Sunday, February 15, 2009

Write like me

I’ve hate handwriting. I’ve been using keyboards since I learned to write and my fingers just don’t want to use a pen. But there are too many occasions when people expect the “personal” touch of a handwritten document, so I couldn’t get out of it completely.  Until now.  Using the free font-generation software at, I have a whole collection of handwriting fonts that let me give a personalized touch to computer-generated greeting cards and other documents I used to have to break out the pen for.  I even made a “handwritten” CD label for a Valentines present.

The process couldn’t be simpler.  The site is completely free; you don’t even need to register.  Just print a one-sheet template (don’t bother printing the second page, unless you care about special foreign characters).  Scan it and upload to the site.  Double-check that it looks right, and download to your hard drive.  Presto – you have a font you can now use in any of your applications.  I made one for each member of the family.

Here’s mine:

Youfont sample

and here’s the same text “written” by my eleven-year-old:

Youfont sample

It can take a few tries to get it perfect.  You can see a few problems with vertical character placement on the above samples, for example.  But it’s waaay better than writer’s cramp.


Anandi said...

that is very cool. how much do you think it looks like your own printed handwriting? (ignoring the placement issues)

Richard Sprague said...

It looks like me when I'm writing carefully. I rarely handwrite, so it's hard to tell, but I guess that yes it looks like mine, at least when I write carefully.

The biggest thing that's missing is support for ligatures (e.g. compressing when you have a 'th' or two lower-case L's side-by-side). If they had that, it'd look much better.

Mike said...

Richard, What is accomplished by disguising print with handwriting? I personally like Arial 12pt’s crispness but Times is recognized as the most efficient font ie data-ink maximization. Buy yourself some nice stationary, a $20 pen and treat yourself to the pace of writing while giving someone a thoughtful momento of years past ( Which brings me to the point of form over substance. I see too many presentations that are heavy on animations at the expense of content. Anyone who has developed an animated Power Point recognizes the staff time required to add at best, value- neutral animations or graphics. I think Edward R. Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information should be a prerequisite before learning Power Point. His nine characteristics for evaluating graphical displays (of which fancy fonts violate his 3rd characteristic, ie distorting what the data have to say). Unfortunately, I can tell you children are learning Power Point at such an early age that Tufte’s material is far too dry for them, at least one child in particular, to appreciate. Evaluate your next Power Point against a standard produced in 1869 depicting Napoleon’s march to Moscow, p.41.