch of elegance without sacrificing readability.

What are some popular script typefaces?

There are many popular script typefaces available, each with its own unique style and character. Some of the most popular include Edwardian Script, Bickham Script, and Brush Script. These typefaces are known for their elegance and versatility, making them a popular choice for a wide range of projects.

How can I pair script typefaces with other fonts?

Pairing script typefaces with other fonts can be a bit tricky, but there are a few general rules you can follow. First, try to avoid pairing two script typefaces together – the result can often be chaotic and difficult to read. Instead, pair a script typeface with a simple sans serif or serif font. This can help balance out the complexity of the script and ensure that your text remains readable.

Are there free script typefaces available?

Yes, there are many free script typefaces available online. Websites like Google Fonts, Dafont, and Font Squirrel offer a wide range of free script typefaces for personal and commercial use. However, it’s important to always check the license before using a font to ensure that you’re not infringing on any copyright laws.

What are the differences between script, cursive, and handwriting fonts?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between them. Script fonts are designed to mimic formal calligraphy and often include elaborate flourishes. Cursive fonts, on the other hand, are designed to mimic everyday handwriting and are generally more casual. Handwriting fonts can include both script and cursive styles, and are designed to mimic the look of personal handwriting.

How can I install a script typeface on my computer?

Installing a script typeface on your computer is a relatively straightforward process. After downloading the font file, simply open it and click “Install”. The font should then be available to use in all of your applications. If you’re using a Mac, you can also use the Font Book application to manage and install your fonts.

Can script typefaces be used in logos?

Absolutely! Script typefaces can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to a logo. They’re particularly popular in the fashion, beauty, and food industries. However, it’s important to ensure that the typeface you choose is legible at small sizes and can be easily reproduced across a variety of mediums.

What are some tips for working with script typefaces?

When working with script typefaces, it’s important to keep a few key tips in mind. First, less is often more – script typefaces can be overwhelming if used in large amounts, so try to use them sparingly. Second, pay attention to kerning – the space between letters can often be uneven in script typefaces, so you may need to manually adjust it. Finally, always prioritize readability – while script typefaces can be beautiful, they’re not effective if your audience can’t read them.

Jennifer FarleyJennifer Farley
View Author

Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

Share this article
Read Next
Get the freshest news and resources for developers, designers and digital creators in your inbox each week