But how's your handwriting?

dpiechnik's picture

Maybe someone can enlighten me on a thought that popped into my head the other day. Do type designers write like they design? Is your handwriting better than most people or is it just as sloppy as the next guys?

hrant's picture

> fool the Turing Testees.

I actually think that the need to have variant glyphs (at least beyond 3 or 4 = the range of the fovea) is over-rated; I don't think our short-term memory of specific letter shapes survives across fixations. On the other hand, to repeat, a bigger factor is the overall texture of a setting: it would be very hard to give it a convincing divergence.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

It's not the variant glyphs so much, as the joining structures.
I'm amazed that it's even possible to read a cursive monoline script, to figure out which strokes are part of the character, and which are joins.

Goran Soderstrom's picture

I think our handwriting skills depends of how much we actually use it. When I was a kid, in the hand-writing classes in school, my teachers didn't know what to give me for homework since I easily completed the basic hand-writing-methods. It came very natural to me during those early years in life, and I really loved it.

But today... haha forget about it! I never use it – so when I once a year try to write something, it looks really terrible.

Same with art/drawing classes, I got a really good grade in it, but today I can only produce illustrations with the help of Adobe Illustrator.

I guess I am "vectorified" for life.

claes's picture

Now how about some signatures? (;

dezcom's picture

"Now how about some signatures?"

Quarto or Octavo? :-)

ChrisL

alexhb's picture

ahh. I have a good comment for this post.

I actually write with lignatures. I write my fi with the base of the f first then I write the crossbard and go down for the i. Same for fj, and for ff, I try to connect them.

hankzane's picture

It’s so amazing that nobody actually writes anymore.

Thank you for generalizing.

hrant's picture

> Handwriting and Helvetica, your favorites, all in one. :-)

Ha. ha. ha. Very funny.

Actually, I like handwriting. I even perform it sometimes. Sometimes I even write more than one word. But usually, it looks like this -spontaneous, although admittedly atypically crisp- sample:

> I actually write with lignatures.

While I occasionally write with individual letters. :-)

hhp

Eric_West's picture

I usually can't read my own.

Richard Hards's picture

My handwriting is absolutely appalling, all caps and completely illegible.

But I couldn't resist posting this…

vinceconnare's picture

would be better in Courier

dezcom's picture

Vincent,
Your writing looks too much like mine! Scary :-)

ChrisL

hrant's picture

> Thank you for generalizing.

Let me share an insight concerning a common word possessing uncommon rhetorical magic: "really". Formally it's supposed to reinforce things, but in practice it can actually throw a wrench in the absolutism, and nobody can complain. Add it to a statement that needs diluting but you don't want to dilute, and it will save the day. And if it's too late, just add something like "Not really." immediately after the offending statement, stand back, and admire the rhetorical alchemy.

So for example: "Nobody really writes any more."
Or: "Nobody writes any more. Not really."

--

BTW, here's a sample of some of the best
handwriting that I've seen addressed to me:

He even dabbled in Armenian:

The cruncher: the guy is Japanese.

hhp

Kristina Drake's picture

Here's my two cents:
My father for all I knew when I was a kid always printed in all caps. He is an engineer and had spent so much time doing technical drawings by hand, that well, it came naturally and was necessary.

Skip to another subject entirely: Christmas. We would get these elaborately wrapped presents in crazy-coloured tissue paper with scrawls all over them, signed from Santa. It took several years -- long after I stopped believing in Santa -- for me to realize it was my father's actual cursive handwriting -- I had assumed one of my parents was faking a flourishy handwriting. But there was a real reason he never ever wrote in cursive.... (He occasionally performs the same task for my kids because my handwriting, no matter how badly I scrawl, is still recognizable as mine.)

dezcom's picture

You mean your Santa wrote in English? :-)

ChrisL

Kristina Drake's picture

Hehe. Yes, he did. My kids' Santa occasionally dabbles in French, though. You *can* teach an old dog new tricks!

It'd be interesting to revisit my dad's printing, especially what he actually wrote on the plans/drawings. I remember finding it extraordinarily even and consistent.

K.

dezcom's picture

You should make a font from it!

ChrisL

George Horton's picture

My handwriting's unjustifiable, but my calligraphy is good, and I imagine that's the case for quite a few type designers. Good type isn't chirographic, but once you know your arm and your wrist and your fingers and your pen ($10 from a discount store I travel 200 miles to visit) neither is good calligraphy.

hrant's picture

?
I can't see how calligraphy can be non-chirographic.
Unless you use your foot or your mouth or something.

hhp

George Horton's picture

It's not chirographic in the sense that it doesn't lead to the geometric relationship between exterior and interior outlines which one sees in reductively chirographic type. For one thing, of course, pen nibs are 3D objects rather than 2D moving fronts. More important is that the nib can - and in hardcore calligraphy, as opposed to Get Well Soon calligraphy, will - be rotated slightly, pressure will vary greatly, and angle from page as baseline to pen will vary to an extent depending on the degree of rasping roughness that one wants to get out of it. That the imperatives of the muscles and the visual system working together will also make straights and curves far from straight or simply bezier-ish also counteracts the perceiving eye's readiness to chunk away a form as merely the expression of a geometry.
That black occupies less area than white in most calligraphy does not in itself make the calligraphy less notanic. (Is that the accepted adjective?)

hrant's picture

And here's another better-than-usual but nonetheless spontaneous one:

hhp

Brian_'s picture

Ha, yes, I have redone post-it notes because of how it justified. I really am ocd. Usually I try to think what the note will look like. By the time I finish the person is at my desk and I just tell them what I was writing. ;)

timd's picture

I'm not the only one :), although I now refuse to use post-its.
Tim

DesignSlave's picture

OK I got you all beat here.
I destroyed my handwriting in HS when I had to 'write pages' as punishment.
So I adopted a scribble style that is barely legible, but just readable enough to pass as writing.

+6 months I can't figure my own handwriting. Worse, I don't really care about spelling anymore as long as I get the idea on the paper. Sometime as long as I think i have most of the word down, I'll just wobble the rest off. Kind of a shorthand.

In addition I change my mind all the time about how I draw out a letter , look at the word 'each' (top right) I used 2 different lowercase 'a's for the same word. Sometimes I switch to ALL CAPS IN THE MIDDE OF A SENTENCE FOR NO REASON. My wife is watching me closely for other signs of schizophrenia.

I guess I look at type in 2 forms 1. Communication 2.Design. I've perfectly designed many misspelled words in my time. Cients LOVE it.

Well I'll let you be the judge:

P.S. The only reason this is spelled right is because I used spell check. In the original version I got punnishment wrong as well as ledgible. Also schitophrenia in the edit.

LOL I forgot my handwriting is PERFECT for writing down a 'hot work' contacts email addy at a party. I wonder why they think I never email them??

hankzane's picture

I don't agree with Hrant that writing samples here have to be spontanious. They are only as interesting as spontanious typeface designs.

I'd like to see the best people can do (or least something they cared to spend time on).

Stephen Lording's picture

Does anyone else do a semi-cursive uppercase?

I love handwriting, and I think it's a shame the nature of our modern lives means we can't use it more than we do. I always loved reading about the work of handwriting analysts and discovering what they could tell about a person from their handwriting.

Although I've never had great handwriting, as a fiercely proud left-hander I've always taken great pride in each and every smudge across my page. Primary school teachers tried to get me to hold the pen "properly" but I never listened. Although now my hand curls around from above so much that I'm almost a pseudo-right-hander. :-)

hrant's picture

OK, here's the most "conscious" handwriting I've
ever done, although on rough paper, at the end
of the calligraphy class I took.


-

My consolation is that I used no guides of any kind.

hhp

pattyfab's picture

Stephen - I definitely do the same with my upper case as you'll see in my first sample.

Geoff Riding's picture

> Does anyone else do a semi-cursive uppercase?

Your sample looks almost-exactly like my uppercase handwriting. I usually write in two handwriting styles, a semi-unicase-semi-cursive-uppercase and cursive-script. I'll try and post them here when I get the chance.

Stephen Lording's picture

Patricia - Oh yes, I missed that one. Do you have a preference for uppercase, or do you find you just use it when you need to? I wonder why we prefer one to the other? When I was a teenager I spent far, far too many hours searching for the style of signature that would capture the very essence of my being (important task, no?), and for a while I had an uppercase version that I liked. Can't remember why it fell into disfavour. Redoing it now, I kind of like it more than what I eventually settled on. :-)

Geoff - Ha. I look forward to seeing a sample!

oliya's picture

Hey David, I hope you can read my handwriting :)

oliya | meapte.com

oliya's picture

oliya | meapte.com

Conor's picture

Let me get my glasses… ;)

oliya's picture

you are so sweet :)
I am new here...

oliya | meapte.com

dezcom's picture

Oliya,

Your writing is gorgeous! It looks like it has a central European basis, perhaps Czech or Slovak? You have to make a font from it!

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Oliya, that's pretty cool (your site too).
Are you Slavic? Because there's a smallcapness to it.

hhp

Conor's picture

I like the Gaelic-style swung dash crossbar on the “t”… and no ascender. Very Irish. :)

timd's picture

I would like to know the origins of that s
Tim

oliya's picture

Tim, sorry, have no idea...just my handwriting...

hrant's picture

What is/was your parents' handwriting like?

hhp

oliya's picture

i just looked at some Gaelic fonts, they are cool :)

http://www.linguistsoftware.com/lgae.htm#Macintosh

oliya's picture

not very attractive, normal... they know it too :)

DesignSlave's picture

Lol I should have chosen a fem screen name.

hankzane's picture

That's one weird handwriting style!

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