Scripts: Formal to Casual
by Ilene Strizver
Some of today’s most popular typefaces are scripts. Generally speaking, scripts are derived from handwriting or calligraphy and are more fluid than traditional text faces. Scripts offer a wide variety of moods and characteristics, ranging from formal to casual. When used appropriately, a script face can add the perfect touch to a project.
Keeping it Formal
Formal scripts are very fluid and graceful, and often have connecting strokes. They are appropriate when an elegant, stately look is desired.
Formal scripts are commonly used for invitations, announcements, and decorative initial letters, where their elegant look can go a long way towards setting a sophisticated tone. Use them for headlines and other brief applications; longer blocks of small text set in formal script are usually not very readable. TIP: Most script typefaces should never be set in all caps. The elaborate design of script capitals make them difficult to read, and their spacing is designed to work with adjacent lowercase letters.
Casual scripts are meant to look friendly and loose, as though quickly drawn with a pen, brush, or similar writing instrument. Their strokes can be connected or not, and the mood conveyed tends to be warm, personal and relaxed. Casual scripts are often used for ads, brochures, and anything that requires an intimate, informal look.
Due to their popularity, the number of fonts in this category has swelled tremendously in the last several years. Before choosing a casual script, look the font over carefully and check the legibility of both the caps and lowercase. These fonts are fun and effective when appropriate for the job at hand: use them only when their strong personality helps to communicate (rather than contradict) your message.
* To learn more about other kinds of scripts, see the next installation of fy(t)i.
- 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, 4th edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.