Script, serif, sans serif? Letter shapes, styles, and families can be a little tricky to understand. But in order for us to develop our own unique calligraphy alphabet, we first need to understand the different families and styles that are the staples and backbones of all letter alphabets.
All of this is what we will be revising in this post, and in the end, I am also sharing a FREE worksheet workbook with 30 different styles of calligraphy alphabets so you can download and start practicing right away!
Is the difference between the thinnest and the thickest part of the letter. In many examples of alphabets in script style, the contrast is very evident. The opposite would be to create letters with a monoline pen or sketching them having the same thickness.
Adding different kinds of embellishments to letters, like flourishes, flowers, swashes, or curls and angles. Are the perfect way to make a unique set of letters to compose an alphabet. The possibilities are endless., but when adding embellishments, never lose sight of readability, sometimes we can have so much fun with the extras that the letter or letters could get buried in the noise.
Now that you all these ideas for alphabets, as well as the best ways to make variations in letters, I would love for you to experiment with picking the details that you like from all the examples and combine them into your own alphabet.
The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late 9th or early 8th century BCE. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the earliest known alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants. In Archaic and early Classical times, the Greek alphabet existed in many local variants, but, by the end of the 4th century BCE, the Euclidean alphabet, with 24 letters, ordered from alpha to omega, had become standard and it is this version that is still used for Greek writing today.
The Greek alphabet is the ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. Like Latin and Cyrillic, Greek originally had only a single form of each letter; it developed the letter case distinction between uppercase and lowercase in parallel with Latin during the modern era. Sound values and conventional transcriptions for some of the letters differ between Ancient and Modern Greek usage because the pronunciation of Greek has changed significantly between the 5th century BCE and today. Modern and Ancient Greek also use different diacritics, with modern Greek keeping only the stress accent (acute) and the diaeresis.
In both Ancient and Modern Greek, the letters of the Greek alphabet have fairly stable and consistent symbol-to-sound mappings, making pronunciation of words largely predictable. Ancient Greek spelling was generally near-phonemic. For a number of letters, sound values differ considerably between Ancient and Modern Greek, because their pronunciation has followed a set of systematic phonological shifts that affected the language in its post-classical stages.
During the Mycenaean period, from around the sixteenth century to the twelfth century BC, Linear B was used to write the earliest attested form of the Greek language, known as Mycenaean Greek. This writing system, unrelated to the Greek alphabet, last appeared in the thirteenth century BC. In the late ninth century BC or early eighth century BC, the Greek alphabet emerged. The period between the use of the two writing systems, during which no Greek texts are attested, is known as the Greek Dark Ages. The Greeks adopted the alphabet from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, one of the closely related scripts used for the West Semitic languages, calling it Φοινικήια γράμματα 'Phoenician letters'. However, the Phoenician alphabet is limited to consonants. When it was adopted for writing Greek, certain consonants were adapted to express vowels. The use of both vowels and consonants makes Greek the first alphabet in the narrow sense, as distinguished from the abjads used in Semitic languages, which have letters only for consonants.
There were initially numerous local (epichoric) variants of the Greek alphabet, which differed in the use and non-use of the additional vowel and consonant symbols and several other features. Epichoric alphabets are commonly divided into four major types according to their different treatments of additional consonant letters for the aspirated consonants (/pʰ, kʰ/) and consonant clusters (/ks, ps/) of Greek. These four types are often conventionally labelled as "green", "red", "light blue" and "dark blue" types, based on a colour-coded map in a seminal 19th-century work on the topic, Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Alphabets by Adolf Kirchhoff (1867).
The "green" (or southern) type is the most archaic and closest to the Phoenician. The "red" (or western) type is the one that was later transmitted to the West and became the ancestor of the Latin alphabet, and bears some crucial features characteristic of that later development. The "blue" (or eastern) type is the one from which the later standard Greek alphabet emerged. Athens used a local form of the "light blue" alphabet type until the end of the fifth century BC, which lacked the letters Ξ and Ψ as well as the vowel symbols Η and Ω. In the Old Attic alphabet, ΧΣ stood for /ks/ and ΦΣ for /ps/. Ε was used for all three sounds /e, eː, ɛː/ (correspondinɡ to classical Ε, ΕΙ, Η respectively), and Ο was used for all of /o, oː, ɔː/ (corresponding to classical Ο, ΟΥ, Ω respectively). The letter Η (heta) was used for the consonant /h/. Some variant local letter forms were also characteristic of Athenian writing, some of which were shared with the neighboring (but otherwise "red") alphabet of Euboia: a form of Λ that resembled a Latin L () and a form of Σ that resembled a Latin S ().
When the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, they took over not only the letter shapes and sound values but also the names by which the sequence of the alphabet could be recited and memorized. In Phoenician, each letter name was a word that began with the sound represented by that letter; thus ʾaleph, the word for "ox", was used as the name for the glottal stop /ʔ/, bet, or "house", for the /b/ sound, and so on. When the letters were adopted by the Greeks, most of the Phoenician names were maintained or modified slightly to fit Greek phonology; thus, ʾaleph, bet, gimel became alpha, beta, gamma.
The oldest forms of the letters in antiquity are majuscule forms. Besides the upright, straight inscriptional forms (capitals) found in stone carvings or incised pottery, more fluent writing styles adapted for handwriting on soft materials were also developed during antiquity. Such handwriting has been preserved especially from papyrus manuscripts in Egypt since the Hellenistic period. Ancient handwriting developed two distinct styles: uncial writing, with carefully drawn, rounded block letters of about equal size, used as a book hand for carefully produced literary and religious manuscripts, and cursive writing, used for everyday purposes. The cursive forms approached the style of lowercase letter forms, with ascenders and descenders, as well as many connecting lines and ligatures between letters.
Apart from the daughter alphabets listed above, which were adapted from Greek but developed into separate writing systems, the Greek alphabet has also been adopted at various times and in various places to write other languages. For some of them, additional letters were introduced.
Several Greek letters are used as phonetic symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Several of them denote fricative consonants; the rest stand for variants of vowel sounds. The glyph shapes used for these letters in specialized phonetic fonts is sometimes slightly different from the conventional shapes in Greek typography proper, with glyphs typically being more upright and using serifs, to make them conform more with the typographical character of other, Latin-based letters in the phonetic alphabet. Nevertheless, in the Unicode encoding standard, the following three phonetic symbols are considered the same characters as the corresponding Greek letters proper:
On the other hand, the following phonetic letters have Unicode representations separate from their Greek alphabetic use, either because their conventional typographic shape is too different from the original, or because they also have secondary uses as regular alphabetic characters in some Latin-based alphabets, including separate Latin uppercase letters distinct from the Greek ones.
Different chapters within the same fraternity are almost always (with a handful of exceptions) designated using Greek letters as serial numbers. The founding chapter of each respective organization is its A chapter. As an organization expands, it establishes a B chapter, a Γ chapter, and so on and so forth. In an organization that expands to more than 24 chapters, the chapter after Ω chapter is AA chapter, followed by AB chapter, etc. Each of these is still a "chapter Letter", albeit a double-digit letter just as 10 through 99 are double-digit numbers. The Roman alphabet has a similar extended form with such double-digit letters when necessary, but it is used for columns in a table or chart rather than chapters of an organization.
Some letters can occur in variant shapes, mostly inherited from medieval minuscule handwriting. While their use in normal typography of Greek is purely a matter of font styles, some such variants have been given separate encodings in Unicode.
This block also supports the Coptic alphabet. Formerly, most Coptic letters shared codepoints with similar-looking Greek letters; but in many scholarly works, both scripts occur, with quite different letter shapes, so as of Unicode 4.1, Coptic and Greek were disunified. Those Coptic letters with no Greek equivalents still remain in this block (U+03E2 to U+03EF). 2b1af7f3a8