Written Words, Woven Threads: Because We Care about Handwriting
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Written Words, Woven Threads: Because We Care about Handwriting

Do you care about handwriting?

People who love good handwriting, and who put in the work on theirs, can be noticed anywhere — whenever they pick up a pen and write.

But … WHAT IF the friends of good handwriting could recognize each other anywhere, anytime … even when we don’t happen to be writing anything?

WHAT IF a glance across a crowded room could tell you that you’d just spotted someone who shares your love for the handwritten word?

WHAT IF people who care about handwriting had a recognition symbol?

That’s why there is the Handwriting Tartan:an officially registered design motif created in 2023 (and profiled on YouTube in 2024) which encodes symbolism about our handwriting and its history.


• Stripes in brown/tan shades represent fingers. holding a pen (represented by the thickest shaded blue stripe). 

• The light-colored background stands for paper (with a nod to earlier, historical writing surfaces: parchment and papyrus). Its widest area is 52 threads wide: 2 x 26, for the 26 lowercase and uppercase letters used to write English (the language most widely written  in the world today).

  • Shades of blue and black stand for ink. Groupings of thin blue and black lines, representing pen strokes, also encode significant dates in handwriting. (The different widths of strokes represent  numbers, with wider stripes representing higher values.)

       • The group of four stripes indicates the number 1522:  the publication year of Western civilization’s first handwriting textbook. 

        • The group of three stripes represents 1 followed by 23. This stands for January 23, the birthday of John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hancock’s bold yet elegant signature inspired the selection of his  birthday as National Handwriting Day by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association. Although National Handwriting Day originated in yhe United States handwriting enthusiasts in some other countries have adopted it too. In India,, for instance, it often bears the name of World Handwriting Day.

On National Handwriting Day or any day, the Handwriting Tartan is a great way to identify yourself as a friend of handwriting!

Kate Gladstone shows off her handwriting tartan beach hat

Showing off my Handwriting Tartan beach hat

You— or someone you know — might even qualify for free merchandise … if you have the “write’ touch. Federalist Pens and Wonder Print Shop are among the sponsors of the World Handwriting Contest. Both firms’ annual prize donations for winners feature the Handwriting Tartan. Click here to find out what these and other sponsors are offering this year!

Do you have what it takes to win a Handwriting Tartan item or other award? How mighty is the power of your pen? Enter the World Handwriting Contest and find out!  


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