Art and Design

Roman lettering

The Romans developed clear forms of lettering. They could be found right across their empire, including in Wales. They still influence typography today.

This inscription was carved in marble at Caerleon in 100AD. Roman lettering used only capitals. It is very upright, with small serifs or curls at the ends of each letter. The proportions were very carefully designed.

Marble at Caerleon

The American typographic designer David Lance Goines has created a Roman alphabet to show the geometry of the letter forms. You can see the proportions of each letter based on circles and squares. For example, the curve on the bottom of a J is made from a circle at the bottom corner of a square.

Roman alphabet by David Lance Goines