A quick Google search using the term “flourish” gets different types of results. The word can refer to an extravagant gesture that’s meant to attract attention. Sometimes it can also pertain to an ornamental embellishment in writing. We’ve discussed the subject of typography with our articles on movie intertitles and the role of typography in graphic design. Now we’ll take a closer look at typographic flourishes.
Typographic flourishes are reminiscent of the Baroque period, where exaggerated motion and details are dominant. Two of the most beautiful characteristics of Baroque page design are ornate borders and typographic flourishes. They are often described as “curly bits added to make type look fancy.”
Flourishes in penmanship used to be prominent in the writings of educated individuals. In the United States, Platt Rogers Spencer’s script writing style was commonly used from 1850 to 1925. Aptly called the Spencerian Script, it was adapted from other existing handwriting styles for business correspondence and personal letter-writing. The method was taught in schools and was one of the highlights of the Golden Age of Ornamental Penmanship.
Typographic flourishes are often seen on wedding invitations, but the uses of these fancy embellishments are not limited to formal correspondence. Flourishes are also used in designing logos and other printed materials. Take a look at these samples of posters, letterheads, and other graphic design projects with flourishes!