February 26, 2009
180: Just Like Mom's
A few years ago I asked my mom to send me a written alphabet in her handwriting, with hopes of learning how to turn it into a typeface, and the plan eventually fell by the wayside. But I was inspired by comments in a recent meme that's been spreading through Facebook like a virus, where I boasted I had the world's neatest printing – with my mom's coming in second. Digging up her printed alphabet I realize now I infact have miles to go to achieve her neatdom.
So, using this free online font-o-matic service, I placed my mom's scanned letterforms into a provided template and followed a series of instructions that led to the site popping out a 16-kilobyte TrueType font.
It was almost that simple, but the results were not truly satisfying. The service naturally took each letter as I supplied it, making no adjustments in terms of baseline alignment, x-height and what-not. But luckily my mom kept her lines of text quite level, so only minor tweaks were needed to smooth things out. She also neglected to supply numbers or any other miscellaneous characters, so I searched stacks of postcards (she's a real world traveler these days) and other bits of mail to make up some of the slack. It is not a complete font by any means, but I now have it at my disposal the next time I need a note getting me out of gym class. I could have really used this back in junior high for phys-ed gymnastics and wrestling.