What is modern calligraphy?

What is modern calligraphy?

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When I started teaching myself calligraphy, I didn’t start with modern calligraphy. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I instead found a style that I like the most, and seemed the most practical out of them: Copperplate.

Copperplate calligraphy example

What I quickly found was that within the calligraphy community, this style has now taken on a contemporary twist, into what many refer to as modern calligraphy.

Modern calligraphy example

The difference between copperplate and modern calligraphy

Modern calligraphy has its grounding in Copperplate, which is why many teachers recommend getting Copperplate under your belt first. Copperplate calligraphy:

  • is structured with specific, individual strokes used to form the letters
  • requires varying pressure on up and down strokes to create thick down lines, and thin — hairline — upstrokes.

Therefore, mastering these techniques not only give you an excellent foundation, but also confidence, for doing modern calligraphy. The only difficulty I’ve been having is loosening up and being free outside of the Copperplate constraints. Beautiful constraints.

Modern calligraphy is a fresh, new style that brings a flexibility and uniqueness that is both appealing and accessible. Where Copperplate dictates form and function, modern calligraphy lends itself to a more fluid, closer-to-your-handwriting approach. With some practice, dedication, and inspiration, anyone can define their own modern calligraphic style.

I’ll provide more details on how to learn calligraphy, modern calligraphy, and hand lettering in another post. To get you started, though, these are my top recommended resources:

For now, I just wanted to give a snapshot of some modern calligraphy styles. Check out these modern calligraphy pins on Pinterest. They are the work of UK calligraphers or lettering artists, which shows the wonderful whimsy of this style.

Follow Olive and Reid Studio’s board UK Calligraphers & Lettering Artists on Pinterest.

If you could write in modern calligraphy, what would you write? A quote, a poem, a swear word?


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