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Script fonts don't all look alike. Some look elegant, reminiscent of fine handwriting created with a pointed, flexible quill. Others feel kitschy, fun, reminiscent of the scripts popular in the 1950s. Even though Scripts can look very different from each other, they have common elements. A Script is based on handwritten forms. The lowercase letters are linked and there's usually a forward slant to the letters. The first lead type Script font was designed in 1577 by Robert Granjon about 105 years after Nicolas Jenson created his Venetian font and almost 150 years before William Caslon designed his Old Style font In fact, using a fancy Script on a document was a status symbol in the late 1500s.
People especially preferred Scripts with detailed, complicated flourishes and contrast between thick and thin strokes. Of course, at the time, letter-pressed printing technology didn't allow for printing such thin details. This didn't happen for another 150 years when John Baskerville designed his Transitional font. So most fancy Scripts were originally printed with engraved copperplate. The copperplate could reproduce fine lines. Unfortunately, copper is much softer than lead so the plates could only be used to make about 200 impressions.
Then the plates would have to be ground down and the message re-etched. Now, this may seem like it doesn't have anything to do with Web fonts, but I think it does. The story of early printed Script fonts reminds me of how modern fonts like Unna don't hold up well in text on the screen. They don't have a chance to show off their beautiful, delicate thin strokes unless they're used as very large headings. It seems to me that today's screens and browsers are similar to lead type in the late 1500's.
Neither can reproduce fine lines in their full glory. Of course, back then printers could turn to engraved the copperplate even if it meant re-engraving the plate multiple times to print a large run of documents. Today, we don't have that option, but we can pick a Script that holds up well on screen. We can pick a Script font with good links on the lower case letters, comfortable forward slant, and strokes that don't get fuzzy or lost on the screen.
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