Handwriting Just Matters
I became aware of a recent NY Times article about how handwriting ‘just doesn’t matter’ thru Stephanie Fishwick’s Instagram post. And when I read it, I immediately commented – it’s not something I do a lot, especially for an Opinion Article. I think the author made some valid points, but I wanted to write my thoughts down on my blog and share them with a bit more detail…
Even while I type this, some of my income is made from putting pen to paper. I am a modern calligrapher and a lettering artist. If you want to fast forward into this world, just go to Instagram and use hashtags like #lettering and #calligraphy and a whole Universe will open on your phone.
And this Universe is not just an appreciation society, it’s an active world – the top classes on Skillshare and atly, et al are those of lettering and calligraphy. My own in person introduction classes are filled and often sold out. And I’m not even in the top-tier of my field! If you ask lettering artists like Molly Jacques, Ian Barnard, Jessica Hische and Stephanie Fishwick, et al., I’m sure they’d say the same things, mainly because their work comes from their hands. Now, as a new font designer, I am happy to say that the top-selling fonts are handwritten and this is not just a kind of vinyl desire nostalgia, there is a humanness in all those broken imperfect letters.
I also am a teacher in applied sciences, and I force my students to take notes, and those that do, succeed. Why? Because the mere act of writing, signals a group of cells in the reticular activating system of the brain. When you write, the RAS system filters all the information the brain is processing, and gives more attention to what you are currently doing, which is writing. In short, it signals the brain to play close attention to what you’re writing – it says “THIS is important.” In test taking, many of what my students remember – is the visual memory of their own handwriting in the pages of their notebooks.
We all have a personal relationship with our handwriting, and whether we deem it bad or good, it’s ours – much more powerful than a ‘selfie’ because all of who you are is within those letters–your connection, your openness, your mystery and your desire to ascend to higher things.
Handwriting doesn’t only matter, it endures.