Happy National Handwriting Day!

cursive.jpgTo some it’s plain old January 23rd, but you know better. Today is National Handwriting Day (also known as Practice Your Penmanship Day). Why today, of all days? Because it’s also the (271st) birthday of John Hancock, he of the ostentatious yet memorable first signature on the Declaration of Independence. So go ahead, break out the Dixon Ticonderogas, dust off those goofy handwriting typefaces, and give your printer the day off!

Meanwhile, handwriting expert Steve Graham is using the day to advance his pro-handwriting agenda. “Handwriting is one of the basic building blocks of good writing and plays a critical role in learning,” says Graham, a professor of special education at Vanderbilt University, who calls for a return to consistent handwriting instruction. “Teachers need to continue to teach their students how to properly form and join letters,” he says. “We found that this sort of instruction takes place for 10 minutes or less a day in most schools, down from two hours a week in the 1950s.”

As for the official sponsors of National Handwriting Day, that would be the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA), a national trade association that represents the $3 billion industry of pen, pencil, and marker makers. According to WIMA, the day is “a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.” In observance of this special day, we at UnBeige are handwriting all of today’s musings using a variety of vintage writing instruments, then having them scanned in and converted to text (typeface: Cinahand) before they are posted. It just seemed like the write thing to do.