Before we all give up handwriting for good in lieu of touchscreens, the Universal Typeface Project is attempting to figure out what exactly the world’s average handwriting looks like. The project aims to develop a new font determined by thousands of individuals writing out there ABC’s, traces that can be seen on the project’s website. The exact averages form an elegant kind of Comic Sans—which was supposed to approximate informal handwriting but failed utterly. These are the platonic ideals of English-language letters.
Mousing over each version of a letter brings up the name and location of the person who wrote it. Rather than standardizing our language, the Universal Typeface actually restores a sense of individuality to typefaces online—it’s poetically organic rather than strictly designed to always look the same. It’s possible to sort the handwriting by country or gender, seeing how it varies for different writers. The letters are even ever-changing as more people contribute their own handwriting.
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