Copperplate vs. Spencerian

May 13, 2022

As I've been posting more of my Spencerian work on Instagram to gear up for my upcoming online course, I got a question recently asking what the difference is between Copperplate and Spencerian script.

Before we talk about the differences, let's talk about the similarities between these scripts:

  • Copperplate and Spencerian are both written with a steel, flexible pointed nib. So, as long as you know how to write with a pointed nib, the transition and learning curve will be easier to go from one to another. I personally learned Copperplate first and then picked up Spencerian a year later, but you can also begin with Spencerian and move onto Copperplate. These scripts complement each other so wonderfully.
  • Both scripts are written on a slant. The standard slant line is 55° for Copperplate and 52° for Spencerian. When teaching, I use the standard as our guide but the difference of 3° is so minor that when you eventually write without guidesheets, you can mix these scripts together (example: I love using Spencerian capitals with Copperplate lowercase + vice versa!)

How to differentiate between Copperplate and Spencerian:

  1. Look at the lowercase letters. Copperplate is a shaded script where we add pressure to every downstroke. With Spencerian, we occasionally add pressure to our lowercase letters, but it is done really lightly. Therefore, Spencerian lowercase letters will look much more delicate and lighter compared to Copperplate.
  2. Look at the underturn/connective strokes. Copperplate letters are based on an oval shape whereas Spencerian letters have more of an angular oval shape. You can see the difference in the underturn/connective strokes between the letters. An easy way is to picture the bottom shape of a ladle for Copperplate and a check mark for Spencerian!
  3. Pen Lifts. For Copperplate, we lift our pen after each stroke to make a letter. For example, foro Copperplate letter "a", we lift our pen 2 times to connect 3 strokes together. However, with Spencerian "a" , it is written without any pen lifts. Therefore, you can write more letters between pen lifts and I find that it also helps with less hand fatigue. 

Hope this was helpful!


Penholder: Tom's Studio (use LOGOSCALLIGRAPHY to apply 10% off your order!)
Nib: Gillott 404 (My fav nib to use with metallic ink)
Ink: Finetec
Paper: Canson Pro Layout Marker Pad (this paper is super smooth, translucent and you can place a guidesheet behind it)
Paper Image: Kraft texture photo created by tirachard -

Interested in learning Spencerian script with me? Join HERE. Below are some recent envelopes I wrote in Spencerian for teacher's appreciation week 🌸


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