Now the archetypes of digital handwriting, the FF Erikrighthand and FF Justlefthand fonts are the result of experiments with software that was really quite new at the time.
It didn’t hurt that Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum actually know “how to write.” By this, we don’t just mean to imply that van Blokland and van Rossum are literate, but rather that they learned proper handwriting techniques from Gerrit Noordzij, a master calligrapher and type designer, who was their teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague during the 1980s. Noordzij believes that handwritten letterforms are the origin of all typography. So, it was a natural step for van Blokland and van Rossum to derive typographically sound fonts from their own handwriting.
To create the fonts, they each wrote out a few alphabets to digitize. Just van Rossum is left-handed and used a thin fineliner. Erik van Blokland is right-handed and used a fat marker. Then, they scanned and digitized these letters on a computer. The resulting fonts became the first of many to allow people to indulge in the irony of typing a letter in a handwritten script. This pioneering work has opened up whole new areas in type design – countless “rough” handwriting fonts have since been made by others.
For typo-buffs, the FF Hands fonts also include a set of small caps and oldstyle figures, and even ligatures. In 2010, the world’s first digital handwriting fonts were finally reissued in OpenType, with hundreds of additional ligatures and glyphs for FF Justlefthand and a revised design for a more authentic FF Erikrighthand. The fonts are again at the forefront of digital handwriting.
FF Justlefthand supports 113 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French in Latin scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)