Designing a Handwritten Font: A Story With a Moral
There are numerous ways to design your own handwriting font (or have someone else create it for you) and even more reasons you might want or need it. It might be boredom, or it might be actual necessity – whatever the case, I will tell you story and in the same time give you few tips on how you can do it yourself.
The last time I found myself in a situation which demanded a handwriting font right before my Mathematical Statistics exam. The professor, like most competent professors, had given us the whole course beforehand so we could read ahead and be able to ask questions and learn more effectively in any given lecture. That’s what I was doing (Statistics is not easy and requires a lot of reading and memorizing), but my colleagues chose to ignore his subject altogether.
Imagine putting all that effort into typing in and sending your whole lecture course to all your students and then witnessing blank looks and complete lack of interest every time you enter the room and start talking. Wouldn’t you be pissed? He was, so he decided to punish us – he made us copy the whole lecture course by hand before he let us take the exam. Most of my fellow students were pissed but knew there was nothing they could do about it, so they started copying. It would take them, on average, about three days to complete the assignment. Three days of writing by hand?
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There was no way I was doing that, especially since I was one of the five people who had actually read the lectures in the first place. I decided to be smart about it. I started doing research in order to find a way to create my own font, then copy the lectures, format then with my font and print them. There were two main problems – neither my scanner, nor my tablet were working at the moment so I had to improvise.
Usually the easiest way to create your own font is to find a site dealing in this sort of thing, send them a sample, pay them and wait for them to send you your font. However, I had decided I wanted to do it the smart way, not the easy way. My scanner wasn’t working at the time, so that certainly helped but I could’ve always gone to a friend had I chosen to go that path.
Still, if you need a font fast and easy, you can always find one of the countless sites that will happily help you out (for a small fee). However, that was not an option for me. Next on the list was using my tablet – there is no easier way to create images with every individual letter in the alphabet designed after your handwriting. If you have a tablet, than you can do it quickly and efficiently with basically zero effort. As luck would have it, my tablet wasn’t working either, so I had to use my brain.
Designing your own font isn’t that hard even if all you have at your disposal is an image editor. The problem with that option is that you have to make every letter into a separate image using only your mouse. It’s easier to do it than it sounds, especially after a few trial runs. To recap, when you want to create your own font, you can either use a site, or a tablet to design the letters, or you can you can go for the low-budget option – image editor.
All you have to do is make a separate image of every letter of the alphabet and then import them one by one in the font creator, where the tricky part begins. Don’t worry about it, though, as most font creators have a ton of options and tweaks so it won’t be too difficult to get the spacings and combinations right. Creating my own font this way took me about two hours. If you are better with computers or you have a tablet, you can do it in less.
When I was done with the font, I formatted the documents the professor had sent us and I printed them. It didn’t look perfect but it managed to fool some of my friends. All that was left for me to do was write the formulas and read the lectures once more so I could be ready for the exam, itself.
When the time finally came and I entered the room, I was really nervous. Deceiving my friends into thinking I had written something was one thing (they didn’t care about it and would never put it under scrutiny) but the professor wouldn’t be so easy to chisel. When he called my name, the moment of truth was upon me – he would either spot my attempt and punish me or he wouldn’t care enough to even look at my work (I was one of the last people to be examined) and everything would go smoothly.
In the end, it turned out it was neither. He did catch me but he was so impressed with my work that he decided to let it slide. He even asked if he could keep it. Of course, I indulged him and was thankful that my plan worked. I still keep the font just in case someone else needs something “handwritten”.
This is one of my favorite stories and even though it’s not the only time I’ve gotten out of unpleasant situations using my brain, this is one of the best ones. The moral is that working smart is better than working hard and in the end it’s much more rewarding. Of course, some people don’t appreciate it when other people are “being smart” but that’s just how the wold is – sometimes what you do is appropriate and sometimes it’s not. So keep in mind you should always take calculated risks.