Your Handwriting Is Now Your Font

They say your handwriting is as unique to you as is your fingerprint. Maybe they are right – perhaps every person adds a little bit of his or her personality to their penmanship. Just maybe there are enough ways to vary pressure, speed, stroke, and a dozen other almost imperceptible factors that all 7 billion of us have a slightly different style.

The study of handwriting is called Graphology, and people have been at it for a quite a long time. Most experts agree that a person’s handwriting can reveal their gender, where it starts to get fuzzy is that others claim they can tell much more including age, race, weight, and even mood. Going further down the rabbit hole, some employers have tried to use handwriting analysis to determine if an applicant is a match for a position. That seems a bit of a stretch to us.

Now, if you want to digitize a tiny bit of what makes you, you – then all you have to do it to fill out this (PDF) form and upload it to the interwebs. Out the other end will pop a true type font that you can save for yourself or share with the world. Why would you want to do that? This hack caught our eye as a way of adding annotations to our work in a more informal, yet still personal manner. Or maybe we just wanted to upload it to the cloud in hopes it would live forever. Either way, if you want to see some really amazing style, head on over to the “Penmanship Porn” subreddit where you can find some amazing chicken scratch.

50 thoughts on “Your Handwriting Is Now Your Font

  1. Someone would at least need to write a script that randomly swaps such characters such as lowercase b’s and q’s with their respective mirrored counterparts to even begin to reproduce my dyslexic writing style.

    1. I feel your pain Physics_Dude as I also suffer from the pqbd issue. Having awesome reading and spelling skills makes the glitch even more infuriating. Every stroke of the pencil must be consciously controlled. If I ever let my “muscle memory” take over, the output is garbage. Apparently this is a common glitch in those with dysgraphia.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysgraphia

      1. Thank you for this comment. I was previously unaware of the term “dysgraphia”. Upon reading your comment; I realize I am affected by a number of these symptoms, also my youngest son is in school trying to learn to write…and failing due to constant frustration caused by “pq bd 9p E3” reversals and I am sure there are more.

        1. i too, have dysgraphia, and when i was in kindergarten, they thought i was being pressured to be right handed, so they forced me to write with my left hand for two years in the hopes it would get better.

  2. Graphology is bullshit. Maybe some other lead-in to the existence of this service would’ve been better. I suppose it’s a nice idea, bundling it all together, tho personalised fonts from your handwriting have been around a long time. I wouldn’t bother myself, my handwriting’s illegible even to me, there’s plenty of better fonts in the world.

    Other interesting thing… “psychological profiling” of the sort they do on murderers in films and TV. That’s bullshit too! And so are polygraph lie detectors, but we probably all knew that.

    1. It’s odd that you think that, since it seems to indicate you never noticed a relationship between aspect of people’s personality and their handwriting (obviously your nervousness and selection of letter type comes from your person and can be seen).
      Nor have you noticed how easy it is to see patterns in people’s behavior, which makes profiling possible, provided you have enough data to build upon of course, and that last part is the flaw in TV shows and movies, too little info and too much extrapolation.
      So sure it’s not absolute, and there are a lot of idiots pretending to know way too much, but if used with some sense it’s still usable.

      As for polygraphs, the issue there is that it works sometimes, but then other times it doesn’t, and that makes the whole thing rather unacceptable as evidence. And frankly I shudder at the thought of a foolproof way to determine people’s real thoughts, so I for one am happy for every second we keep away from such a thing, for the abuse would be horrendous.

      1. the issue with polygraphs is that they are measuring simple stress and little to no detailed information can be gleaned from simple stress, since the very situation of a polygraph is stressful they even work as a self contaminating test.

        statistically polygraphs are barely better than pure chance guessing.

        1. Well it’s obvious you don’t work in a polygraph section. Most results are 90-95% correct each and every time. So what you are saying is complete rubbish. Many studies and tests have been done on it and it’s very accurate actually. So statistically your comment is complete BS.

          1. @jeff
            I was just thinking, it’s funny, in old movies and TV shows they often used voice recognition to identify, but now that the NSA and such (including local version in each nation) are listening in on everybody’s phone you suddenly don’t see it mentioned anymore that you can ID people through voice recognition, neither in fiction nor in real open use.. How fortunate eh, that the targets (AKA the population) aren’t made aware of it.

      2. Yeah, a scrambled chicken scratch can indicate a stress, not much. No point for people being paid to analyze handwriting or for companies using this kind of service to decide whether to hire someone or not. So bullshit.

        1. Why would it be easy or easier to identify gender? That makes no sense. The personality/mental state attributes are not generally gender specific.

          All I can tell you is that my handwriting as well as the handwriting of people I know DO in fact reflect aspects of the person. And if there are people that have the ability to reverse engineer that might be another matter, but I simply can’t deny the mentioned reality.

          1. So tell me Greenaum, does your handwriting not reflect aspects of your personality? And how about the people you know?
            Perhaps if we widen the information sources we can tell if my experiences are an incredible coincidence and both I and the people I know are all special cases.

          2. I’ve absolutely no idea whether or not my handwriting reflects my personality. How would I know? What’s the methodology, and where did they get the data from? Where were the studies, how was it tested?

            What I’m saying is, I doubt there’s ever been any scientific testing of what’s supposed to correspond to what, handwriting-personality wise. Apparently there has been testing of “graphologists” and it turns out they’re just guessing.

            Confirmation bias is a huge thing. You already know your friends’ personalities! What you’d need to do, is analyse the handwriting of complete strangers. Then, assuming good faith and you’re not trying to lie, so no Barnum statements, you list distinct and specific personality factors that aren’t ambiguous.

            You know what confirmation bias is, right? Humans are fantastically able at fooling ourselves. It’s only recently, history-wise, that this has been found out. We feed ourselves gigantic packs of lies all the time. That’s why objective testing needs doing.

            It’s like with psychics, there’s two types. The suckers who sincerely believe they are psychic, who get poor results, and the lying bastards deliberately who use cold reading and Barnum statements, and are perceived as accurate by the mugs they take money from. Barnum statements are also known as Forer statements, after the psychologist who discovered them.

            We could do a test… some of the posters here could bundle up some scans of handwriting, and send it to you with the names removed, just numbered. Then you’d have to describe us. I’d do it. We’d have to use throwaway email addresses if the address corresponded to usernames here, as mine does (@gmail).

    2. Yup. Thanks for being the voice of reason in this thread. Profiling is nonsense.
      http://skepdic.com/profiling.html

      Since we’re on the subject, drug sniffing dogs also fail every double-blind test they are subjected to. It’s the Clever Hans effect in action. Most forensic “science” is pretty baseless as well, including bullet/gun matching, and blood spatter analysis. It all fails controlled trials.

        1. Richard Feynman asserted that the olfactory sensitivity of dogs isn’t significantly better than that of humans. His theory was that they’re better at following scent trails because their noses are closer to the ground. It’s damned inconvenient for people to sniff the ground.

          1. Richard Feynman also relates how he tested it by having his wife touch an object and him trying to sniff out which it was, and he was successful, which made him make the point that human sense of smell is actually much better than you would expect and you can do more than you would think.

            So using Feynman as example only extends the number of mammals and doesn’t discount it at all.

            And as said by BFB in the other comment, they use them for looking for mines and search and rescue and all that, and don’t tell me that’s all confirmation bias or some such. This is done by sensible people who first tested the effectiveness.

            Oh and they don’t just use dogs incidentally, they found some other animals like rats and ferrets are better in detecting certain things, and they found that out by testing not by randomly wishing it was so.

            I’m all for debunking nonsense and for putting limits on some things that are oversold in their effectiveness, but to deny reality completely is overshooting to the other side.

        2. @Whatnot
          The problem is specific to drug dogs. Search and rescue, landmine detection, cancer detection, seizure warnings, etc obviously and verifiably works. The reasons for this are unclear, but I suspect it’s because police tend to use drug dogs as a pretense to search somebody they’ve already decided they want to search, resulting in body language cues that the dog responds to. “Master wants me to signal!”

          Sidenote: Dr. Feynman was a brilliant man, but he was not a biologist and is straight-up wrong about dogs’ smelling abilities. He also didn’t seem to understand that different breeds have more or less sensitive noses. Pug != bloodhound.

  3. I did this about 10 years ago when I got my first (convertible) tablet PC, it came with a program exactly for this purpose. I forget the name, but it came with Windows XP Tablet Edition. It’s neat, but there needs to be more variation between repeating letters

    1. I had a similar program back in the late 90s that I picked up at a stationery shop for $10. It came with sheets of paper with boxes to write each individual character in that you would scan back into the program, and it could tweak characters individually to make your cursive handwriting line up properly as a font. It was time consuming to go through the whole process, but in the end the font was indistinguishable from my actual handwriting.

      My handwriting has of course evolved over the past 15 years or so, and this PDF based format seems simpler. I think I’m going to give it a go and compare the results to my old personal font.

    1. wouldn’t be too complicated to have a series of algorithms that randomize, ink smudge, and add your tweaks from transferring letter to letter. i mean, it’s complex, but doable.

  4. Not of much use for my handwriting. I use a wild mix of block and cursive (joined) writing.
    The look of my letters thus vary considerably depending on
    * adjacent letters and
    * position in the word (beginning, center, end)

    It may be possible though to construct my personal font with the ligature feature which modern font formats have support for [1].

    A more useful tool to construct my personal font thus would be some kind of WYSIWIG editor that lets me load a personal scanned text and mark/annotate all possible ligatures.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typographic_ligature#Computer_typesetting

  5. I just recently experimented with how to write each letter the fastest and legibly so my writing could keep up with my mouth while explaining something. Minimize strokes, pick ups, etc. Then I practiced the alphabet several times. It was weird how it changed my handwriting.

    But I can write fast as heck now! (and it still be legible)

  6. I’ve seen that picture before! I had thought it was on Fountain Pen Network’s “What Does Your Handwriting Look Like?” thread, but I’d forgotten about r/PenmanshipPorn.

    A few years ago I made my own handwriting font using FontForge, but it was pointless because it just made things on the computer as unreadable as my handwritten notes. Also, kerning is hard.

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