First, Harald spent time combing through samples of Einstein's handwriting, getting a feel for the natural flow. He studied how Einstein typically linked certain letters together, as well as how much space he left between words and the slope of certain lines. These are the sorts of things that most people would probably fail to notice ”” or care about ”” but Harald wanted to make sure that the font was as close to Einstein's handwriting as possible.
"Albert Einstein's handwriting was totally unique. His rhythm is continuous, while his letters are both very disciplined and extremely playful, especially with his initials, A and E. His line spacing is also extremely accurate, as if he used a ruled paper under his writing paper to keep it in order. He was a thinker outside of mainstream physics, and this was also reflected in his style of writing."
Harald would then digitally trace individual letters that he considered typical samples. However, it was a bit more complicated than simply tracing 26 letters. First of all, he needed to represent both lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as symbols and punctuation marks. But in order to make the font as realistic as possible, Harald took things one step further.
When you're writing things on the computer, a word will look identical every time, no matter how many times you type it. But when you're writing by hand, there's naturally some variation in how you create your letters. To that end, Harald traced four different iterations of each letter. So, while you're typing in the Einstein font, the letters are automatically varied ”” just like they would have been when Einstein wrote them.
After tracing each letter (four times apiece), Harald tweaked them, expanding the width of the digital line and making sure that each one appeared just as it would if written with ink on paper. During this process, Harald sometimes had to ignore his aesthetic instincts. "When drawing the letters, I'd often be taken back by a letter that looked really odd or ugly by itself," he said. "Only when it was combined with other letters did its place in the whole make sense."
Finally, Harald was able to release the Albert Einstein Font, which works on Mac, Linux, iOS and PC. You can download it for yourself here! Now all you have to do is think of something brilliant to write with it...
Another typographer named Pia Frauss created a font based on Jane Austen's handwriting, which contains a number of peculiarities. Perhaps most interestingly, Frauss had to invent the capital X for use in her font, as she was unable to find a single instance of it in Austen's own writing. "If you can procure me a sample of words like Xanadu, or Xerox, or Xerxes in her handwriting," Frauss says on her website, "I promise to update my font as speedily as possible."
The type foundry P22 specializes in handwritten fonts and has developed typefaces based on the writing of VanGogh, Rodin, Monet, Michelangelo, Cezanne and Gauguin. With the VanGogh font, you can also write mirrored (as he did sometimes), and the Gaugin font includes profiles based on the artist's sketches.