Why saint patrick should be celebrated with lowercase letters

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 []

4 thoughts on “Why saint patrick should be celebrated with lowercase letters

  1. Katie says:

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

  2. 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

  3. bloxwich says:


    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.)

  4. Rod says:

    Saint Patrick invented the minuscule letters as for snakes seems like every generation of all the different peoples throughout millennial have been fighting off other snakes Genghis Kong takes on the number one person for killing the most

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