February 14, Valentine’s Day, was first associated with romantic love in Geoffrey Chaucer’s time, when, in 1382, he wrote (translated): For this was on St Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate. So the custom of giving flowers, chocolates and greeting cards—known as valentines—evolved in England, and goes back centuries, although in modern times handwritten valentines are less common than mass-produced greeting cards. In the UK an estimated 25 million cards are sent each year, and in the US the figure is a staggering 190 million. When you take into account the valentines that are made in school activities, that number increases to 1 billion. And that’s not counting e-valentines. In the area of book arts there are bookbinding structures that lend themselves extremely well to expressing matters of the heart—something as simple as folding two leaves of a book into the spine creates a heart shape. In typography, Zapf Dingbats contains three widely recognisable heart shapes, although I can’t recall every having the need to use the sideways one.

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