Migration of letter forms
Cursive script began its career in the world of administration. Here it was used for account
books, charters and other administrative texts.
The clerks who produced these documents used
a much thinner pen than what was used for formal book script. The flexible tip allowed for a faster
pace and it gave the script a kind of "casual" feel.
While book script required the pen to be lifted
between each stroke that formed the letter, with cursive script the pen remained on the surface of the page, with each letter connected by a ligature (or loop). Around 1300 this administrative script was exported to the world of book production. Students and scholars were early adopters, as were individuals involved in administrative duties, such as clerks, notaries and merchants. Civic clerks, for example, are known to have produced literary manuscripts after-hours, in part for an urban clientele who paid for their services. These professional users encouraged the migration of the script beyond its initial administrative setting.