Screen Printing:

The Future of Script in Screen Printing

Are cursive fonts doomed to extinction?

By Laura Franco Facini, Contributing Writer

September 2, 2016

Cursive fonts simulate handwriting. These flowing strokes with the letters most often joined together are an integral part of design. With cursive writing on the way out in the school curriculum, what is the future of cursive, or script, fonts in design and print industries, like screen-printing?

Script in Schools
The debate over the presence of cursive writing in American education system is ongoing. Some argue that children deprived of cursive will fail to develop fine motor skills, not to mention lose a beautiful means of creative expression. While many internet blogs (typed), newspaper and magazine editorial columns (standard print form), and news and information programs (verbal) are fighting to keep cursive writing in the school curriculum, it is fast becoming a part of the United States’ past. For many schools it has already been removed from lesson plans and is not expected to make a comeback. 

To future young students, cursive may appear to be just a mix of curves and ligatures that remind them of the standard alphabet, but won’t deliver any meaning or message. Perhaps you have already witnessed the fear in the eyes of a young teen asked to sign their name when opening a bank account, for example.

Impact on Screen Print Artists
As an artist, you may not have considered eliminating cursive fonts from your collection. Artists as well as their clients take font selection seriously, and you offer script options because they are effective for particular design projects. They often are selected to reflect a style, period or emotion, and may or may not need to be easily read. Words in design are typically used to communicate, but that is not always the case. Fonts, including script, also can be used as decoration.

Would the absence of cursive writing in school curriculums mean that designers would stop designing with script fonts? At what point would the change in lesson plans lead to a change for the screen-print industry and other print industries? 

Would we continue to design using cursive fonts, but be forced to print a translation in a standard font on the bottom of T-shirts? Will companies with script logos need to consider a redesign?  Will millions of websites need to abandon the use of cursive fonts or lose customers? There is no need to panic. The shift is a long way away and there is still hope for the expressive font.

The Future of Fonts in Apparel Printing
The writers of the Declaration of Independence could not have predicted the end of transcribing official documents and certainly not the end of cursive writing altogether. It once was a form of art and a highly respected skill. Beautiful handwriting was equated with wealth and status. We accepted the shift from handwriting to the use of personal computers and devices with keyboards as inevitable. Is it time to accept another step in the evolution of print communication?

This designer is fighting for the survival of script fonts. But understanding that the education system has the responsibility to teach a broad range of subjects and skills in a structured time frame, I hold little hope that it will find new life again in the American school system. It may be the designers, such as screen-print artists, that reach the mainstream and have the greatest impact on the survival of cursive fonts. If we print it, they will wear it.

Laura Franco Facini is vice president, director of sales and marketing for Freehand Graphics Inc. For more information, visit