This project started with a writing sample from a loved one. We had enough samples to make a direct trace of about 80% of the necessary letters and numbers. I started by tracing and cleaning up the ones we had and then constructed the others in the same style.
When making a handwriting font, it is less convincing if there is only one version of each letter, which is the usual process of making a font. To counter this we can use Opentype features to switch out alternative characters in certain situations.
The first feature we used was Contextual Alternates, which means that when two letters appear next to each other or close together it will swap the second one for an alternate. Because of the project budget, we couldn’t do this for every letter but instead chose a list of lowercase letters that most frequently occured next to each other in English words.
The second feature we used was ligatures. The original writer had a number of ways that they would connect letters in a unique way. We took the most frequently occurring of these and made a ligature set to add even more variation and realism to the handwriting font.
And the best part about these features is that they happen automatically – no need to have complex design skills to use the font to its fullest.