Is handwriting obsolete in the digital age?

Are we done with cursive or is there still some use for it? Graphic designer Christopher Rouleau and writer Anne Trubek discuss.
Are we done with cursive or is there still some use for it? Graphic designer Christopher Rouleau and writer Anne Trubek discuss. (Images courtesy Christopher Rouleau)
Listen18:35

We spend so much time typing into our phones that we barely notice we've stopped writing with pen and paper.

Candy Palmater hosts a debate between a writer and a graphic designer to answer the question: in this digital age, where the keyboard is king, is handwriting still useful?

Anne Trubek, writer of New York Times essay Handwriting Just Doesn't Matter, particularly takes issue with whether children should be graded on it in school. Her new book, The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, maps the progression of writing technologies to match the speed of thought. The move toward computerized communication just marks a new era in human thought - "it allows us to go faster. We can spend our time thinking about what we want to say rather than making the letters say it," she says.  

For Christopher Rouleau a Toronto-based graphic artist and co-founder of Ligatures, a group that celebrates typography and lettering, the slow and meditative pace of handwriting forms an important connection between the mental and physical, a necessary part of mindfulness. Handwriting is a mark of authenticity: "It's possible that it is this generation's response to computers," he says.

WEB EXTRA | Below are  some images by graphic designer and hand-letterer Christopher Rouleau, a fierce defender of the cursive arts.

Christopher Rouleau a Toronto-based graphic artist known for his hand-lettering and co-founder of Ligatures, a group that celebrates typography and lettering, is fierce defender of the cursive arts. (All images courtesy Christopher Rouleau)

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