Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Handwriting of Typographers

I came across an article recently that takes a look at the handwriting of several prominent typographers, and compares it with their better-known fonts. Erik Spiekermann, Marian Bantjes, and Göran Söderström are among the typographers who contributed samples of their handwriting. It's an interesting look at how typographers themselves choose to communicate, and what relationship, if any, their own handwriting has to their typefaces.

It also raises questions in my mind as to the relevance of handwriting in today's digital world. I would guess that most people default to inputting text over handwriting it. Competence in cursive is no longer required in many schools, and I myself find that I am much more likely to jot down notes to myself on my phone, rather than in a notebook.

Looking at the handwriting samples, the most obvious correlation I can see between handwriting and a font is Mark Simonson's Felt Tip Roman, which is startlingly similar to his own handwriting.

Unsurprisingly, I find that all of the typographers have interesting handwriting, whether similar to their fonts or not. Marian Bantjes, in particular, has three distinct writing styles, all as beautiful as her crafted type.

A question: do you see any correlation between your own han
dwriting and the fonts you favor? I know that while my own handwriting is dreadfully messy, I tend to prefer very clean fonts, often of Swiss design.

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