Handwriting is both an art and a craft. Deeply personal and expressive but also governed by many rules. Most of us only ever got as far as the basics of the craft aspect. Sometimes our personalities come out in the way we make our simple marks, whether the letters are wide and loopy, or small and angular, can, according to some, say quite a bit about who we are as people.
Whether you subscribe to that notion or not, handwriting can still tell people many things that digital text just can’t. Trained experts can detect moments of hesitation that might suggest a forgery, for example. BIG BLOCK LETTERS and other variations can more easily convey mood. When we’re writing things by hand, we don’t generally worry that ending a sentence with a period might make us seem angry, for example.
But going beyond that, calligraphers and other writing experts seek to not only expand their ability to express themselves in their script, but also to master the craft of handwriting. Jake Weidmann, featured in this video, is one such individual. There are others, such as Patricia Blair, chief calligrapher of the White House.
That’s right, the White House employs their very own master penman, whose team of three is responsible for, among other things, hand-lettering formal invitations to heads of state and other dignitaries. It even became a point of debate during budget talks, as the total of the salaries for the office of calligraphy is over $250,000 a year. When you see the work these men and women put into their writing, and realize their words will be received by kings, queens and even the Pope, it doesn’t seem too crazy.