Bic celebrates the ballpoint pen with Universal Typeface experiment collecting handwriting samples from across the globe

The Universal Typeface is made up from contributions made worldwide

In celebration of the Bic Crystal ballpoint pen manufacturer Bic has started crowdsourcing digital handwriting samples from across the globe to create a ‘Universal Typeface’.

Dreamt up by DDB Tribal Düsseldorf GmbH and produced by MediaMonks, the Universal Typeface experiment is seeking penmanship contributions and demographical data from all over the world to create a single typeface or font.

“Our handwriting is one of our most personal possessions. With BIC having produced one of the most universal writing tools and billions of people using their product, the primary question was: what then, would the world’s universal handwriting look like? This experiment allows us to explore that and celebrate the pen we all know and use,” explained Jan Propach, creative director, DDB Tribal Düsseldorf GmbH.

Users can submit their handwriting sample online via a digital hub that uses Mobile Connect technology to allow users to write in an intuitive and natural way using their smartphone or tablet touchscreen.

A exploration section has also been added to the site allowing contributors to compare their handwriting to that of others taking part, users can also explore statistic differences between their handwriting and others as well as the average contribution of different demographics grouped by age, gender, industry of employment or other characteristics.

Joris Pol, international project director, MediaMonks added: “In order to determine the Universal Typeface that best represents all submissions, and for the typeface to be legible, MediaMonks developed an elaborate algorithm that underpins the digital experiment. The opportunity for our design and development teams to unify creativity and technology within this project by bridging the analogue and digital writing worlds has been a true honour.”

The first version of the Universal Typeface will be downloadable in August and can be used like any other font.

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