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What Is Calligraphy? History and Types


What Is Calligraphy? History and Types

Although most of us assume that we know what calligraphy is, the actual definition of calligraphy is slightly different. Calligraphy is the niche of the arts that caters to more than beautiful handwriting and ornate lettering techniques. It’s essentially the art of creating symbols by hand and arranging them aesthetically to be pleasing to the eye. It’s a set of skills combined with handwriting techniques involving the positioning and arrangement of various letters. Calligraphy warmly represents integrity, harmony, rhythm and creativity. 

To understand calligraphy, we also need to understand the various transformations that the niche has undergone. Thus, gaining insights into the history of calligraphy is imperative if we’re to gauge its developments.

This is important in today’s times because the introduction of the printing press and other digital applications has blurred the definition of calligraphy. 

In this article, we’ve put together resources that take you through the history of calligraphy. Plus, we also address the various types of calligraphy present in today’s times. So without further ado, let’s get straight to the topic. 

Types Of Calligraphy: History

To capture all elements of the history of calligraphy writing is an impossible task. Why? Because over the years, there’ve been more than thousands of variations in text, some of which are not even documented. Consider this. Since the start of our civilisation, every community has developed variations of calligraphy based on their cultures and faith (Indian Calligraphy, modern calligraphy, western calligraphy, etc.).

Additionally, they’ve gone about using indigenous tools and materials. This makes it all the more difficult to distinguish between the various calligraphy styles. 

However, we can categorise the types of calligraphy art into various periods, characterised by particular tell-tale signs in writing style.


Western calligraphy is known for its definitive rules and the integration of geometric patterns into the text. Developed in the 10th century, this form of calligraphy is existent in today’s times and continues to evolve up to this very day.

The tools used back in the day to indulge in this type of calligraphy included a flat-balled or round-nipped pen, a brush, water-based ink, parchment paper, and a knife for scraping off the ink in case of a mistake.

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Eastern Asian

This type of calligraphy has its origins in countries like China, Japan and Korea, wherein symbols were used to convey the meanings of a string of words and even a sentence.

Eastern Asian Calligraphy is therefore greatly valued as an element of heritage.

Plus, it has been made sure that these local calligraphic techniques are well documented and passed down to the generations.

In addition to the regular calligraphy paraphernalia, individuals used paperweights and desk pads to indulge in this form of calligraphy back in the day. 

Southern Asian

As the name suggests, this type of calligraphy originated in countries like India, Nepal and Tibet. Buddhist scholars used it extensively in their manuscripts and other scriptures. This calligraphy style is visible on the prayers wheels in Buddhist temples and is one of the most ancient calligraphy styles. This type of calligraphy was practised using many unconventional methods. Elements such as burnt mud, smoke treated palm leaves, copper, and birch barks were occasionally used. 


The intricate and detailed geometric patterns that adorn the walls of mosques fall under this type of calligraphy. Islamic calligraphy is one of the most ornate calligraphy styles as it developed hand in hand with the Arabic language and its text. 


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Types Of Calligraphy: Styles 

Further, we can categorise the various types of modern calligraphy by the paraphernalia used to practice them. Below are some of the most popular styles of contemporary calligraphy.  

Modern Pointed Pen Calligraphy

This calligraphy style involves the usage of a pointed pen nib that’s nothing but a pen nib with a pointed tip. Thus, you can indulge in creating high precision, intricate calligraphic fonts and texts using this style.  It’s one of the most common styles of modern calligraphy. 

Brush Pen Calligraphy

This type of calligraphy involves the usage of pens that have long, tapered tips and a consistent ink flow. It’s relatively easy to indulge in this style of calligraphy. 

To make thick strokes, you need to apply more pressure, and you ease the pressure for thin strokes, much like calligraphy using a pointed nib. 

Faux Calligraphy

Faux calligraphy is calligraphy using any writing tool like a ballpoint pen, chalk, or even a felt-tip pen and stylising the same using cursive fonts.

For example, you write a particular word and then go over the same to create a stroke difference, emulating the play of lights and shadows. 

Broad Edge Calligraphy

This calligraphy style involves the usage of a pen-nib that has a flat tip rather than a pointed one. To create variations in the calligraphy, you don’t vary the pressure of application of the nib. Instead, you change the angle with which the nib meets the surface of the paper. Thick strokes result from allowing the entire nib to meet the paper, while thin strokes appear using the nib’s edge. 

Final Words

Various calligraphy styles have come into existence due to the multiple developments by our ancestors. It’s, therefore, a niche of the arts that has great heritage and culture associated with it.

We're excessively caught up with our everyday lives.

Thus taking up calligraphy courses and calligraphy tutorials (around how to do calligraphy) is a great way to get your mind off work.

Plus, it can significantly sensitise us about our cultures and past. Additionally, if done right, calligraphy acts as a therapeutic activity and a great stress-buster

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Our user-friendly resource base will help you navigate leather crafting as a hobby without any hassles. From DIY templates to wholesome kits, we structure our content around the requirements of a beginner. Additionally, we believe that education today is DIY. This is why we've attempted to create an accessible learning experience through our Artisans DIY leather crafting kit. Do check out our wholesome introductory leathercrafting kit and engage in an unparalleled leathercrafting experience.