Wednesday, April 1, 2009

by hand

Designers, I'm sure you've scoured for the perfect handwritten font at SOME point or another. Some designs just call for something less structured and more alive. Not to mention the whole DIY look has been super trendy for a while now. I guess it's the charm of something created by hand and the flexibility of the digital world. It's nice.

These handwritten fonts are nothing new. If you can't find something that you like on dafont, or you don't want to risk seeing the font you use on another design, there are hundreds of different ways to do create your own. I've known this was a possibility, but it wasn't until today that I finally took a moment to give it a try.

I can't believe I hadn't done this before. It literally took 15 min. I created mine with the online font generator at

Let me sum up:

1. Go to and print out the character template
2. Fill out the template in a thin black sharpie (or thick if that's your bag)
3. Scan the template you just filled in at 300 dpi
4. Upload it
5. Get custom handwritten font to install on your computer!

Here's what my character template looked like all filled in:

In my haste, I did not pay as much attention to the hashmark guidelines as I should have, and as a result a couple characters (the lower case u and the . ) are either a little too high, or a little too low, but for the most part it worked out flawlessly.

Even if you're not a designer, this could be a cool thing to play with. I can see scrapbookers getting some good use out of this, and maybe cooks who want to preserve recipes in their mom's handwriting but are a bit too much of a search junky/technophile to rely totally on recipe cards. I realize this is cheating, and it's no where near as close as a scan of the card or the real thing, but it could be better than straight up Arial. Just an idea.

Any other ideas for how a custom handwritten font could be used?

(The above photo was taken through the viewfinder of my kodak duaflex II camera with my Digital Canon Rebel. I processed the colors in photoshop and used my fancy new handwritten font to label it. Talk about combining the digital with the DIY. Alex's grandfather worked at Peerless for nearly his entire life. This building has a special place in the hearts of his family. It feels nice to have a picture of it.)

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Anonymous said...

Thank you *SO* much for posting this. I've been trying to get permission to use a font for my business, and making my own would just be so much easier!!


Sam said...

Thanks for posting this Aims. I've been looking for a way to place my own "mark". Now more people will have trouble reading my handwriting!

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this. I could definitely use this for the photo albums I make.

Sara Therese said...

NIFTY! Thanks for sharing.

Vince Gorman said...

This is great! Everyone should do this. I imagine a law that doesn't allow using other peoples fonts, even the basic general ones (like arial). If you liked arial, you had to at least make your own version. Perhaps it would kill the,"oh no, not comic-sans again!!!" feeling.

Stephanie Wagner said...

Wow, this is awesome. I love the personal feel it gives your picture!

Amy Kingman said...

I'm glad you guys found it as fun/interesting as I did!

Thanks for the comments! :)