According to vLetter, a font consists of all the characters---numbers, letters and punctuation---in a typeface. In other words, a font gives a language visual style. Although the first font was developed by Johann Gutenberg for the printing press, the word "font" has also begun to refer to stylised writing for tattoos, street art, comics and more. Font styles for writing are as diverse as font styles for typing, and often have characteristics, such as lines below or above letters, that computerised fonts cannot accommodate.
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Inspiring writing for bands like Black Sabbath and Pantera and closely connected with the fantasy fonts of J.R.R. Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons, Gothic lettering is characterised by its angular lines and, appropriately, Gothic-era style. Also called "black letter," the Gothic font developed from the lettering of the scribes of pre-printed English and Latin texts, such as the "illuminated manuscripts," according to Britain in Print. Gutenberg used the Gothic font in his first texts to mimic scribed books. Gothic font uses heavy lines, curved lines replaced with angles and compressed lettering. Many tattoo writings utilise Gothic font.
Cursive writing, noticeable to most English-speaking students, developed from the need for efficient and quick writing, according to "USA Today." However, probably because of the speed at which the letters are created, cursive writing varies from person to person---so much so that the science of handwriting analysis can show the minor differences in cursive between individuals. As of 2010, according to both "Time" magazine and "USA Today," people do not use cursive as much as in previous decades, mostly because e-mails and websites have replaced letters as prime forms of communication. Despite the decline of cursive in the classroom, many tattoo artists still use cursive script in their art.
Romantic and ornate, flowing lines that intertwine, loop and spiral comprise the arabesque font, according to My Fonts. Also called "Moresque," arabesque closely relates to writing styles from the Middle East. Modern uses place arabesque into a calligraphic style. A few characteristics of arabesque include the small height of the letter "x" and incredibly looped and decorated capital letters. My Fonts suggests the use of arabesque for wedding stationary, Valentine's Day cards, beauty products and associations with classical music, all illustrating the romantic nature and classical beauty of the font. In the world of tattooing, names of family members or loved ones often employ arabesque fonts.
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