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Flipping the script: the art of calligraphy on YouTube

In recognition of World Calligraphy Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate YouTube’s calligraphy community.

Today we’re rewriting YouTube’s identity – quite literally – with a hand-lettered version of the logo in honor of the calligraphy community on World Calligraphy Day.

Many cultures have their own calligraphy traditions dating back centuries. On YouTube, this ancient art form has found fresh relevance in the hands of experienced and novice letterers who produce tutorials and visually compelling demonstrations of their skills, using traditional pens and brushes, as well as more uncommon tools such as popsicle sticks or even ketchup!

To create today’s logo animation, we worked with Portuguese calligrapher Xesta of Xesta Studio who reimagined our familiar logo in an old, Latin alphabet lettering style known as Fraktur. The decorative flourishes of Fraktur instantly mark it as a historic style yet Xesta was able to simplify it sufficiently to make it highly legible at a small size. Our in-house team then animated the new logo in a way that evokes the sharp, precise tempo of Xesta’s brush strokes.

Along with the animated logo, we created an accompanying graphic. Our challenge was to showcase the amazing range of calligraphic expression – both traditional and modern – across multiple languages and regions. To achieve this, we engaged three additional calligraphers: Ali Almasri of Jordan, Sunhangul 선한글씨 of Korea, and Misaco Shodo of Japan.

Each artist worked independently, bringing their own set of cultural expertise and techniques to the project. We then stitched their lettering together into one interlocking composition. The result is a tapestry of the word “calligraphy” written in 9 languages and styles.

At a time when so much of the imagery we consume exists solely in the digital sphere, it was inspiring to work with artists who are keeping this ancient hand craft alive, each in their own way. Head here to discover more amazing calligraphers on YouTube.