Blackletter calligraphy styles

Blackletter calligraphy, also known as “gothic” calligraphy, has been around since the 11th century. Given its long history, learning to understand its many styles can be quite difficult. but through some research you can find many sources relating to the more common styles such as Textura (Texualis), Cursiva, Rotunda, Bastarde, Schwabacher, and Fraktur and It takes a keen eye to see the variations in the different font styles.

Blackletter is the based on an earlier Latin hand known as Carolingian (Caroline Minuscule), which was developed in the 7th century under the Emperor Charlemagne. Where it was widely used over the next 400 years throughout the Carolingian Renaissance in religious and educational texts.                                                                        Image credit: Wikipedia

Since the script used at this time was the Carolingian style, while being easy to read it required a lot of time to produce and  also took up a lot of page space. With both the rising literacy rate across 12th century Europe and the increase in university attendance creating a high demand for text books, scribes began developing different styles of Carolingian which over time began to resemble today’s blackletter style. Since this new script was more orderly and had a constant upward flow it allowed the scribes to work faster and with the thinner letterforms the scribe could put more text on a page.

Fraktur calligraphy style

Textura quadrata calligraphy style