TypographyI SP16: Amy Olweiler

What I found to be the most interesting in Week One’s reading assignments was the beginning of engraved lettering, like George Bickham’s The Universal Penman in the mid 18th century. I searched his name in Google Images and was amazed at the number of results: pages and pages of exquisitely, fluidly curved script, with subtly changing thicks and thins, often paired with fine illustrations. In the days when one’s penmanship supposedly spoke leagues about one’s character, Bickham’s script is incredibly detailed. What a challenge for students whose masters used Bickham’s book!

He must certainly have had a flair for the dramatic (but then, didn’t everyone in the 18th century?). Wikipedia claims that Bickham had 25 writing masters from London help him create and engrave the letters for his book. As in many cases, Bickham is generally credited with the type, but he did not create it alone.

The image below is a representation of George Bickham’s (The Elder) engraving/lettering talent. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


In the photograph below, I attempted to add depth to the word ‘lonely’ by placing it into the seemingly cheerful, friendly environment of a family eating dinner together. Loneliness is often most noticeably felt, not when we are alone, but when we are surrounded by others. It is a feeling of isolation, of estrangement, from everyone else. It can be caused by various circumstances (though the particulars are not important here). I decided that a family setting would perhaps most acutely demonstrate this feeling because we are expected to be the most comfortable and open around our family.