Some design projects, such as invitations and ceremonial announcements, call for a type treatment that is formal yet personal, lyrically beautiful yet authoritative. A Spencerian script can be the perfect typeface for this kind of fine design.Spencerian script is an elegant, flowing style of cursive penmanship that was developed in the middle of the 19th century by Platt Rogers Spencer. Spencerian script handwriting became the dominant form of penmanship in the United States during that time, and was taught in schools and copybooks. Strokes are graceful and rhythmic, and letterforms are characterized by flowing loops and flourishes.
Although all typefaces derived from the original Spencerian script possess the same basic structure and characteristics, they vary greatly in width, weight, and individual details. Make sure to review a range of these scripts to find the one that best suits your purpose.
Two important tips for using these lovely type designs successfully: don’t use Spencerian scripts to set very small text, and don’t use all cap settings. Each of these errors will quickly render this graceful typestyle unreadable.
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.