#23 – Typing How We Want To

Last week, we dissected the letter whilst most of us will have been completing the last of our exams and assignments if we had not done so already.  Semester two draws to a close, as does the branch of this linguistic blog series.  But I did want to leave on a fun note with something that you can all try yourselves, at home.

We have all seen so many fonts, in fact, there are simply too many!  So why not add to this?  Eh?  And perhaps add your own handwriting as a font?  What‽  I hear you shout, and yes, I have used the interrobang grapheme from last week.  Well, it’s perfectly possible, and it’s definitely a bit of fun to see your own cursive style typed up upon the digital screen – and who knows?  You could even type a letter in your own handwriting and really confuse the recipient(s).

So, here’s how to do it…  With a website called: https://www.calligraphr.com/en/accounts/register/

Now you can only work on one font at a time, but it is free to do so, and once you have completed it, you can then work on another – it also does selections of fonts from various other language orthographies, so this app is also fitting for polylingual writers.  After filling in the necessary details and agreeing to terms and conditions *yawn* you will then be able to log in fully and launch the app.  The app itself will give you a possible selection from every major, and even a wealth of minor, notation systems (including the IPA) and all you do is select and/or remove the inventories of your choosing.  The selection only gives you up to 75 glyphs and will then load a sheet that you can open that looks like the one below…

Calligraphr website screenshot

The boxes can be adjusted for ease of transcribing the inventory of letters you have chosen and then after this is complete, you must take a photo or scan of the completed paper(s) and upload it through the app.  Then, you will be dazzled by seeing your font previewed with both a true-type and open-type file available for download (I don’t know the difference but believe true-type to work almost always on windows where open-type may not).  The following box appears with the title of the font – which you also get to choose, and should look like this (though maybe not with my handwriting)…

writing draft

Just open the true-type (or open-type depending on your system) and you shall be further amazed to see your handwriting as font in the typical presentation for digital typeface: ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.  1234567890’; in my style of handwriting, the digital typeface looked like this…

writing draft

Once you have completed this string of really easy tasks (they must be as I am less than technologically savvy for someone of my age and managed to cope more than satisfactorily without swearing at the thing – yes, I know I sound like I’m eighty-odd), you can then experiment with your font on all of the programs that allow users a choice of font.  It’s worth noting that it is a local file so will not work across devices unless you know where exactly to save it on your wireless drive to do so.

As someone who wants to go further into graphematics and typography alongside other creative and linguistic pursuits, this idea really interests me as you will be able to document the formal orthographies and styles used by writers of different denominations.  It really is such an under-explored and fascinating facet of linguistics and I wish to explore it further.

Illustrators would be able to design their own fonts; romantics could play around for cute ideas; people could preserve some of the style and identity of their loved ones.  I know it is not the most exciting thing in the world, but we have just been through a series of lockdowns and on the whole, anything silly and distracting like this was welcome to me during the throes of the pandemic(s).  I hope that everyone is well even though I know you may not be after such an unprecedented time – I know I have had my fair share of perils during it too.  I do wish that everyone begins to get safely and thoughtfully to do more of what we would have done before the whole sorry saga considering the exit plan is very shortly about to end.  I wish you all the best for summer and life in general and would like to say thank you for those who have read my series of blogs 😊.

Though I have a feeling this won’t be my last contribution…

-DP, Linguistics student

Related Posts: