• Calligrapher

    Cast Your Own Spelling

Calligraphy of Youth


alligraphy, puns, hidden references, etymology, etc., spoken or written, language is a lot of fun. It is at once the most powerful tool and potentially confounding puzzle around.

I first became interested in calligraphy and typography around 7th grade. I had noticed that the double “t” in “Matthew” was inefficient, and began double crossing a single vertical line instead. From there, I slowly began developing my own script over the years, full of little hacks like the above and a very aggressive left slant.

Experiment Results


well-adjusted person looks at letters and words, and immediately picks up their intent. We are learned that meaning is directly attached to particular form, and then syntax. I use calligraphy to play around with that. By decoupling the intent from the form, I test if readers can pick up on it.

By and large, they can’t, but it sure looks cool. The result of the experiment was that the general public only passively consumes written language, and has a very low threshold for variation.

And that’s for the real ones. Constructed language is an even bigger riot.

As the Art Matures


nd then it dawned on me – the signifiers were meaningless. Where I had previously merely altered the standard forms, these sounds could be assigned to anything. In fact, not just the sounds of my native tongue, English, but any sound. There only needed be a system to extract the information – a cipher, or ciphers – and written language can become a beautifully complex multi-dimensional rubix cube.

I began developing a new codec to better capture the many sounds of the world. Because my handwriting was now free of form, I was also able to considerably improve the visual aspect of the calligraphy itself. Now I was getting into very interesting territory.

Matthew Ketchum calligraphy example 1

Matthew Ketchum calligraphy example 2
Matthew Ketchum calligraphy example 3