If you plan to fool the world into believing you’re a genius, you have a helping hand. You can now write like Einstein — or at least, you can use Einstein’s handwriting.
That’s the goal of Harald Geisler’s Kickstarter campaign to develop a font modeled after Albert Einstein’s handwriting.
Geisler is a typographer based in Frankfurt, whose past Kickstarter projects have been successfully funded and are equally as awesome (Freud handwriting font, anyone?)
Geisler came up for the idea for the project alongside Elizabeth Waterhouse in 2009, after many hours spent in cafes and notes scrawled on paper napkins. For the Einstein font project, Geisler has already worked through hundreds of pages of Einstein’s work, handwritten by the master himself.
After identifying specific instances of each letter in Einstein’s handwriting that could be taken as representative, Geisler uses design software to digitally trace each letter with the same strokes of movement that Einstein would have made using ink and paper.
A project to memorialise Einstein’s handwriting is well-timed this year, as it coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the General Theory of Relativity. “Our project honors Einstein’s innovative style of thinking, which was imaginative, rigorous, and playful.”
Creating a functional, digitised version of a particular person’s handwriting presents more problems than just the troubles of poor penmanship.
Since a font is any text created for display on a screen, it can be standardised so that each letter looks a particular way, no matter what. You’re so used to the fonts preloaded in your devices that you don’t even notice them, and you’ve probably heard rumblings of Helvetica and Comic Sans.
The difference with handwritten text is that each letter is different, no matter how many times you write it and depending on which other letters surround it to form a word.
Geisler’s development plans for the finished font include an adaptive function that shifts as you type. The font package will include multiple versions of each letter, so that it can shift to an appropriate form depending on the letter that follows it. Sound like a perfect opportunity for a Kickstarter campaign?
Originally, Geisler’s campaign goal was US $15,000 (about AU $18,900). But at time of writing, over 1,000 backers have already almost doubled the project’s funding, rapidly approaching a total of US $30,000 with over a month left in the campaign.
The backing prizes range from your own working version of the font (for a $15 pledge) to commercial licenses, mystery envelopes, and Swiss chocolate, because even scientists have a sweet tooth.