Bic Is Trying To Make A Font Based On All Of The World's Handwriting

Bic Is Trying To Make a Font Based on All the World's Handwriting

In yet another crushing blow to Comic Sans, pen-maker Bic is currently soliciting handwriting samples from anyone on Earth who wants to participate in its Universal Typeface Experiment. The goal is to create a universal font that will presumably supplant Comic Sans as the go-to typeface for amateur designers making birthday cards, lunch room signage or business cards for toddlers.

If you want to submit your own chicken scratch, you can head over to the website and join the 8000+ people who've already contributed to the project.

Bic Is Trying To Make a Font Based on All the World's Handwriting

And since trying to write legibly using a mouse or a trackpad is all but impossible, if you're lacking a Wacom tablet you can actually connect the site to your mobile device allowing you to write out the characters with a stylus or simply your finger on its touchscreen. [Universal Typeface Experiment via PR Daily via Alyshia Kisor Madlem (Twitter)]


    Given that I produce handwriting fonts for a living I find this story to be very interesting, however after giving it a go myself at the website I found that what BIC is really making is a font that represents how people draw uppercase characters, on a touchscreen (their phone), one at a time, with their finger. This is of course is quite an unnatural scenario if you want to find out what "average" handwriting actually looks like when someone is handwriting flowing sentences, with a pen on paper.

    The way they guide you to draw each letter could also result in "leading the witness", ie when they prompt you to draw a capital "J" it has no horizontal stroke at the top, if you normally write a horizontal stroke then you may be more inclined to leave it off at this point in the test. A better way may of been to have each character spoken out loud without a visual prompt.

    If they gain enough sample data they may actually be able to use it to create better touchscreen handwriting recognition for certain groups of people (by country, sex, age etc) Ie: the recognition software would be able to be tailored to suit your particular demographic. I kind of wonder if this might actually be what they are really doing, the data might be valuable enough to sell to third parties (Samsung, Apple etc). Either way its still interesting.

    Lastly, a shameless plug, if you want to check out what I do and would like to create your own personal font then add a .com to my user name... my website kind of sucks but my service doesn't. :)

    Last edited 12/06/14 1:03 pm

      Great comment :)

    It would be ironic if the result of this process was, in fact, Comic Sans!

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