If you’re a fan of calligraphy or have ever admired the intricate details of old-fashioned handwriting, you’ve probably heart of Copperplate font. This elegant style continues to capture the hearts of designers, typographers, and hobbyists alike. Find out what makes Copperplate so special, its history, and how you can start learning it in Writey.

What is Copperplate?

Bickham-letter-detail copperplate

 

Copperplate font is a style of calligraphy known for its fine, delicate lines and graceful curves. It’s characterized by:

  • Thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes.
  • Ornate loops and swirls, often extending beyond the baseline and cap height.
  • A slanted angle, typically around 55 degrees.

The term “Copperplate” refers to the method of engraving used to reproduce this script. Originally, these designs were etched onto copper plates, which were then used to print books, invitations, and other documents.

A Brief History of Copperplate

Copperplate writing began in the sixteenth century as an alternative to calligraphy. Unlike traditional calligraphy, where the pen was lifted between letters, Copperplate joined letters together, speeding up the writing process. Copperplate includes several types of shaded script, such as roundhand and engraver’s script.

Instead of using a flat quill or nib, roundhand used a pointed and flexible nib. The thickness of lines depended on the pressure and direction of the strokes: light pressure made thin lines, while heavier pressure made thicker ones. This writing style was used in printed materials, leading to the name Copperplate.

The process started with writing masters hand-lettering the text. These pages were sent to an engraver, who copied the fine details onto copper plates. The incised lines were filled with ink, which remained after the flat plate was cleaned. The image was then transferred to paper using strong pressure. Copperplate script was used on decorative bank checks, legal documents, certificates, currency, and fancy cards and invitations.

George Bickham - George Bickham the Elder c mid C18th

Many masters contributed to defining the aesthetic standards of the copperplate script. However, the most important work came from George Bickham, a writing master and engraver. In his book, “The Universal Penman” (1733–1741), he collected script samples from twenty-five of the most talented calligraphers in London.

Why Use Copperplate Font?

There are several reasons why Copperplate script remains a favorite:

timeless beauty of copperplate  

Timeless Beauty

 

 

Versatility in copperplate

Versatility

Personal Touch Copperplate

Personal Touch

 

Tools of the Trade

copperplate tools: Pointed Pen, Nib Holder, Ink, Smooth Paper

To get started with Copperplate calligraphy, you’ll need some basic tools:

  1. Pointed Pen: Unlike broad-edge pens, a pointed pen allows you to create the fine lines and sharp contrasts characteristic of Copperplate.
  2. Nib Holder: This is the handle that holds your nib. There are straight and oblique holders; the latter helps maintain the script’s distinctive slant.
  3. Ink: Choose a high-quality calligraphy ink. Black is traditional, but colored inks can add a modern twist.
  4. Smooth Paper: Look for paper that won’t cause your nib to catch or bleed.

    Where to Use Copperplate

    Wedding Invitations copperplate

    Copperplate script is incredibly versatile. Here are some popular uses:

    • Wedding Invitations: Adds a touch of elegance and sophistication.
    • Certificates and Awards: Perfect for formal documents.
    • Logo Design: Creates a luxurious and timeless brand identity.
    • Personal Letters: Adds a special, personal touch to correspondence.

    Copperplate script is more than just a style of writing; it’s an art form that combines precision, elegance, and history. Whether you’re a calligraphy enthusiast or a graphic designer looking for a classic touch, Copperplate has something to offer. With the right tools and a bit of practice, you can create stunning works of art that stand the test of time.

    Learn Copperplate Font Easily with Writey

     Writey copperplate

    What is Writey?

    Writey’s Guided Handwriting helps you learn characters correctly. In Print Writing, you can learn the alphabet interactively, making it easy to retain each letter. Cursive Writing focuses on developing fine motor skills and dexterity, enabling you to create beautiful pieces of writing. Plus, you can learn calligraphy, including Copperplate script, on your iPad and iPhone, making it convenient and accessible wherever you are.

     

    Writey makes learning Copperplate font super simple and fun. It has a whole section dedicated to Copperplate where you can start from scratch and improve step by step.

    How to Get Started

    When you hop on Writey, you’ll find everything organized in a step-by-step way:

    • Lowercase Letters: You start by learning the basic lowercase letters. This helps you get a feel for the thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes that are key to Copperplate.
    • Uppercase Letters: Once you’re comfortable with the lowercase, you move on to the uppercase letters. These are often more ornate and fun to practice.
    • Words and Numbers: After learning the letters, you’ll start putting them together into words and numbers. This is where things start to get really exciting as you see your progress.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Writey doesn’t just stop at teaching you the basics. Once you’ve gone through the learning sections, you can head over to the Practice Tab. Here, you can practice writing any words you like. It’s a great way to get more comfortable and see how all the letters come together in real phrases.

    My Practice Papers

    The My Practice Papers section is perfect for you. This is where you can freestyle and practice writing whatever you want. It’s a fun way to experiment and really hone your skills.

    Why You’ll Love It

    • Easy to Use: Everything is laid out clearly, so you always know what to do next.
    • Step-by-Step Learning: You’ll never feel overwhelmed because you’re learning one step at a time.
    • Lots of Practice: The more you practice, the better you get, and Writey gives you plenty of space to do just that.

     

    Tips for learning Copperplate font better:

    • Practice Basic Strokes: Copperplate is composed of a series of basic strokes. Practice these individually to build muscle memory.
    • Consistent Slant: Maintain a 55-degree angle consistently throughout your writing.
    • Pressure and Release: Apply pressure on downstrokes to create thicker lines, and release pressure on upstrokes for thinner lines.
    • Spacing and Proportion: Pay attention to the spacing between letters and the proportion of loops and descenders.