Difference Between Calligraphy and Typography

Calligraphy vs Typography

If you are interested in writing styles, then you may be interested to find out the difference between calligraphy and typography too. Calligraphy refers to the art of writing letters in a visually pleasing, decorative manner by hand whereas typography refers to the technique of organizing letters in typing to make the content look well-ordered and essentials highlighted. Calligraphy requires paint tools and a creative human hand involved when typography in the modern day is done by most of us with word processing software. In this article, we will be looking into these two interesting practices, discuss the specific purposes they serve, and list out essential differences between calligraphy and typography.

What is Calligraphy?

Calligraphy is drawing letters than writing to start with.The term “calligraphy,” coined with words meaning “beauty” and “writing”,itself defines the artistic touch in this style of lettering.Primarily,there are two major calligraphic traditions;western and eastern. Early western calligraphy has been found in Rome with ancient Latin scripts and in the east it was the Chinese who were famous for their decorative scripts. In the ancient time, people used this artistic way of lettering to add emphasis to the orders of royals and to write religious texts.They were seen on church walls, stone and clay plates and wooden planks. Interestingly, in the present time this art is frequently seen in hand written event invitations, logos, name board designs or even in painted artistic letter displays in a birthday party.

Difference Between Calligraphy and Typography

What is Typography?

Unlike calligraphy that is handwritten, typography always involves technology. It is the technique that stresses on the clarity of the message that the text conveys by effective arrangement of letters or words. The word processing software that allow us to have the headlines enlarged with the size of the font and the text highlighted with bold or italic options make each one of us a typographer.In the present day, typography can be seen in print media like newspapers and books as well as in electronic forms like word documents or presentations. The history of typography runs back to the days of ancient civilizations like Mesopotamian and Babylonian when they tried to invent type with the use of identical letters cut on seals.


What is the difference between Calligraphy and Typography?

• Calligraphy and typography are unique in their own ways.

• Calligraphy is the art of decorative letters, and it requires creative skill for a smooth finishing.

• In calligraphy readers’ attention might be attracted by the design of the letters than to the message the text conveys. We rarely see any formal occasions where calligraphy is not used.

• As well, calligraphic traditions can be different from culture to culture or language to language.

• Typography, on the other hand, is a technique than an art. It does not require any specific creative talent to be a typographer.

• In typography, the effectiveness and the clarity of the message that the text conveys is important than the artistic presentation of letters.

• Also, typography is usually used in formal and professional documentation than in events or celebrations.In the present day, it is technology that facilitates typography with devices like computers, mobile phones and tabs. 

Since technology is increasingly simulating what humans do, software that allows designing and printing of letters to look like they are painted by hand might replace calligraphy in the near future.


Typography image by: Oisín Scott (CC BY-SA 3.0)