DIGITAL CALLIGRAPHY

Arguably, computers have been a great stimulus to the range, scope and inventiveness of typographic design. It has made possible the generation of creative ideas that couldn’t exist before and has made the manipulation and modification of form and layout a relatively straightforward process. Extensive research into variations of calligraphic forms and software development has led to a computer based process – computer aided calligraphy which makes possible the creation of calligraphic design that is impossible or impractical by traditional methods while retaining the basic principles of hand-crafted work. It immensely extends the facility to experiment with layout and design.

There is one fundamental difference in working methodology between traditional and computer aided calligraphy. A calligrapher reacts spontaneously to the forms created by the pen and modifies very subtly the forms as the writing progresses, making changes to the individual characters to improve the overall ‘shape’ of the word, the phrase, even the line above and below. The present system uses a ‘post-production’ method, whereby these slight modifications are made after the letters have been created. It would be fair to say that spontaneity is lost in the process. Is this not compensated for, to some extent, by the additional control of form that the method provides?

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The use of the computer for calligraphy still leaves the principle contribution to the creative process with the calligrapher. The results still depend largely on the creative abilities, sensitivity to layout and the skill of the user in the post-production stage. There is great potential for the future of computer aided calligraphy and computer generated calligraphy. By dramatically reducing the time involved in the production of calligraphy, far more experimentation can take place.

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