Journeys in Calligraphy – Inspiring Scripts from Around the World by Denise Lach

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Journeys in Calligraphy – Inspiring Scripts from Around the World by Denise Lach

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Publisher’s Synopsis :
Just as you can be moved by a song, even when you do not understand the words, you can have an emotional reaction to a script even when its language is unknown to you. This book is an invitation to take a closer look at the scripts of other cultures and experiment with them. It’s a wonderful way to improve your sense of form and broaden your design horizons – and may even help you build bridges to other cultures and open your own mind to the creative possibilities that they inspire.


About the author :
Denise Lach has worked with calligraphy and scripts since 1985. She teaches script design and screen-printing at the Basel School of Design, and leads calligraphy courses and workshops all over the world. Her previous books include Calligraphy – A Book of Contemporary Inspiration (2009), also available from www.calligraphity.com.


Introduction to the book by the author :
“Calligraphy builds bridges from person to person and from country to country” – Karlgeorg Hoofer Why should we work with scripts that are foreign to us, when as calligraphers and lettering designers, we are already so richly served by Latin script? For a long time, I resisted trying out other forms of script. A brief excursion into Japanese calligraphy taught me humility: l learned that a single lifetime is barely enough to explore one script fully especially since each one is so deeply rooted in a particular historical and cultural context.

But loving lettering means being innately curious. You become interested in all kinds of scripts and can appreciate their visual and musical harmonies. You soon get a profound sense that they can build bridges between cultures and realize that, ultimately the only things that matter are their graphic potential and emotional resonance.

When the Alliance Franchise gave me the opportunity to learn about Indian calligraphy l found it a wonderfully exciting and creative experience. This was probably how l host caught the bug that led to my many international journeys in calligraphy.

This passion continues to thrive, fed by the playful creation of forms, the simplicity or complexity of the lines and the vivid memories of my travels. These are the thoughts and emotions that we collect when were away from home: the feel of a gravestone or an engraved plaque in a pagoda, the sight of fluttering prayer flags, dazzling film posters or faded newspaper. Although l may not understand the literal meaning of a script, recreating its visual forms inevitably awakens old memories and fills me with new ideas. The scripts of the world inspire me to expand my sense of design and gain a deeper understanding of skills l have not yet fully explored. I hope that this book will do the same for you.

Most of the examples pictured here are intended as inspiration. They are basic ideas or suggestions that you can work with, explore and develop. I have avoided giving too many technical details or specifying particular writing tools or supports. The many design possibilities can of course, be applied to Latin script too.

The scripts I have chosen come from various sources. Sometimes they are taken from printed material, such as newspapers, advertisements and labels, sometimes from handwritten documents.

The majority of the work in this book is created using analogue methods: in other words, by applying ink directly to paper with writing tools, Nonetheless, some printmaking methods are also featured, requiring another kind of close connection between paper and ink. Only a small part of the book is devoted to digital work, although modern software can be an invaluable design tool too, helping you to build a stronger sense of colour, composition and form.

Bookseller’s Comments:
Denise begins her book with a short chapter called First Steps that describes her approach to finding the distinguishing characteristics of a script and then, once you understand these – “the fun can begin!” In the following chapters, Denise discusses the characteristics of the following scripts: Ethiopian Script, Devanagari, Kannada, Tibetan Script, Burmese Script, Runes, and Sorabe Script. Throughout each chapter, Denise includes some innovative way of using the scripts as decoration and/or embellishment. In my humble opinion, this book is the perfect follow-on to Denise’s previous edition Calligraphy – A Book of Contemporary Inspiration (that is still available from www.calligraphity.com).


1st edition, 2015, paperback, 192pp, over 300 photos and illustrations, 24 x 26.5cm


Journeys in Calligraphy – Inspiring Scripts from Around the World by Denise Lach
£19.95 EUR 24.59