Calligraphy is an enigma. Its enduring, popular appeal may let us take it for granted, obscuring the question of why, in the age of mechanical text, we revel so conspicuously in it.
You see it everywhere, absolutely everywhere: rough-and-ready brush lettering or something like it. It’s proudly imperfect and knowingly naive. It’s bold and inkily raw; its voice can be raucous and assertive or tremulous and quivering. It’s on posters, packaging, banners and trademarks of food brands and political movements; on literary book covers, at conferences, and perhaps most of all as messages on social media.