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Blackletter Calligraphy - a short overview of the script

Let's dive into Textualis Quadrata – a pretty specific style of blackletter calligraphy that's all about upright and uniform letterforms. You'll recognize it by its squared-off look, diamond strokes, and vertical lines that are evenly spaced.


By the way, sometimes you might come across the term Textura Quadrata, but Textualis Quadrata is more commonly accepted and a more accurate term. 



During earlier times, blackletter, also known as Gothic script, started in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. It evolved from the Carolingian minuscule script which was invented in the reign of Charlemagne. And because there was a rise in literacy in 12th-century Europe, higher production of books was needed. During that time books were mainly produced for Universities and not just for Bibles. From here, Carolingian minuscule evolved to smaller, thinner, densed letters with vertical in appearance as a method of saving space. 


With the compact characteristic of blackletter scribes were able to fit more words in a line and more lines can fit in a book which so the cost of production of books became affordable. 


blackletter calligraphy woven texture textualis quadrata


People can now buy more books and this gave more jobs for the Scribes and Illuminators during that time.


It spread around Europe with different versions like Textura, Rotunda, Bastarda, Fraktur, and Schwabacher.


But with the widespread adoption of printing presses for book production, Roman typefaces surged in popularity, leading to a decline in the usage of blackletter.



In the 19th and 20th centuries, it made a comeback in art and calligraphy communities. Nowadays, using this script is all about embracing its historical significance and intricate look, and artistic expressions.


- So, why does this all matter? 


Well, blackletter calligraphy is important for preserving history, a way to get creative, adding elegance to formal occasions, influencing typography, representing cultural identity, and enhancing calligraphy skills.