BIC Pens Create Universal Font From Crowdsourced Handwriting

BIC Pens Create Universal Font From Crowdsourced Handwriting

People around the world contribute their handwriting style to design a brand new typeface.

Tiffany Nesbit
  • 13 june 2014

Since the invention of the typewriter handwriting has been on the decline, and the Internet has only accelerated it. So in an attempt to revive this lost art, BIC has begun a mobile crowdsourcing campaign experiment to create a universal typeface.

BIC’s Cristal ballpoint pen is the best selling pen in the world, and BIC wanted to celebrate the fact that in this digital age they have managed to produce and sell 100 billion of these pens. In moments when we want to share our innermost feelings we often still turn to a pen, and BIC feels it is great that we hold on to our handwriting, which is personal and unique to each one of us.

“BIC proves that analogue and digital can not only co-exist, but also enrich their co-existence,” says Eric Schoeffler of DDB Worldwide, who designed the experiment, which was produced by MediaMonks.


For the experiment, people were invited to write out all 26 letters of the alphabet from handheld devices. BIC used an algorithm that included the writer’s age, sex, country, industry in which you work, and hand used to write, which then overlaid and merged the writing with other people who took place in the experiment. The company managed to collect 11,085 characters from 40 different countries which are currently being processed together to create the universal typeface. The font will be released to the public in August.

The official experiment launched June 6th and interested people can visit the site, write out their characters, and compare it to the writing of others right now. Just be forewarned- the comparisons are pretty interesting, and you might wind up spending more time on the site than you anticipated.

The Universal Typeface

[h/t] Mobile Marketer


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