B12 Solipsism

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Why saint patrick should be celebrated with lowercase letters

with 4 comments

For your daily dose of font nerdery1

The 26 Letters by Oscar Ogg

A few years back, Jasper Bear, one of The Globe’s founders (I designed their logo), gave me a wonderful book called “The 26 Letters” by Oscar Ogg, which was all about the development of the 26 letters of today’s alphabet. Jasper knows I’m a font geek (ahem, “letterforms enthusiast”) from way back.

Anyway, the book’s retelling of St. Patrick’s story was interesting, not only because of his escape from his Roman captors, but because of his invention:

St. Patrick invented lower case letters.

In Ireland, a Celtic land, people used an uncial alphabet. It kind of looks like the writing on the Lord of the Rings cover. When the Christians came with the Bible, it was written in a Roman alphabet, which at the time was all upper-case, like the writing you see on buildings.

St. Patrick devised a transitional alphabet designed to serve between the Roman and Uncial alphabets. Today we call it lower case.

[Click to continue reading why saint patrick’s day should be celebrated with lowercase letters « arellanes.com]


Much better reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than watery, domestic that’s been tinted green with Monsanto-created food dyes…

Steel cut Irish Oatmeal

  1. is that a word? Whatever []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 17th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , , , ,

4 Responses to 'Why saint patrick should be celebrated with lowercase letters'

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  1. […]First heard of this book when reading that St. Patrick invented lowercase letters […]

  2. I love fonts! Should I read this book? Where can I find it?


    23 Mar 10 at 7:37 am

  3. I’ve only started it, but it seems interesting. Not too technical, in fact, something you could almost read to Ethan. I bought a used copy at Amazon for 99¢, plus shipping. Well worth it

    Seth Anderson

    23 Mar 10 at 7:47 am

  4. Hooey.

    St Patrick never devised an alphabet. (He was too busy banishing the snakes from Ireland.)

    It was the scriptoriums and the unnamed scribes who developed and changed lettering over years.

    (The word ‘case’ comes from the the printing cases that hold type. Upper and lower-case only strictly apply to type. The correct lettering terms are majuscule and minuscule.)


    3 Sep 11 at 4:34 pm

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