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Typeface Review

Rolling Pen

Reviewed by Carolina de Bartolo on March 11, 2014

Before I get to my review of Alejandro Paul’s Rolling Pen, I wish to make a preempt­ive confession: I’m into astrology. Okay, I said it. And before you start judging, let me explain: I only mention this so that it will come as no surprise that I’m also into hand­writing analysis, aka, graphology.

Now, you don’t have to be a wacko astrology lover like me to embrace the idea that marks made by the hand are direct impulses from the brain. As Lance Morrow put it, “Handwriting is civilization’s casual enceph­alo­gram.” While there are very few handwriting models, the variations in individual handwriting are endless — a fascinating neurological, from-one-come-multitudes phenomenon, don’t you think?

So, without further ado, here’s my graphological analysis of Rolling Pen:

The airy spacing of the script suggests a person who works rigorously to develop clarity around his ideas. The clean, uncomplicated circular letters are a second­ary indicator of clear thinking. The writer is more than likely a frank person, but, given that the circular letters are not particularly round and the ‘e’ is not broadly looped, this writer’s openness is not quite as strong as his other traits.

A hint of initiative reveals itself in the way the ‘p’ quickly breaks away to the next letter, and the entire script moves forward at a quick, smooth, ball-pointed pace. The pressure of the pen on the page appears to be rather light, leading us to assume that the writer is tactful and discreet (or using a fine-nibbed pen). This lightness of pressure might also be interpreted as an unevenness of temperament. (Consider meeting the writer to verify.)

Looking at the oh-so-very-important connections between letters, we see a beautiful rhythm, indicating a talented writer — someone who moves gracefully through the world and is inclined to enjoy music and poetry. The occasional break in the connecting stokes suggests a similarly occasional break in mental equilibrium — perhaps he is slowing down to find emotional balance? Might be good for all of us.

In any handwriting, the upper loop letters express the degree of broad-mindedness concerning theoretical concepts. The narrower the loop, the more restricted the tolerance in theoretical matters, and the less inclined the writer will be to consider the beliefs of others. The moderately-sized loop of the ‘l’ in Rolling Pen implies the writer is cautious yet open-minded.

The high-but-not-very placement of the crossbar on the ‘t’ tells us this writer has ambitious goals that are nevertheless grounded in reality. The longish length of the crossbar demonstrates a degree of enthusiasm and emotional interest in these goals.

The hooks on ‘f’, ‘k’, and ‘h’ convey a strong acqui­sitive­ness, or an excessive interest in securing material possessions. (Visit the writer at home to confirm.) The large hooks on several of the terminal strokes in this hand suggest a person who moves forward in life with tenacity — someone with a firm eye on his aspirations and the determination to achieve them.

In sum, this is an extraordinarily well-developed hand, one that shows its writer to be cultured, with strong aesthetic sensibilities. He is very likely a star in his chos­en field of endeavor — maybe even famous! This is a man of letters you will definitely want to meet. ¡Mucho gusto!

Carolina de Bartolo is the author and publisher of the award-winning book, Explorations in Typography. She has a habit of drawing a rather large upper loop on her lowercase letter ‘l’. Much as she would like to think this is a testament to her broad-mindedness, she suspects there’s probably no explanation whatsoever. She wonders if outing herself as a wacko on the internets was a good idea.

This review was written with the assistance of Alisha Fund, a whiz at graphoanalysis and one of de Bartolo’s star graduate students at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Fund is making her first foray into type design with a preppy little set of twenty-first-century handwriting models that she has named Character Script. Stay tuned.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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