Font to use as model for my penmanship?

Help! I hate the childish, inconsistent, heavy-handed scrawl that passes for my handwriting. However, I'm not much happier with the readily available learn-at-home alternatives: italic or modern cursive. They are legible, but that's about it. They reek practicality, without having elegance or sophistication or individuality.

I am looking for a font to use as a model for my handwriting. My ideal would be something modern, distinctive, legible, fairly easy to write quickly and arresting or "cool" (whatever that means when applied to handwriting). A lot to ask, I know.

I would so appreciate any suggestions. Thank you in advance for your help.


david h's picture

try Bickham Script!

hrant's picture

If you emulate a font with your handwriting, it will look like faux type. Which can look cool, but would also be decidedly mannered, even affected. Most people will think it's phony. So I don't think you should fake your handwriting. The most you should want to change it might be to make it more legible. And there's one very easy way to do that: slow down.


John Hudson's picture

I presume by ‘font’ you mean some kind of script or handwriting font, i.e. something based on a handwriting model that you could, in turn, adapt as a model for your own writing. Caflisch Script Pro might be a good candidate: it is a model that is easy both to write and to read, you can be quite free in how many joins you make or do not make between letters, and it does not depend on the use of a particular writing implement.

aric's picture

You might benefit from a visit to Gunnlaugur SE Briem is a type designer with a particular interest in penmanship (and how to improve it).

rixag's picture

I recommend the Palmer Method for handwriting! No font can match it.

rixag's picture

Sorry, you said you were looking for something cool or modern! I like MVB Emmascript.

FlxB's picture

rixag, the Palmer Method will be a great inspiration for me and I will try to improve my handwriting with it. Thanks for sharing.


NickOnSunset's picture

Thanks everyone. Lots to look into. More thoughts welcome of course.

Don McCahill's picture

Comic Sans!!!


Seriously, why not search the Calligraphy websites, and see what offerings there are. Those are more of a written style anyway.

phrostbyte64's picture

I always liked the style used by draftsmen before autocad. It isn't “cool,”I guess, but it is highly functional.


...from the Fontry

Justin_Ch's picture

I use Rosemary Sassoon's book to retrain my handwriting:

Every few years I alter it slightly.

nina's picture

"Every few years I alter it slightly."


Jongseong's picture

I can't speak for Justin, but maybe years down the line, you may find some of your own handwritten notes that you cannot date otherwise. But you go, 'Aha, that was from my angled-transition-on-the-curved-descenders phase!' and are able to figure out when it was from. :)

riccard0's picture

“Every few years I alter it slightly.”


Well, I suppose it's for the same reason we, as designers, tend to change preferred typefaces to use with the passing of time.
That if our name isn't Massimo Vignelli. ;-)

dinazina's picture

It seems you want a distinctive, but very legible handwriting, yet not affected-looking.

This may or may not help you:

Many people have noticed my handwriting is distinctive. I'm asked to address special envelopes and such.

My handwriting started to become distinctive after I took art school classes in Lettering 101. We first learned a basic upright style using a broad-nibbed pen.

I stopped writing in the slanted, cursive style I was taught in 3rd grade (Palmer?). To me, that seems to result in sloppiness, with the letters all too often running together and resembling each other (m-n-w-i-e).

I started writing habitually in an upright, unconnected style, with each letter formed separately, with a 2-story "a," and large capitals. When written hurriedly, the letterforms are more dramatic.

It resembles Genial

or Coral

Justin_Ch's picture

I keep altering mine, albeit only slightly each time, just because I want it to look better. For years I avoided using my actual handwriting because I felt it hadn't developed since school. I do a quite a lot of different lettering styles but these are all fairly slow and calculated, but I thought I could in some way work backwards from those to create a faster, instinctive handwriting, and around that time I happened to find the Rosemary Sassoon book.

I retrain my handwriting partly when things start to go wrong with it, such as r & v looking too similar, and bad spacing on cl so it looks like d, and while I'm doing that I might change the way I write some other letters. I also write differently depending on the pen I'm using. I do the traditional italic slant with fine pointed nibs but do an upright version with wider nibs, or even slant to the left with something very wide like a Pilot Parallel pen.

hrant's picture

> I retrain my handwriting partly when things start to go wrong with it

I'm curious: do you restrain, or do you patch?


lucascobb's picture

You could go old school with Zapfino

Jared Benson's picture

Because Christian Robertson is too humble, I'll recommend it: Dear Sarah. Christian has great handwriting.

I'd also recommend Caflisch Script. I'll never forget when I saw an actual letter from Mr. Caflisch while working at HTF. I recognized the font immediately, then realized it was hand lettered.

And there's the Letterror guys, Erik and Just: FF Hands.

Justin_Ch's picture

Hrant, do you mean do I work on the entire alphabet or just the individual letters I want to alter? I'll take the opportunity to try and tidy my whole aplphabet but obviously concentrating on the problem letters.

hrant's picture

Your handwriting is a reflection of you; it sounds trite, but: it's unique, now and forever. Mimicking somebody else's is like those guys on Hollywood boulevard that dress like Marilyn Monroe. Or Yoda.

I would simply try to "render" what's inside you better. Sure, we're all affected by everything, including most notably seeing other people's handwriting, but consciously trying to be like Max or something personally makes me queasy.


Panda's picture

You could go old school with Zapfino
Good advice...

Or check, Ale Paul is my hero.

///Gerardo Ruiz Babsia///

david h's picture

> Your handwriting is a reflection of you

True, however, there's nothing wrong with mimicking or copying; if your aim is to learn how they do it. Later on, when you're competent -- apply what you learned to your own handwriting, design etc etc

hrant's picture

> I retrain my handwriting partly when things start to go wrong with it
>> I’m curious: do you restrain, or do you patch?

I'm sorry, I misread your "retrain" and "restrain".
My question made no sense.
As you were.


John Hudson's picture

Hrant: Your handwriting is a reflection of you; it sounds trite...

Yes, it does.

I fully acknowledge that there are people whose handwriting is in some real and obvious sense a reflection of them -- and if it isn't obvious, it isn't much of a reflection! But I reject the notion that this is true of all people and all handwriting. It depends very much on what one's individual relationship is to one's writing, and how one approaches it.

hrant's picture

It's not only a reflection of one's self, and I'm not necessarily supporting something like graphology here, but how could it not be something highly individualistic? When something is done at speed (unlike type design*) our consciousness has far less opportunity to enforce social conformity, and our deeper selves appear, as marks on paper!

* Except for Tomi: :-)


John Hudson's picture

...our deeper selves appear...

What appears when I write quickly is the result of my poor pen grip and my subsequent tendency to write with my fingers instead of my arm. This has nowt to do with my ‘deeper self’ and everything to do with poor schooling. By schooling I do not mean, by the way, teaching of a particular style of writing, but instruction and practice in effective manipulation of the tool.

Solt's picture

retraining your handwriting is like getting a new haircut.

when i choose to base my handwriting on another model (e.g. humanist cursive instead of roundhand) or when i use another writing tool, my handwriting will look different without being less personal.

dinazina's picture

Couldn't handwriting be compared to your speaking voice? That's a "reflection of you" without question, yet it if you learned bad habits growing up, your speaking voice doesn't do you justice.

For instance, if you talk so fast, so sloppily, and with such a thick regional accent, that many people have trouble understanding; you don't make a good impression at a job interview; not suited to jobs dealing with the public, etc.

This could be dramatically improved by slowing down, paying attention, and practicing. You might use a good speaker as a role model, but it's still your own voice; you don't have to be an impersonator.

NickOnSunset's picture

I haven't checked this thread in a few days and I'm amazed and gratified to see so many helpful responses. As to the comparison of voice and writing, I can speak to that a bit as I am an actor and have done a good bit of work on my vocal presentation. A practised voice is not necessarily a mannered or self-conscious voice. In many ways, it brings you closer to your true self, not farther away. Parts of yourself emerge that would otherwise go unexpressed or remain concealed.

hrant's picture

Practice, totally.
But when you try to sound like a famous actor, what do people think?


Tomi from Suomi's picture

And what then if you DO sound like a famous actor?

Sorry, that was a pun to Hrant.

I've found that practice does help, but I've also noticed from my own hadwriting, that after primary and secondary school instruction, when I found my own handwriting, it had surpricingly little to do with what I've been taught: I started writing individual glyphs instead of connecing ones, and it was upright instead of slanted, as I was taught it should.

NickOnSunset's picture

@hrant: I don't sound like "a famous actor." I'm not doing impressions. A good voice and good writing both take lots of practice.

hrant's picture

Totally. It's imitation that I'm discouraging.


dinazina's picture

You experience is exactly what I wrote above: changing to upright unconnecting glyphs allowed me find my own style. I always disliked slanting my writing; was taught you need to tilt the paper sideways to accomplish this. WTF? And it's harder to read, anyway.

By the way, when I saw your new gazillion-glyph release Suomi Script on MyFonts, my jaw dropped. Oh, that is luscious. I can't afford it at the moment, but maybe someday.

John Lyttle's picture

@dinazina Thanks for drawing my attention to Suomi Script. That's really beautiful. $80 seems fair, but I too will put it on a wish list for the moment.

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