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    I received an email the other day from someone asking about the applications of western calligraphy. Essentially, the person wanted to know: why learn calligraphy? It was one of those questions that I initially reacted to with “Ha! How obvious!”, and then I realized: it’s not so obvious. So … I took some time to seriously consider the question and came up with a few reasons that I believe calligraphy is relevant in western society.

    1. It’s Good for Your Mental Health

    You’ll notice that when I talk to you about practicing your calligraphy, I’ll often say, “Put on a good movie and a make yourself a cup of hot tea to make it even more enjoyable!” In a world where we are bombarded daily with information and distractions {emails, texts, phone calls, advertisements, appointments, etc.}, it’s nice to block that all out and just have “me time”. It’s almost therapeutic to leisurely make your way through a calligraphy worksheet while a good movie {or your favorite music} is playing, and snacks or a nice drink can supplement the experience. The more pleasant you make the set-up, the more joy you will get out of your practice {and the faster you’ll improve}. Improvement, however, takes a back seat to enjoyment. I am a firm believer in making life as pleasant as possible, and if writing in calligraphy/exploring creativity helps you to achieve that {as it does for me}, then you’re really doing something amazing.



    2. Age Isn’t a Factor

    Calligraphy is also something you can learn at any age. I know you might be scoffing, “Okay, easy for you to say; you’re 26 years old,” but I strongly believe age is not a factor. For a long time, we have been told that learning is impaired by age … but that’s not true. Neuroplasticity {changing of the brain} occurs whenever you learn and memorize something new — no matter what age you are. I can certainly understand, of course, a physical handicap that prevents a person from mastering the art of calligraphy {e.g. arthritis, severe shaking}; but if mere age is holding you back, reconsider! Anytime you learn something new, you’re broadening your horizons and being good to your brain. Also, some parents have told me they use the Learn for a Latté worksheets to work with their children on cursive writing, which is phasing out of schools. To that I say power to you! From an ability to read hand-written historical documents to the gift of being able to develop a script signature {and take college notes in quick cursive}, it’s important that kids know how to write using script — with the possibility of developing that script knowledge into calligraphy later.

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    3. You’ll Save Major Money on Your Wedding/Big Event

    As far as the practical benefits of learning calligraphy, of course, weddings and big events are a good motivator. In fact, that’s how a lot of people figure out they like calligraphy in the first place — because they wanted to learn it for their wedding. If you do learn it for your wedding, you will save so much money on hiring a calligrapher. Here is a list, for example, of client wedding materials I have used calligraphy on in the past:

    • Envelopes, of course: save the date, outer envelopes, inner envelopes, RSVP envelopes, and thank you card envelopes
    • Invitation suite design
    • Program design
    • Place cards and escort cards
    • Menu design
    • Signs {e.g. “Wedding This Way” “Sign Our Guestbook”}
    • Wedding website graphics
    • Wedding certificates

    These materials can all be used for company parties or important dinners as well. Since these materials take time to create, you’ll end up paying a pretty penny for them if you hire a calligrapher. But, if you create them yourself, you’ll save money as well as feel even more of a personal connection to your materials.

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    4. You’ll Impress People Who Can Help You

    Another real-world benefit of learning calligraphy is being able to send beautiful snail mail. Now, before you react, “I’m not really a snail mail, pen pal-type person,” I’d like to point out a couple of other situations in which great calligraphy can come in handy. Let’s say you go to a job interview, right, and you want to send a thank-you note afterward that makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Beautiful handwriting and a stunning envelope presentation sends a message beyond what you actually write in the note. It says you are fastidious, you pay attention to detail, and you aim to impress — both future clients and future colleagues.

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    Alternatively, you may want to send a piece of correspondence to a person who you know receives a large volume of mail. Creating a beautiful envelope, of course, generates curiosity about what is inside; which increases the chances of the letter being opened. For example, my friend Sally recently sent a letter to a cardinal in New York. I would be willing to bet he opens her envelope, which was strikingly calligraphed.

    5. You Can Incorporate Calligraphy into Your Art

    A wholly enjoyable way to utilize calligraphy is in sketchbooking and art/illustrations. I have seen so many art pieces lately that feature a mix of calligraphy and illustration. Calligraphy is an effective way to communicate a message in a beautiful way, and adding illustrations/embellishments only adds to the striking nature of the art piece. For example, calligraphy, illustrations, and watercolor work together so incredibly well in illustrated maps.

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    6. Calligraphy is Not an Expensive Activity

    If you want to learn calligraphy for any of the reasons above {or “just because”}, it’s easy to get started. You can visit our calligraphy supply collection here: Collector Writing Instruments

    It only costs you a dinner out or two to get a good calligraphy fountain pen.

    I am sure that I haven’t identified all of the reasons to learn calligraphy here, but these are the reasons that came to mind for me! If you can think of something I’m missing {and I’m sure you can!}, please feel free to contribute in the comments. The main reason that I learned calligraphy, more than anything else, is I just enjoy it. It makes me happy to create it! To me, that’s a good enough reason, and all the practical applications are secondary. Thanks again, very much, for reading.

    Written by Lindsey