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The Art of Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a very loose concept because writing styles can vary from functional to artistic, legible to non-legible, and other factors that depend on the context of the calligraphy. However, the constants that are almost universal amongst calligraphy include that it must be hand-written, it must be presented with some artistic flourish and style, and that it is considered an art rather than a more simple and practical way of writing.
Calligraphy is something that almost all cultures shared even dating back to ancient times. Whether it was Asia, India, or European cultures, they all prided themselves on artisan penmanship on all formal documentations. Today, calligraphy has developed into a wide variety of styles as cultures are becoming more connected and are able to draw more inspirations from each others calligraphy.
Today, there are thousands of free calligraphy fonts available for commercial and personal use, and while a majority of them are put together incredibly well, we have amassed 10 of the finest free calligraphy fonts for you to select from to use in your own Desktop Publishing projects.
(Click images for a larger preview.)
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Our first free calligraphy font, Annabel Script, is a clean-cut and graceful font that doesn't showcase a whole lot of flourishing elements. Despite its lack of artistic approach, it makes for a lovely font that can be used in more formal documents such wedding invitations, guest books, or hand-made gift certificates.
Direct Download: http://1001freefonts.com/font/AnnabelScript.zip
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Chopin Script is an incredibly popular freeware font that can be found just about anywhere. It's no wonder why it is such a widely available and heavily downloaded font--because of how gorgeous it is. While the script itself is simple and easy to read, you can still see the subtle, thin lines that play around each character to create a beautiful web of penstrokes. The font certainly fits the name as you might expect to see this font atop classical sheet music or as the title font of a classic novel.
Direct Download: http://1001freefonts.com/font/ChopinScript.zip
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Scriptina is a very thin, artistic font that utilizes wide sweeps to create a beautiful set of characters. The penstrokes look very deliberate, which gives it a stunning hand-written appearance, especially since each character will seamlessly attach to the next with no trouble at all.
Direct Download: http://1001freefonts.com/font/Scriptina.zip
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Carolinga is a more eastern, Arabic inspired font that is thicker. It is a much cleaner font than some of the others mentioned in this article, but it still appears to be done with a calligraphy pen with care. This is the best Arabic and free calligraphy font I could find because of how legible it is without losing its unique style.
Direct Download: http://www.fontstock.net/3478/carolingia.html
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Wet Dream is one of the more dirty fonts which gives it an air of grunge that is difficult to find when searching for something as clean and formal as calligraphy, which is why I decided to include it. The characters themselves are fantastically done and are definitely styled to be calligraphic, but the bits of wet ink that blotch around the characters provide an eye-catching look. I would definitely recommend saving this font for projects that are less formal and need this level of gritty style.
Direct Download: http://www.fontstock.net/510682/wet-dream.html
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Jellyka Saint-Andrew's Queen
Jellyka Saint-Andrew's Queen is a free calligraphy font that is, in my opinion, the most authentic looking free font I was able to find. It really appears to have been written by hand as you can see the lines becoming thicker and thinner throughout the penstrokes. This would make a beautiful font for formal documents and also creating documents styled after those in the Victorian Era.
Direct Download: http://www.dafont.com/jellyka-saint-andrews-queen.font
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The King & Queen
The King & Queen is a heavily stylized and artistic font, but still very readable. It definitely has a lot going on around each character, which is eye-catching but can really limit it to more informal projects. I could see a few situations in which this artistically-driven font can be used for formal documents; however, I would be careful not to disrupt the harmony of simplicity and cleanliness in a more proper document.
Direct Download: http://www.dafont.com/the-king-queen-font.font
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Porcelain is a bit more simple, but definitely has some interesting elements to the character sets. You can see that it has that interesting flourish around the capital letters but it also features the hollow points around where the penstroke thickens at the top. It's certainly a free calligraphy font that can be used for both formal and informal settings quite easily.
Direct Download: http://www.dafont.com/porcelain.font
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VTC Nue Tattoo Script
VTC Nue Tattoo Script is very Miami Beach, classic, tattoo calligraphy at its finest. As you can see it's very art driven because the font itself was designed to be displayed on those willing to get their bodies tattooed. I find that the font has many applications in a Desktop Publishing setting for projects that are beach themed or for album design or posters.
Direct Download: http://www.dafont.com/vtc-nuetattoo-script.font
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Our final free calligraphy font is Lapointe's Road. It is my personal favorite of the 10 because it really captures all the aspects that make each of the above fonts unique and combines them to make its own stunning product. It's got plenty of flourish, a grungy appearance, it's legible, and it's got a very tattoo font feel to it. The only downside is that it's not exactly suited for a formal platform, but otherwise it would make for a great signage font or for a lot of great, personal graphics design projects.
Direct Download: http://www.dafont.com/lapointes-road.font
See Also: Free Lucinda Calligraphy Fonts