More intelligent handwriting font systems

I came across this site recently via digg. It’s a collection of handwriting fonts that can be downloaded directly from the page. Some of them are quite neat, but it reminded me of a problem with these fonts, and a possible solution.

The very nature of handwriting (mine in particular) is that we rarely write a particular letter the same way twice. Furthermore, the letters that we form are often dependent on the preceding letter. In the word letter, for instance, the first e is affected by it appearing after an l, the t is affected by the preceding e and so on. As far as I’m aware, these two characteristics are never addressed in fonts, as each character is treated as an independent entity, and every instance of a particular letter is technically equal.

I’m proposing a twofold solution:

For the former, the character would only be displayed to its half-way point. The latter half of a character would be displayed as part of the next character. So you’d also need 26 space characters (one to succeed each letter) and 26 of each punctuation mark.

It would be a complex font system (the two requirements requiring upwards of 3,500 characters), but it would much closer mimic real handwriting than do the current offerings, which limit themselves to work within our current understanding of character sets.

It’s interesting how the Luna Bar font on the page linked to above uses horizontal overlaps between the characters. Maybe there is something there that could be used.



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