Gothic Sript Workshop

Matevz Košir

The German handwriting has its origins in the different styles of the gothic italics, especially in the stylised Bastarda. The palaeography of the New Age is essentially different from the palaeography of the Middle Age. The New Age documents are dated, forgeries are less frequent and easier to detect. The registers of the documents were kept at the time. This simplifies the identification and the origin of the documents. On the other hand, the great variety of different writing makes the reading more difficult. There are several individual styles of handwriting; there are also regional differences. Fractura was used as a typeface first in Augsburg in 1513. They used it to print a prayer book of the emperor Maximilian I. The handwriting of the 16th century is obviously different from the one used in the 17th and 18th centuries. The invention of the print influenced the form and development of the handwriting. The so-called open form is one of the main features of Fractura. The capital letters are wide and large and the lower case letters are narrow. Some narrow and high - typical examples are f and s.

The German handwriting was used only for the texts in German. For the texts in other languages, e.g. in Latin, Italian, or Slovenian, they used the Humanistica (Latin handwriting). This was used even in German texts for words in other languages, even for a single word.

From the mid 16th century the handwriting is becoming more and more cursive, letters have loops. The handwriting exhibits the style of the time, for instance, in the 17th century it becomes baroque (e.g. letters have ornaments). In the beginning of the 19th century major changes in the handwriting happen because of influence of the school and because of the introduction of the steel pen. In 1941 a Nazi law abolished the German handwriting. This was the end of its 400 years history.