The IAMPETH Certificate program (formerly the IAMPETH Master Penman program) is designed to provide IAMPETH members in good standing a vehicle to have their work evaluatedand to improve their penmanship. The blind judging process allows members to receive feedback about their lettering identifying points of excellence as well as areas for improvement.
The IAMPETH Certificate program is a multi-level program designed to give members in good standing the opportunity to submit their work for review, critique, and consideration for recognition.
The IAMPETH Certificate program consists of three levels of recognition: the Certificate of Proficiency, the Certificate of Excellence, and the IAMPETH Master Penman designation.
The first level, the Certificate of Proficiency, is the initial level of recognition. This level demonstrates that the applicant is at the intermediate level, with work showing excellent lettering, consistent shading, and good spacing. In order to submit samples for critique for the Certificate of Proficiency, the member must have been an active IAMPETH member for at least three (3) consecutive years. Samples submitted for the Certificate of Proficiency will consist of an alphabet with numbers, three pre-determined pangrams, and a pre-determined listing of either names, states, cities, countries or animals.
Once a member has received the Certificate of Proficiency, then and only then may that member apply for the second level, the Certificate of Excellence. The sample submitted for the Certificate of Excellence will be a pre-determined certificate similar to those submitted at the Zanerian College.
Judging of work submitted for the Certificate of Proficiency will be blind judging, with numbers assigned to the work submitted so that the judges do not know whose work they are critiquing. All samples submitted must be original penned documents in final form with no crossed-out letters or words, no cut-and-paste letters or words, and no use of correction tape or fluid. Copied or scanned originals will not be accepted in the program.
Certificates of Excellence that are approved will be scanned with the scan being placed in IAMPETH’s Archives for members to view and study.
The IAMPETH Master Penman level will be added once candidates have had the opportunity to work through the first two levels of the program. That program is still in the planning stages. Information about it will be released as the planning progresses.
Submission of Samples
In order for an IAMPETH member to submit samples for the Certificate of Proficiency, he or she must have been a member for a minimum of three (3) consecutive years. The samples submitted must be accompanied by the following:
1. The completed Certificate of Proficiency Application form.
2. An entry fee of $75.00 (USA members) or $100.00 (for international members) to cover shipping the documents to the judges, then back to the Administrator, and finally back to the applicant.
Members may submit samples only from September 1 through October 31 to the Program Administrator. The Administrator will then submit the blind samples to the judges, who will critique, consult, and return the samples to the Administrator to be returned to candidates.
No candidate may submit more than one (1) set of samples in one area per year for the Certificate of Proficiency. The samples must be on white or cream colored good quality paper measuring approximately 11” x 14” or equivalent, and penned in black ink. Each of the three samples is to be written on a separate sheet of paper. The samples are to be placed in a flat envelope or mailing tube, not creased or folded, and mailed to the Administrator.
No member may submit samples for the Certificate of Excellence without first having earned the Certificate of Proficiency in that particular hand or discipline.
Once a candidate has received the Certificate of Proficiency in one hand, he or she may (if he or she chooses) submit samples for the Certificate of Excellence in that same hand and at the same time submit samples for the Certificate of Proficiency in one additional hand.
Critiques will show the candidate the good points of their lettering, where improvements are needed, how it should look, and how candidates need to improve. All samples will be critiqued by two judges.
Those candidates who score at least 18 of the possible 20 points in each of the five areas of judging and at least 90% overall will receive their Certificate of Proficiency with their name penned on the certificate by one of IAMPETH’s judges. They will also be recognized in the Penman’s Journal.
Candidates for the Certificate of Excellence will also receive judges’ scores and comments when their samples are returned. Those who score at least 90% will also be recognized in the Penman’s Journal. Approved certificates will be scanned, with the scan being placed in IAMPETH’s Archives for members to view and study.
The hands/scripts to be submitted for judging currently are: Spencerian (pure Spencerian, not Ornamental Penmanship), Engrosser’s Script, Business Writing, Foundational Hand, Borders, and Old English. Other hands, as well as Engrossing, will be added in successive years.
Members interested in submitting samples in Spencerian are encouraged to study the Theory of Spencerian Penmanship. That is the exemplar by which your work will be judged.
Members interested in submitting samples in Engrosser’s Script are encouraged to study the Zanerian Manual. That is the exemplar by which your work will be judged.
Members interested in submitting samples in Business Writing are encouraged to study Mills Modern Business Penmanship (available in the Rare Books section on the IAMPETH website.) That is the exemplar by which your work will be judged.
Members interested in submitting samples in the Foundational Hand are encouraged to study Ann Camp’s Pen Lettering. That is the exemplar by which your work will be judged.
Members interested in submitting samples in the Borders are encouraged to study The Zanerian Manual (available as a download online), the Macclesfield Alphabet Book (available online), Masterpieces of Illuminated Letters and Borders (Dover), and Treasure of Illuminated Borders (Dover). That is by which your work will be judged.
Members interested in submitting samples in Old English are encouraged to study The 1928 Zanerian Manual (available as a download online), page 29; The 1958 Zanerian Manual, top of page 29 with instructions on page 28 and analysis of lettering bottom of page 29. That is by which your work will be judged.
Scoring/Critique of Submitted Samples
Samples submitted for Engrosser’s Script and Spencerian Script will be scored on the following criteria: letter form, slant of letters, weight of shades, uniformity, and page layout, and use of space.
Samples submitted for Business Writing will be scored on the following criteria: letter form, slant of letters, size, smoothness and spacing, and page layout and use of space.
Samples submitted for Foundational Hand will be scored on the following criteria: shape, serifs, arches, and slant; scale; weight; rhythm; and texture.
Each of the above five categories will be worth a maximum of 20 points. A total score of at least 90% is required as a passing grade. Additionally, a score of at least 18 of the 20 possible points must be earned in each of the five categories.
PLEASE NOTE: It is the responsibility of each interested candidate to seek and pay for their own instruction/training/classes/workshops. IAMPETH will not be offering classes directed specifically towards preparing a member to earn a Certificate of Proficiency, a Certificate of Excellence, or an IAMPETH Master Penman Certificate.
Rights and Liabilities
The IAMPETH Certificate Program Administrator and all judges will take every possible safeguard to ensure that candidate submissions are treated with the utmost care. However, neither they nor IAMPETH can be held responsible for Acts of God or for works lost or damaged during transit.
IAMPETH reserves the right to photograph or scan all candidates’ submissions for purpose of records-keeping, and the right for possible inclusion in the Penman’s Journal or the Archives of submissions approved through the Certificate Program.
IAMPETH reserves the right to disqualify any entry that does not comply with all rules of the program.