A “hand” is the term used to describe a style of penmanship, which should not be confused with a “font”, which refers to a typesetting of characters.

There are always hundreds of fonts to choose from when deciding on the style of lettering that will set the tone for your event. Bear in mind, though, that calligraphers who work by hand often specialize in one or a few styles; some may have been trained in the broad-pen styles, such as the popular Italic, Flourished Italic, Uncial or Gothic, while others may have discovered an affinity for the elegant scripts. Many calligraphers can write in several styles, but may not perform all of them well – like a classically trained concert pianist who may be able to pick up the basics on the cello.

Tip: see what your calligrapher can do and judge his/her work at face value, rather than beginning with a font from the computer and getting human hands to re-create it. That’s working backwards – remember, it’s all about being personal!