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Shelley Script®

By Linotype

Matthew Carter
Matthew Carter designed the Shelley family 1972 for Mergenthaler Linotype to be used as a new script face for the photo typesetting machines. The basic idea was to create one script face that would offer dfferent elegant letterforms. Matthew designed Shelley in three different versions, Allegro which is in the style of Kuenstler Schreibschrift, Andante where the caps are less flowrish and wide and Volante where the letters have its most expressive and wide forms and the lowercase z in this font is in the french anglian double stacked form.
All three versions can be easily mixed to give the text a more individual calligraphic look
Besides Shelley Linotype Zapfino from Hermann Zapf shows similar basics, but in a totally different letterform. In Linotype Zapfino the individual lowercase letters from the four different versions have different letterforms which gives the text an even more individual touch.

Designed for Linotype in 1972 by Matthew Carter, Shelley Script can be seen as a companion for Snell Roundhand, the typeface he designed in 1966, which was notable because it connected lowercase letters like actual cursive handwriting. Snell and Shelley both were proponents of roundhand penmanship, characterized by a flowing, open style. The variations of stroke width evident in their styles are due not to the movement of a soft-tipped writing instrument or calligrapher’s brush, but the pressure on a steel-nibbed pen which can be both pulled and pushed.

Despite their shared advocacy of roundhand penmanship, Snell’s and Shelley’s individual styles were markedly different, and Carter is faithful to both in his typefaces. The Shelley typefaces generally have more activity in their uppercase flourishes, and while both have small x-heights relative to their ascenders and descenders, the descenders on the Shelley Script are proportionately longer than those on the Snell.

When Carter and Mike Parker established the Bitstream typeface foundry in 1981, they couldn’t distribute Shelley Script because Linotype owned the trademark; Bitstream therefore released an identical typeface called English 111™.

Shelley Script is an outstanding selection for wedding correspondence, diplomas and other certificate work, invitations and personal calling cards. While unsuited for continual text, it can also be a practical choice for display and signage use when an elegant, formal tone is desirable.

Shelley Script can also be used to great advantage as a component of advertising, for example as a headline or as a small block of text.

Formal Script