Calligraphy is described on Wikipedia as a visual art, related to writing, defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner".
And you can see why. When you really break down calligraphic script, it’s so much more than just words. The considered manner in which it flows adds a certain element of warmth and excitement to the written word – it’s no surprise that this ancient practice has survived and flourished right up to the modern day.
Of course, calligraphy in it’s modern form has evolved and adapted to fit the needs and demands of the modern day consumer – just a quick pit stop in a stationery store will reveal multiple types of calligraphic styles, from the handwritten to the bold, traditional to modern.
Why’s it so popular?
The greeting card and stationery industry has seen a surge in calligraphic and typographic styles of late. With consumers looking for a personal feel when giving greetings, calligraphy adds an element of handmade warmth and personality.
Getting started with calligraphy
Adding your own personal calligraphy to your designs and artwork can help give you an edge, and enable you to develop your own unique, personal style that no one else has.
Here at Printed.com, we get to see thousands of calligraphic style pass through our presses each and every day – from wedding invites to greeting cards, the applications are endless.
We chatted to one of our very own customers, Monny Lam – creative director at Vows Paper Co. to get the lowdown on her unique style, how she finds her inspiration and how you can get started with calligraphy yourself.
Where do you get your inspiration for your wedding stationery collections?
I’m always inspired by Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement), this is mainly because my mom was a florist and I grew up surrounded by it. Most Ikebana arrangements consist of a minimal number of blooms among with stalks and leaves: it’s about creating the harmony with lines, shapes and spacing. My design is hugely influenced by that, minimal yet luxury.
You give your calligraphy a modern edge by teaming it with geometric elements and strong typography. Do you follow trends or just go with the flow when it comes to creating your designs?
I normally create a new collection with a colour theme in mind first, then go with the flow. Even though I always create the mood board to begin with, my final design usually looks completely different. I really enjoy the exploring process, and always keen to mix the soft and sharp elements together to create the Ikebana harmony.
Where and when did you learn how to create such beautiful calligraphy?
I did a modern calligraphy workshop with Quill London back in 2015 - that was my first time exploring calligraphy with ink. And last year, I picked up calligraphy again as my husband bought me an iPad with Apple Pen, so practising and sketching has never been as easy using Procreate. I also downloaded a few brushes from creative market in order to help me to achieve certain look of the typography.
What advice would you give designers who want to incorporate calligraphy into their designs, but don’t know where to start?
Practise makes perfect. Don’t beat yourself down before you even try. You don’t need invest a lot of money to buy all the gear before you explore calligraphy, and there’s nothing wrong with using a free font on a website like dafont.com for your personal project to find a style which will complement your design. When you are ready to turn calligraphy into action, you can start practise with calligraphy pen on A4 paper to begin with.