||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Block letters (known as printscript, manuscript, print writing or ball and stick in academics) are a sans-serif (or "gothic") style of writing Latin script in which the letters are individual glyphs, with no joining. In English-speaking countries, children are often first taught to write in block letters, and later may advance to cursive (joined) writing. Other countries (Poland, Italy, Austria, Germany, France etc.) focus on cursive writing from the first grade.
On official forms, one is often asked to "please print". This is because cursive handwriting is harder to read, and the glyphs are joined so they do not fit neatly into separate boxes.
Block letters may also be used as a synonym of block capitals, which means writing in all capital letters or in large and small capital letters, imitating the style of typeset capital letters. This is not a necessary implication, however: in at least one court case involving patents, trademarks and registration of designs, the term "block letters" was found to include both upper and lower case.
In typography, the term "block letters" is applied to crude fonts formed by cutting a material such as wood or metal without the sophistication usually associated with professional type design.
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