Graphic Design Terms 7-8: Script vs Decorative

Can you recognize a script typeface from a decorative typeface?

When trying to determine if a typeface is script or decorative, picture the cursive (joined up) writing you learned at school vs the elaborate words you artistically drew on the cover of your exercise books.
Script: Typefaces that look like joined up handwriting, ranging from casual to formal cursive writingScript typefaces that look like joined up handwriting with curves, loops and swirls that flow between letters so they each appear joined, whereas decorative typefaces have embellishments or decorative elements added to them.
Script typefaces range from casual, looser styles to highly organized more formal styles that resemble cursive handwriting.
Decorative typefaces tend to have a more blocky or chunky style with space between individual letters. As well, decorative typefaces may only include fonts in capital letters. Script typefaces include both upper and lower case letters, but capitalized script is usually very hard to read.

Sometimes regular punctuation and/or symbols may be missing from some script and decorative typefaces. Some decorative styles do not include any letters or numbers at all, but exchange letters for drawings and symbols instead.

Decorative: ypefaces that haveembellishments or decorativeelements added to them.Script Type Styles

  • Formal (e.g. Edwardian Script)
  • Casual (e.g. Lucida Handwriting)
  • Calligraphic (e.g. Vivaldi)
  • Blackletter & Lombardic (e.g. Blackadder)

Decorative Type Styles

  • Grunge (e.g. Mosaic Leaf)
  • Psychedelic (e.g. Rosewood)
  • Graffiti (e.g. Ennobled Pet)

For complete classifications go to
As a side note: when using either script or decorative typefaces in your marketing material or on your website, limit their use to headings and embellishments only. They look great in graphics but they are very hard to read in paragraphs whether it be on a flyer, sign or web page.