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When scribes first put pen to page they began the long struggle to control the written form of language and balance the demands of form and function. From humble beginnings adapting inscriptive lettering to other media, the stylistic and functional demands on written language have grown and changed and over the centuries writing has become an art form as well as a vital tool.

Early writing was often carved in stone or wood, which imposed a certain angularity of style. In the Roman period, as more and more written records were kept on vellum and papyrus, the scribes faced different restrictions and the shapes and characters of the letters began to change, becoming more rounded and often more decorative. By the 6th or 7th century a wide diversity of distinct calligraphic styles had emerged, from the open uncial styles of Northern Europe to the formal styles of Lobmardic documents and the rough, informal lettering of Roman bureaucrats.

After the decline of Rome the focus of learning and of the written arts moved to the north and west, with much of the cultural tradition of the ancient world being preserved in the cloisters of Ireland and the British Isles. Irish monastic culture spread through Europe in the so-called Dark Ages, taking with it new styles of lettering derived from the insular minuscule and uncial styles.

With the rise in ascendancy of the Church of Rome more formal and elaborate lettering styles began to become popular. Putting aside the somewhat paganistic ornamentation of the Celtic period, the gothic styles began to emerge, with more rigid and angular character forms and elaborate majuscule letters, taking on some of the character of the complex architectural style of the high middle ages.

Gothic styles remained popular until the advent of printing, and even into the modern era in printed form in Germany and other parts of Northern Europe.

By the 14th century diversity began to reemerge in writing styles. With the growth of the middle class in England and the lowland countries, secular literacy began to increase, and a demand developed for calligraphic styles which were legible, attractive and also efficient enough to allow manuscripts to be reproduced rapidly and commercially. This period saw the emergency of court and chancery hands, informal gothic variations and the growth of the popular Bastarda or Lettres Batarde hybrid lettering style which became the standard for secular writing.

Even with printing on the horizon, the Renaissance saw the emergence of new lettering styles as widespread literacy created great demand for easy to read and quick to write styles, such as the humanist cursives of Renaissance Italy.

Early printing emerged in a variety of styles based on the diversity of calligraphic styles popular in the early modern period, but even as printing became more standardized, calligraphy did not disappear. Hand lettering remained the standard for decorative titles, captions, posters, maps and many other uses, but moved more and more into the realm of the artist. Illustrators and poster artists of the 19th century produced a diversity of unique lettering styles, from the radical slavic excesses of Alphons Mucha to the playful pseudo-uncials of Howard Pyle and Charles Folkard.

The Scriptorium's collection of historic calligraphy is unrivaled. We offer over 120 fonts based on specific historical or artistic styles, from Roman to Medieval to modern times. All of these fonts come in TrueType or Postscript format for Macintosh and PC-compatible computers. They are available singly for between $9 and $18 each, or as part of discounted packages. We are also offering the new fourth edition of our calligraphic fonts CD package for $169, with a special discount for the spring to only $149. It includes all of our calligraphic fonts (over 140 at last count), plus parchment and vellum textures to simulate the look of antique writing surfaces.

Our single fonts complete calligraphic fonts CD can be ordered online, by mail or by phone for delivery online or by mail. The special calligraphic fonts CD can only be ordered by mail or by phone and is delivered by mail. To order our Complete Calligraphic Fonts collection with over 150 fonts online go to ONLINE ORDERING or if you prefer to buy your calligraphic fonts individually, try our SINGLE FONTS SECTION.

To order by phone call 1-800-797-8973.

To get an idea of what our calligraphic fonts are like, try out the shareware version of Offenbach Chancery. It doesn't have all of the punctuation and special characters, but should give you a good idea of what calligraphic fonts can look like on your computer.

Download Offenbach for Windows (PKZip). Download Offenbach for MacOS (StuffIt).

Fonts in this collection. Click on name to see sample.

Allegheny
Alleghieri
Allembert
Allencon
Altenburg
Altgothic
Aneirin
Antioch Uncial
Azariel
Baraquiel
Bastarda
Belphebe
Benevento
Bienville
Bilitis
Brandywine
Brigida
Broceliande
Burgundian
Cadeaulx
Caliph
Carissimi
Carmilla
Carmilla Swash
Castiglione
Caswallon
Chaillot
Cicero
Clairveaux
Collins Old English
Constance
Corabael
Corbei Uncial
Courtrai
Coverack
Cymbeline
Dahaut
Daresiel
De Bellis
Durrow
Fabliaux
Falconis
Fiorenza
Folkard
Formidable
Franconian
Froissart
Gaiseric
Ghost Gothic
Gjallarhorn
Glendower
Gloriana
Hanes Italic
Hesperides
Interlude
Iphegenia
Isfahan
Jerash
John Speed Ornamental
John Speed
Koch Fantasie
Koch Gothic
Langhorne
Ligeia
Lindisfarne
Lyonesse
Macteris Uncial
Magdeburg
Magdelena
Malagua
Malebroche
Martel
Melcheburn
Melusine
Minerva
Morgow
Morris Black Letter
Offenbach Chancery
Orphiel
Padstow
Palmieri
Pavane
Perigord
Platthand
Pomponianus
Pontifica
Pontificaswash
Potsdam
Prelude
Procopius
Publius
Pyle Gothic
Queensland
Rackham Italic
Rackham
Ranegund
Ravenna
Rheingold
Rosalinde
Rudolfo Swash
Rudolfo
Sanctum
Scrawlies
Scurlock
Serendib
Stonecross
Stuttgart Gothic
Sualtim
Surtur
Talleyrand
Terpsichore
Textura Quadrata
Teyrnon
Theodoric
Trinculo
Tyrfing
Undine
Vespasiano
Vivat
Volund
Walsingham
Wanax
Wittenbach
Zahariel
Zothique

Click on any font name to see a sample

This is only a partial listing of fonts, as we add new fonts to the collection on a regular basis.
Copyright 2008 Ragnarok Press
All featured Fonts, Textures and Images Available for purchase.