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Italic, Script & Decorative Type

Italic, Script & Decorative Type

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In this lesson you will learn to recognize italic, script and decorative typefaces and give examples of their proper usage.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to today's lesson on italic script and decorative type. So for today's lesson, you're going to learn to recognize italic script and decorative typefaces and see examples of their proper usage. Specifically, this lesson will cover:

  1. Posture
  2. Script
  3. Decorative Type

1. Posture

Posture is the vertical orientation of a typeface. Some typefaces slant to the right and that's italic.

Terms to Know

    • Posture
    • The vertical orientation of a typeface. Some typefaces slant to the right (italic).
    • Italic
    • A type posture; type which appears to slant to the right.

So you can see from this example below that reads "I have good posture," the letter forms are nice and straight, whereas below it where it reads "I have bad posture," the letters are slanted towards the right.

This posture is called italic and is a subset of posture. An italic is a type posture, type which appears to slant to the right, as we saw. The italic typefaces are carefully created by type designers and not simply type which has been slanted by a machine, so not all typefaces have italics. That is because as simple as slanting type seems, it is still quite carefully crafted and designed by type designers. Below you can see an example of normal, italic, and slanted.


Normal is the standard type as far as posture goes. Italic is the italic version. Then slanted has been manually slanted, as opposed to designed that way, designed to be italic. When the letters appear skewed readability may suffer and certain character design elements are not intended to be slanted.

You can see the letter A in italic has been completely redesigned from normal as well as the letter "t" and "l".

If you compare that to our slanted versions of the "l", you'll notice that it is thinner, and the "a" is more difficult to read, because it's not as clear. 

The "t" is comparable between italic and slated, but there are some differences in shape and proportion that could affect readability.

Term to Know

    • Readability
    • How easily words and blocks of words can be read.

2. Script

Script is a type classification developed in the late 1700s and originally based on handwriting.

Term to Know

    • Script
    • A type classification developed in the late 1700s and originally based on handwriting. This style is characterized by italic letterforms that can be formal or casual and sometimes joined. Member families include Nuptial and Zapfino.

This style is characterized by italic letter forms that can be formal or casual and sometimes joined. Member families include Nuptial and Zapfino. You can see from the example below that script does in fact have that handwritten quality.

And it's usually styled quite nice, but it's not the best type for large bodies of text, like books, magazines, or newspapers.

Here is the script from the movie "Django".  You can see how different it would be if it was written in script.  The readability is not there.

Original script:  

You can see how difficult it would be if the script was written in well, script:  

Here is the script zoomed in, but readability still is not there.


3. Decorative Type

Now, decorative type is a novelty or illustrative typefaces used primarily for headlines or initial capital letters.

Terms to Know

    • Decorative Type
    • Novelty or illustrative typefaces used primarily for headlines or initial capital letters.
    • Initial Capital Letter
    • The first letter of the first word in a paragraph, often decorative, it is enlarged to the height of several lines which surround it.

If you take a look at the example below, you can see how decorative type is different from script.

They're a lot more illustrative, but not as practical in many uses, and oftentimes tailored for a specific use for projects. However, they're quite fun and these work best typically for headlines or attention-grabbers.

A good use of these as well could be as the initial capital letter, which is the first letter of the first word in a paragraph, often decorative. And it's enlarged to the height of several lines which surround it.

ExampleRemember the classic old story books? The authors used a large capital letter to start off the word in the first paragraph. And then from that point on, it used more legible text.

Summary

That concludes today's lesson on italic, script, and decorative type. This lesson covered the element of posture and how it indicates the differences between normal, italic, and slanted text.


Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: SOURCE: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR MARIO E. HERNANDEZ

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Posture

    The vertical orientation of a typeface. Some typefaces slant to the right (italic).

  • Italic

    A type posture; type which appears to slant to the right.

  • Script

    A type classification developed in the late 1700s and originally based on handwriting. This style is characterized by italic letterforms that can be formal or casual and sometimes joined. Member families include Nuptial and Zapfino.

  • Initial Capital Letter

    The first letter of the first word in a paragraph, often decorative, it is enlarged to the height of several lines which surround it.

  • Decorative Type

    Novelty or illustrative typefaces used primarily for headlines or initial capital letters.  

  • Readability

    How easily words and blocks of words can be read.