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Help BIC Build The World’s Signature

Universal Typeface is the first crowdsourced font

Michael Cruickshank
Help BIC Build The World’s Signature© 2018 Bic

The BIC Crystal is one of the most ubiquitous items of the modern age, since its introduction in the 1950s it has gone on to become the world’s most popular ballpoint pen, with sales in excess of 100 billion units. It can easily be said to be the number one instrument in the world for everyday handwriting tasks.

So in order to celebrate the massive impact which this clear, hexagonal ballpoint pen has had on humanity, the company behind it is working on a project to define the world’s very own handwriting.

BIC's Universal Typeface project is inviting users to upload to their server the way they write the alphabet and words using a ballpoint pen. From there the company is using advanced interpolation software to determine the average path that users take when they draw each letter. This information is then used to develop a typeface based on the average of how everyone (or at least everyone who contributed to the project) in the world writes. This Universal Typeface font can then be downloaded as a standard font file, and used in word processing programs.

Image: © 2014 Bic

As well as this Universal Typeface, BIC is offering the ability to look at some of the interesting variations in the way we write. Every wondered if people in Argentina write letters different to people in Australia? Now you can find out. In fact, BIC is giving the ability to create crowdsourced handwriting fonts based on gender, nationality, handedness, and even what industry the writers work in.

Interested in getting involved? You can easily contribute your own handwriting to the database being created by BIC, just go to their website, and write a series of characters using a touchpad or stylus. Once you writing has been uploaded, you can then see how your letters compare to everyone else in the world. Maybe yours will be a complete oddball, or maybe you aren't as original as you thought.

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