New Website Pits Lettering Against Calligraphy

Today Lettering vs Calligraphy launched, a new collaborative project by Giuseppe Salerno and Martina Flor. The website will be the repository of a visual dialogue between a letterer and a calligrapher. Every day they will create a letter responding to a keyword given by a moderator. The adventure aims to explore the capabilities of the two technical approaches. In doing so it will also give a better understanding of the fundamental difference between the two disciplines – calligraphy is writing, while lettering is drawing.

Martina Flor is the letterer in this project. This Type & Media alumnus grew up in Buenos Aires and lived in Barcelona and The Hague before finally settling down in Berlin. Having worked in the creative industry for more than 12 years, she now does design work, custom lettering and illustration for private clients, as well as self-initiated projects. A former lecturer at University of Buenos Aires and HS Anhalt, she currently runs lettering workshops in Berlin and other cities.

Calligrapher Giuseppe Salerno is the other half of this project. An Italian graphic designer based in Berlin, he has worked in the creative field for more than 13 years and lived in Torino, Amsterdam, Madrid and Valencia. Giuseppe is co-founder of Design Studio Resistenza, where – together with Paco González – he develops typographic and corporate identity projects. He organises workshops in calligraphy all around Berlin.

Martina and Giuseppe met while living in Berlin. Upon meeting for a drink at Typostammtisch, they were hooked on each other’s work. Although the context often was identical – visual identities, logotypes, typefaces, etc. – the approach and execution was entirely different. They also exchanged their experiences about running workshops.

Lettering vs Calligraphy grew out of this meeting, as a way to visualise the exchange between two like-minded artists working in the same field but in different disciplines. Martina and Giuseppe wanted this creative exchange to take the form of a game that they would both enjoy playing, and that could evolve in parallel to their daily work. They came up with the concept of drawing one letter at a time, informed by a keyword that would be a restriction but also a link between the two creations. A website proved to be the ideal medium for sharing this with world at large and allowing spectators to comment, criticise and offer ideas.

Giuseppe uses calligraphy in various models (Fraktur, Copperplate, Gothic) with different tools (brush pen, ruling pen, pointed pen). Martina works sometimes old school with pencil and paper, and sometimes directly with digital drawing. The moderator will change for every challenge; the first one being Paco González, Giuseppe’s partner from, who commissioned a dynamic ‘n’ for today’s edition.

For Martina and Giuseppe the project is an excuse to produce lettering/calligraphy that could be inspirational for their (professional) work, be it design projects or typefaces. And the fact that it happens online turns it into a resource for other people working in the same field. The aim is both making and sharing. This looks like a fun project to follow and comment on.

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