A version of this post appeared on The Week:
From simple to ornate, from angular to curvy, from lines to ribbons, go way beyond Helvetica with these samples from The Book of Ornamental Alphabets.
1. 8th and 9th centuries:
2. 10th century:
3. 11th century:
4. 13th century:
5. 14th century:
6. 15th and 16th centuries:
7. 16th century:
8. 16th century:
9. 16th century:
10. 17th century:
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