In the spirit of a good Friday blog, I want to mention Fontself. This is a Software-as-a-Service venture that allows the user to create a font out of your own handwriting.
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The PR push behind this is based on the fact that Fontself CEO Franz Hoffman believes that in common with other developed countries, Britons are eschewing the handwritten word in favour of technological alternatives. Which is quite a sweet notion, but the technology doesn’t really rectify that problem.
The Fontself philosophy is ‘to make handwriting cool again’ by using technology to increase the perceived value of penmanship. The technology also has the potential to act as ‘a silent handwriting exercise’ and help teachers who are struggling with increasing levels of illegible script amongst students.
OK, as an educational tool, it has some potential.
So the software programming behind this service works really well, you write out the alphabet, scan it, upload it and then tweak it. The coders could have done better if they had been a bit more intuitive with letter recognition and made sure that the letters q, y, p and g all sat on the virtual writing line so-to-speak. But they do not; they sit up in the air until you tweak them down yourself.
I personally wonder if there is a security risk here, if I host my own handwriting on Facebook, Blogger or MySpace (as the service allows) then isn’t that a silly thing to do?
Speaking directly to Computer Weekly, Fontself CEO Franz Hoffman said, “Fontself is a fun tool that lets you express your personality in casual environments, extending your own identity over the web (just as a nickname or an avatar). While we may improve the resemblance with your real handwriting – think about ligatures that blend letters together – any graphologist will easily identify a genuine handwritten text from its digital counterpart.”
“Our platform was built to provide a simple solution for the creation and use of handmade personal fonts. So we started with a home-brewed font distribution architecture (hosted on Amazon’s Cloud), crafted some unique text rendering technologies to enable colourful and textured letters, and designed an intuitive font creation application (using Flex). Several showcase apps complete our offer to deliver such fonts in email, social networks or blogs, and we will support other technologies to bring cool fonts all over the web,” added Hoffman.