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October 31, 2010

Is handwriting dead?

With most communication taking place via computer, the internet and other digital networks, the practice and even the idea of the handwritten word seems to be disappearing. In schools SMART classrooms are becoming more standard, email correspondence rules the workplace and text messaging seems to be the easiest way to reach anyone we know well enough to have in our digital phonebook. Does the idea of "handwritten" and good penmanship still exist? Are handcrafted elements and messages a part of your process or finished piece? Do you actively attempt to incorporate handwritten language into your daily interations?

Participation is caring. Share your thoughts and help shape the dialogue in a meaningful way. Your contribution makes all the difference in building a stronger Design is Love community.

10.17.10 / 10:24 PM
There's no denying the efficiency of communication that has come with the advancement of the computer and other technologies. This community is a testament to that very fact. However, we're proud to say our process begins (and often ends) with hand-rendered elements. Most of the visual assets of this very site were created outside of the computer and only brought in to the digital world for final production and implementation. Technology has an important value in what we do, but for us being creative begins with rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. We find great joy in the tactility of process and feel we all have an obligation to our craft to explore solutions outside of the computer box.

We're very eager to read what the rest of the Design is Love community has to say about handwritten / handmade.
10.19.10 / 7:30 AM
I still sketch before beginning a design. It gives me a chance to think things through and get some ideas in place before diving in to a design on the computer. I also still love writing and receiving letters, there's something about receiving a letter in the mail. I worry about the future of handwriting, most people text or email now, and I also worry about the art of writing in general when you see younger people abbreviating and incorrectly spelling their emails, texts and status updates. I read an interesting article recently about how many children aren't retaining the simple art of writing in cursive anymore. If you look at old letters or postcards from the turn of the century, the handwriting is gorgeous, people took pride in their handwriting. Those letters and postcards are like a piece of art to me.

10.19.10 / 7:31 PM
I have to say my handwriting has always been terrible and now with all this computer technology with spell check, my spelling has decreased as well. Even as a teacher, everything is done on the computer: referrals, emails, data, lesson plans, etc. We are an environmental school! However for my own personal reference I like to handwrite especially when creating big posters around the school. Sure type is more clean cut, but handwritten things add an edge and as an artist you can def get more creative with handwriting. Handwriting adds character!

As for text messaging....sometimes it is easier and it is all documented! I can't say I don't remember when it is all written down!
10.20.10 / 3:43 PM
For me, the importance of good penmanship is different than the importance of handmade creation.

I went to private parochial school, where you did get graded on the quality of your penmanship. My own penmanship has evolved over time, or devolved depending on who you ask, but it's still legible. You don't have to write like you're from the 1800s, but I feel that you should be able to write a note that doesn't look like a doctor's prescription. Call me old fashioned, though I'd settle for reasonable.

The value of writing a letter doesn't come from the quality of penmanship, but rather the fact that someone took the time to write their thoughts and feelings using materials that have character. Like wine, and myself, handmade elements seem to just age nicely, continually gaining personality and flavor.

Sketching before getting on the computer is an efficient process that develops thoughts better than thinking directly on the computer. When sketching, it's intimate. Direct. On the computer, it's impersonal. Distracting. In spite of the its speed, my thinking tends to be impeded by the computer.

What I've written above seems obvious, but maybe that's just to me? Using my hands is what I was made for. My handwriting is mine. My type selections are not. My ability to render what I see with my hands is mine. Even a camera can't mimic that.

I always like to look for quotes, other people's wisdom, when creating my entries. This is one that I found that seemed beautiful and apt: “Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.” - Jean Cocteau
10.22.10 / 4:02 PM
I grew up with a mother who's handwriting was skillfully (and strictly) crafted by the rulers of catholic nuns. Her handwriting is so polished, I think she may have better kerning than most typefaces! But I digress. I'm quite sure this is what inspired me to dedicate some serious time in developing my handwriting as I grew up. I encountered a handsome gent who had very unique writing and then there's that scene in Hackers where Angela Jolie writes on the blackboard...

Today, I try to integrate the handwritten word into my business strategies. Very few send note cards just because, and very few take the time to make their notes legible :) A personal touch can be your most powerful tool when getting noticed... and having nice handwriting doesn't hurt!

One last note, at Triple Frog, we've made a point to use the handwriting of our clients to further bring home the experience of their service, product, or establishment. Carrying through the personality of a handwritten moment makes for a truly memorable experience.
10.23.10 / 12:01 PM
I love my Macs—computers made my carer what it is (well... not just computers). Email makes me sick to my stomach most of the time—and believe me... I do a lot of emailing. I never text. Never.

I think the handwritten word is far more specific than any email. The amount of pressure used, the sense of relaxation, the sense of urgency—these can be so subtly nuanced by hand that there's nothing like it. Taking the time to write a nice note is delicious. Now, I'm not talking about a quick scribble to say "thanks" or "I love you" that requires 4 independent forensic specialists to decipher. I'm talking about slowing down to consider every word, every letter and rendering it not to get it out, but to have it read—to put in the time to say what you mean and to open your heart wide.
If I could build a house with my bare hands for the ones I love, I certainly would—they would get my meaning. I lack he skills (and each time I try, I end up in the emergency room... so...). Since I'm not so great with a saw. What I have to submit comes from my head, my heart, my time, my voice and my fingers. So with that—I value handwriting incredibly.

Also: on the keyboard, my brain shuts off. My statements are full of typos and faulty grammar. When I handwrite something, not so much.

I'll end this post with a quote from Dylan (for Brian): "It might be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody. "

I'm not clear why this seems germane, but I will before this inwords question comes down.

By the way: @bgrabell & @triplefrog: parochial schooler here too. What I loved about penmanship in that context you never quite felt good enough... you could always improve and deepen. It taught me a lot about becoming masterful and what it takes.

Okay... off to sneak a note under everyone's pillow...
10.26.10 / 9:27 AM
@richh + @triplefrog : i still bust out with my cursive skills from time to time. also... (secretly) i'm always trying to improve my ability to write left-handed.

@richh : love the quote. i think it is germane. whether we're in it for the details or the process, we're in service to someone or something.

on a family vacation in quebec, i purchased a glass-blown dip pen. this handcrafted masterpiece made my vacation, that and the garlic soup. grooves were crafted into the tip of the pen that sucked the ink up. it's amazing and on its own, a work of handmade art.

@Design is Love community : do you have a favorite tool for writing or creating handmade works?


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