Writing as Art

By January 20, 2016 BlogPost One Comment

Cuneiform tablets/documents and its intricate penmanship sparked a question regarding writing as an art form — how does writing become art? Why does it become art, and what are the various forms writing can be considered art? In the movie mentioned last week, writing as a hybrid art-text form was developed because pictures were prohibited; in ancient China, calligraphy and penmanship in forming characters was a symbol of status, intelligence, and authority. How was it in other regions of the world, and how does it change throughout time? More importantly, why does it change? If writing was first developed as a means of catalogue, is there meaning in it becoming an art form? You could even make the argument that it’s inefficient, and that the resources spent on fancy writing could be better spent elsewhere — but then again, we certainly do have a penchant for certain types of font, of text that helps ease reading. Google just a few months ago changed their banner, and various corporations do it constantly to bring their logos “up to date” with the times, for it to be “simple but elegant.”  Particularly now with technology and the widespread art of type fonts, utilizing text in multimedia as an art form — is there a trend/reason behind writing’s progression from text to something “more than text?” (which is also evident in prose, as we clearly have high regard for poetry and well-constructed style).

One Comment

  • Dustin Dustin says:

    I think there are places for more artistic flourishes in fonts. There are times when a heavy font can give a phrase like The Dallas Morning News or Gap a little more authority.

    I’m also interested in learning about the opposite of the fancy forms of writing you discuss. Where and when did the idea of “good penmanship” become important? I remember when I was in elementary school my worst subject was “Handwriting.” I write with my left hand and my letters did not meet the correct angle required by the teach. What authority decides that our handwriting must be of a particular script in a particular size? For the record I write most of my personal correspondence and journals in cursive, and it is completely illegible. With computers I no longer have to worry about penmanship Mrs. Wileman can take a long walk on a short pier!

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