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Spencerian Script Handwriting

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The Coca-Cola Logo Script Was Based On Real Handwriting
Examples of fonts in the Spencerian Script handwriting style

A few examples of digital fonts based on Spencerian Script handwriting. Just as we all have unique handwriting styles, the fonts within this category are sometimes quite different from one another.

© Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
Have you ever looked at a can of Coca-Cola or a Ford truck logo and thought, "Wow, I wish I could write like that?" As a matter of fact, a lot of people (the majority of them older than anyone you know) used to write just like that. A style of script handwriting that became extremely popular in the United States in the second half of the 19th century was developed by Platt Rogers Spencer. First adopted for business correspondence and taught in business colleges that Spencer helped form, it eventually found its way into primary schools. Back when cursive was the way to write, it's what many American school children learned.

The Coca-Cola logo uses a form of Spencerian Script. The Ford logo also used it in its first oval logo design. In more recent years the script is basically the same but has become a little fatter with more rounded ends on some letters.

Eventually the typewriter replaced handwriting for business and a more simplified style of penmanship was adopted by schools. But it lives on in famous logos and its influence is seen in some lovely script handwriting fonts. So even if you don't use pen and ink you can type like an early graduate of Bryant & Stratton College (alma mater of Henry Ford, in fact) or a public school student of the 1890s.

Today's digital fonts that are classified as Spencerian Scripts can vary widely in style. Typically these fonts sport small x-heights and often long or distinctive descenders and ascenders. Variations in thick and thin strokes mimic the type of writing instruments of the day. Some classic script fonts have less elaborate capital letters than the forms taught in traditional handwriting workbooks.

Free Spencerian Script Fonts

Available from this site, these free fonts are in TrueType format. They generally have limited character sets, mostly A-Z in upper and lowercase and some punctuation, perhaps a few accented or special characters.
  • Exmouth is a very neat and pretty script in the Spencerian tradition by Prima Fonts.

  • CommScript is a classic script by Manfred Albracht with thick and thin strokes.

  • Loki Cola by Dale Thorpe of Utopia Fonts has the Coca-Cola look down although many of the letters are less connected and thicker than traditional Spencerian. It offers 26 upper and lower case letters, an alternate C, and a swash in place of most punctuation.

  • Mr. Fisk-Coke by Mike Larsen is a bit like a messier version of Loki Cola and only the uppercase letters really have any Spencerian look and feel. It uses the lower case c to create the alternate uppercase C and has limited punctuation.

Commercial Spencerian Script Fonts

With some of these commercial fonts you'll get more alternate characters, flourishes, and ligatures.

A few of the countless script or cursive fonts that haven't strayed too far afield of their Spencerian heritage include Balmoral, Citadel Script, Elegy, English 111, English Script, Flemish Script, Gravura, Original Script, Parfumerie Script, Sacker's Script, Shelley Script, Snell Roundhand, Tangier, Virtuosa Classic, and Young Baroque.

See some examples of actual Spencerian as it was taught and used in real life in the Spencerian Script lessons from IAMPETH (The International Association of Master Penmen-Engrossers-Teachers of Handwriting). Scroll down to the sample links under the Table of Contents.

By the time those of you reading this were in school, very different cursive handwriting styles were in vogue. Spencerian Script gave way to simpler letterforms and more print or manuscript styles. For your children and grandchildren (and perhaps some of you too), cursive handwriting may no longer be part of learning to write. That's sad. Read Killing Off Cursive? Say It Isn't So and add your thoughts on cursive living on only in font form.

more: fonts for teachers | handwriting styles of school fonts

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