There is a special creative space occupied by the overlap between these three expressions of writing:
Handwriting, once a commonplace skill and now displaced by keyboards, is moving into the realm of craft, something we cultivate as a form of personal expression rather than for its utility.
Calligraphy is the practice of handwriting using a broad-tip instrument (pen or brush) to give letterforms a new level of expressiveness. Within all handwriting and calligraphy there is a “cursive/printing” spectrum. Styles on the “printing” end of this spectrum lay emphasis on legibility at the price of speed. Styles on the “cursive” end lay emphasis on speed (via combine pen strokes to create ligatures, for example), and on subsuming individual words into the broad visual texture of the page, at the price of legibility.
Shorthand is the collapsing of whole words into individual glyphs and even individual strokes. While shorthand proper — formally encoding large swaths of useful vocabulary - is now even more obsolete than handwriting, in limited forms it turns up frequently in cursive calligraphic forms: single strokes for “and”, “the” and “of” are common examples.
At the overlap between these three lies the customized orthography, or the “new” orthography: any highly unique system of writing developed by a single individual.
On this page we examine these New Orthographies and the meaning behind their development. This page is a progression of thoughts first collected at New Orthography on ThoughtStreams.