Elizabeth McQueen

About lower case: the series

I am of an age where I have witnessed the progression from the manual type-writer (oh, the hours I spent re-typing university essays on my old clunker!) through the electric (that ‘ate its words) to the whisper of the computer key-board. While simplicity and ease of movement have certainly streamlined our lives, I actually miss the fundamental act of physically making marks on paper.

This ‘alphabet’ of hand-cut linos is an homage to simpler times when there was less need for the emphatic or ‘enTitlement’ in every sentence and each moment of a phrase was crafted, rather than reduced to acronym or ambiguous ‘text’. This is really a starting place for you to ‘play with words’ (or letters) in your own home… make a statement for all to see…

Or maybe just for you!

Just In Case…….

Linguistically, small letters or Carolingian ‘miniscules’ are thought to have been standardized during the incredible reign of Charlemagne about 800 A.D. when written word moved from cursive or connected forms to making letters independent of each-other. This allowed for greater clarity as all manuscripts were hand-copied until Gutenberg invented typography. During the 15th and 16th Centuries, type designers of Latin type-faces used Carolingian miniscules as models for ‘lowercase’ letters.

Until the mid 19th Century, text type was cast in metal and set by hand one letter at a time. This involved so many pieces of type that separate ‘cases’ (shallow trays with compartments for each letter) were developed to house the fonts of type. The small letters, which were used far more frequently than capitals, were placed for convenience lower and closer to the typesetter.

The first North American type-writers came into production after 1880 (Remmington) and for this series I have chosen a font which originally appeared on the Underwood #5 (1895).

Using Format