Blog Post

FontCapture: Transform Your Ugly Handwriting Into an Uglier Font

I’m a little partial to digital tools that can be used to create diagrams and images that look hand drawn — Balsamiq Mockups is a wonderful example.

I’ve often thought it’d be great to have a font made from my own handwriting, enabling me to “hand annotate” digitally crafted images to add an informal, playful and personal touch. Of course, creating a typeface from scratch is an expensive, skillful, labor-intensive process, best left to professional typographers, not amateurs like myself.

So imagine my delight in discovering FontCapture, an entirely web-based application that enables you to create a font from your own handwriting within minutes — and what’s more, it’s free. All you need is a printer and a scanner.

“Fontifying” your handwriting is a simple, four-step process:

  1. Print a specially formatted template.
  2. Complete the template with your individual handwritten characters —  up to 128 glyphs. Be careful to align ascending and descending characters with the template’s baseline marks.
  3. Scan your completed template back into your computer and upload it to the service.
  4. Within a few seconds, you should see a preview of your font and a link to download it in OpenType format (see the screenshot above).

The service works very well. It’s simple, fast, free and accurate — though perhaps a little too accurate. FontCapture demonstrated  how appalling my handwriting really is! I didn’t do a perfect job of keeping my characters and glyphs aligned within the marks on the template, but the final result was a pretty good representation of my jittery scrawl.

I’d readily recommend the app to anyone who needs a digital representation of their handwriting, but sadly my own handwriting is too illegible to be charmingly applied to digital imagery.

What would you do with a font of your own handwriting?