What is the Difference Between Calligraphy and Cursive Writing

The main difference between calligraphy and cursive writing is their purpose or function. Calligraphy is a form of visual art, and its main focus is on artistic creativity, whereas cursive is a form of writing, and its main focus is on writing legibly and quickly.

Both calligraphy and cursive writing can produce beautiful writing that is pleasing to the eye. Since both these types of writing can look similar, most people fail to differentiate the concepts of calligraphy and cursive letters.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Calligraphy 
     – Definition, Features 
2. What is Cursive Writing
     – Definition, Features 
3. Difference Between Calligraphy and Cursive Writing
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Calligraphy, Cursive Writing, Handwriting

Difference Between Calligraphy and Cursive Writing - Comparison Summary

What is Calligraphy

Calligraphy is a form of visual art related to writing. It is the design and drawing/writing of letters using pens, ink brushes, or other writing instruments. In fact, the word ‘calligraphy’ comes from two Greek words: kallos, which means beauty, and graphein, which means to write. Although we consider calligraphy to be a form of writing, it’s not used for ordinary communication. Calligraphy is used to create aesthetic writing. Therefore, it’s main focus is on design or artistic creativity, not on readability or communication. You may have noticed calligraphy in invitations, announcements, cut stone inscriptions, graphic design, typography, and font design.

Calligraphy and Cursive Writing

Furthermore, we can categorize calligraphy into three main categories based on its geographical distribution and language families. These three categories are Western calligraphy, Oriental calligraphy, and Islamic calligraphy. Western calligraphy is based on Latin texts and includes many types of sub-styles. On the other hand, people in East Asia; mainly, in countries like China, Japan, and Korea, use oriental calligraphy. Moreover, Islamic calligraphy uses Arabic letters and is related to the Islam religion.

What is Cursive Writing

Cursive writing is a type of handwriting that uses a flowing style to make writing faster. In cursive writing, letters are set down in full and are cursively linked within words without lifting the pen from the paper. We refer to the type of letters we use for cursive writing as cursive letters. They are the opposite of block letters. Cursive letters are looped and always connected to each other. Here are some guidelines to follow when writing cursive letters.

  1. All similar letters have to have the same height
  2. Writing should always be formed by a pattern of ovals and parallel lines
  3. All small letters should start at the top.
  4. Capital letters shouldn’t be any higher than other letters
  5. All down strokes of letters have to be parallel.

Calligraphy vs Cursive Writing

Many alphabets use cursive writing because of the belief that it increases the writing speed as it involves infrequent pen lifting. However, some elaborate cursive styles are slower to create, so they may take more time to write than block letters. In the past, students learn cursive writing in the classroom, but most modern curricula do not include cursive writing. This is why many young people have no skills in cursive writing.

Difference Between Calligraphy and Cursive Writing

Definition

Calligraphy is a form of visual art related to writing, while cursive writing is a type of handwriting that uses a flowing style to make writing faster.

Focus

The focus of calligraphy is on the design and creativity, while the main focus of cursive writing is writing quickly and decipherably.

Time Taken

Cursive writing is supposed to be quicker than writing block letters as we write cursive letters without lifting the pen from the paper. But calligraphy is a form of art and takes considerably more time.

Complexity

Cursive writing is simpler than the intricate art of calligraphy.

Nature

Moreover, in cursive writing, letters are looped and always connected to each other. But there are different types of letters and designs in calligraphy.

Conclusion

Since calligraphy is a form of aesthetic writing, its main focus is on artistic creativity, not readability. Cursive writing, on the other hand, is a form of ordinary writing, and its main focus is on writing legibly and quickly. Thus, this is the main difference between calligraphy and cursive writing.

Reference:

1. Maher, Harriet. “What Is Calligraphy? What Is the Purpose of It?” Imaginated, 23 Mar. 2022.
2. “Calligraphy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 June 2022.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Church gothic calligraphy fonts from Draughtsman’s Alphabets by Hermann Esser (1845–1908)” (CC0) via RawPixel
2. “Free old English calligraphy closeup photo” (CC0) via RawPixel

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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