Write Your Emails with Albert Einstein’s Calligraphy
While the days of handwriting seem to be numbered, this project allows us to feel nostalgic for the movement of a hand across a sheet of paper.
Einstein, luckily, had a great sense of humor, but he would never have imagined what the 100th anniversary of his theory of relativity would have prepared for him. A typographer and scientist are about to complete a laborious project that began in 2009 in which they are seeking to emulate his handwriting in a digital interface.
Yes, now we can send emails in the turbulent and elegant handwriting of Albert Einstein. The task, of course, was not easy. In order to achieve this, the researchers consulted hundreds and hundreds of manuscript pages in the Einstein archives during six months. With a stylus pen, the typographer Harald Geisler wrote samples again and again until he developed an intuition, an intimacy perhaps, with the letters of the Nobel Prize winner.
This kind of project is not new (there are fonts similar to those of Cézanne, Picasso, Michelangelo and even Obama already available), but Einstein’s typeface has an interesting additional aspect: each letter will have at least four variations, similar to the way in which we write by hand. Because no two pages of manuscript have identical letters: handwriting depends on the mood of the person, their haste, or the type of ink they use.
The paradox of typing in a handwritten font was not wasted on the creators of the project, which led to fascinating questions such as whether the act of thinking is related to the movement of the hand as one writes or whether typing has substituted that relationship. We know there are no rules, that there is no logic that defines the relationship between intelligence and the motor control over our limbs (think about the illegible handwriting of doctors), but there is a relationship between the body and creative thinking. And Einstein, curiously, had beautiful handwriting.
This font, in addition to being a tribute to the world’s most-loved genius, is also an opportunity for discussion regarding the aesthetics of handwriting in the digital era, in which we write down our thoughts in Helvética, Times New Roman or Garamond. The era of handwriting and calligraphy is facing extinction; perhaps the next generation will not go through the relevant process of finding their own handwriting style, and this kind of project helps to highlight that lacking. Perhaps the mere fact of writing an email with the attraction of paper and pen, while emulating the handwriting of someone who changed the world with their scribbled notes, is a motive to make that a reality.
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