Martin Luther King Jr. handwriting font
Update #14

This update comes to you a bit earlier than usual. January 15th is Martin Luther King jr’s Birthday. So I thought it would be a good reason to release a new update.

You can download the font from your account:

You are new? Download the font for free here:

This Update adds the letters: ă â à ā ą å ã ć č ç ě ê ė è ē ẽ ḡ î ï ì ī į ĩ ĺ ł ń ň ñ ô ò ő ō õ ŕ ř ś š ţ û ù ű ų ů ũ ŵ ẁ ŷ ỳ ỹ ź ž ż as well as the $ and an alternative comma.

The new version will show up in your font menu as “Martin Luther King 2021 February”. I recommend uninstalling older versions to keep your font menu organized.

A big “Thank you.”
to everybody who supported the creation of the font this month. This update is possible because of the financial support of 23 people from around the world. I want to take some space to thank them:

J. Harris, Montgomery, Al 🇺🇸
J. Horton, North Turramurra, NSW 🇦🇺
N. Renner, New Britain, CT 🇺🇸
B. Desclee, Brussels 🇧🇪
K. Engelbrecht, Bern 🇨🇭
R. Wampler, Colorado Springs, CO 🇺🇸
D. Chamberlain, Benicia, CA 🇺🇸
H. de Wolf, Zaandijk 🇳🇱
K. Tilley, Linthicum Heights, MD 🇺🇸
C. Smith, Nedlands, WA 🇦🇺
J. Ford, New York, NY 🇺🇸
P. Herman, Bonsall, CA 🇺🇸
F. Chaplais, Ile de France 🇫🇷
J. Holze, Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt 🇩🇪
N. Wilson, Broken Arrow, OK 🇺🇸
N. Faulkner, Bournville, Birmingham 🇬🇧
T. Zwitserlood, Amsterdam, NH 🇳🇱
J. Wilson, Nashville, TN 🇺🇸
G. Sjölin, Örebro 🇸🇪
R. Lindsey, Grand Terrace, CA 🇺🇸
H. Colsman-Freyberger, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg 🇩🇪
F. Engerer, Nürnberg, Bavaria 🇩🇪
H. Billetter, Kerpen, North Rhine-Westphalia 🇩🇪

join the list of supporters:

Transparency is important. Please find a detailed spreadsheet with the total number of supporters and donations →here.


Let’s talk fonts.
Benchmark:
How close does the font come to the original?



On the left side you see the original manuscript and on the right side the same text set with the Martin Luther King font.

A significant step for me in creating a font is to compare an original manuscript with the font. I have added a PDF (Martin Luther King font comparison.pdf) to the font files. In the document, you can see the font side by side with an original manuscript.

My aim here is not to create a copy of a page but to capture a hand’s aesthetic so that the page is not a copy but could be the second page from the same writer.

This overview and comparison gives me a good insight into where the font needs improvement and where to continue work in the future.


Language support and marks.

With the last update in December, I introduced support for languages other than English. The font works fine in English. But to work in the 21st century, a font has to support many languages. For example, German needs the little two dots over a vowel to indicate a change in pronunciation. Or french is not possible to write without a beautiful acute.

You can imagine that finding samples of ä,ö,ü, or é isn’t easy. These letters need to be improvised based on the manuscripts at hand. For example, the dots from a lowercase i and j can indicate how Dr. King might have written an ö. This update adds the letters: ă â à ā ą å ã ć č ç ě ê ė è ē ẽ ḡ î ï ì ī į ĩ ĺ ł ń ň ñ ô ò ő ō õ ŕ ř ś š ţ û ù ű ų ů ũ ŵ ẁ ŷ ỳ ỹ ź ž ż

These letters come from a variety of languages written around the globe. It is one thing to design letters and another to create a handwriting font. Often the letter-form appears different when they are typed or written. Finding out the correct form of how to write a letter is not that easy. I remember one example, the “L with stroke,” which is used in Poland. A friend from Warshaw contacted me to correct my work. The “stroke” is not “stroked” across the letter, but as a wave gently placed above the letter. These details one can only get to know from someone who learned writing in that language.

Now that almost all letters of the alphabet are in the font (capital Z is still missing), I focus on marks and signs. While looking for missing characters, I came upon the last page of Dr. King’s seminar notes on Social Philosophy from October 3, 1961, to January 23, 1962. You can view the complete notes online at The Martin Luther King jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Here we see a spreadsheet with numbers and many Dollar signs.

Future Outlook

In the sample, we can also see a variety of numbers. Note the different fives at the beginning or end of a number. The font’s current numbers are from samples found in text samples and don’t work well in big numbers. An exclamation mark or question mark is still missing. You can expect additions to the numerals, symbols, and I am still very excited about initial and final letterforms in the next updates.


Question:
Do you know a teacher in the US?

On Monday, January 18th Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated in the US as a national holiday. The holiday is an annual reason to commemorate Dr. King’s life and work, especially in schools.

As an avid user of the font, I wanted to reach out to you and ask: Do you know a high-school teacher in the US? Please forward them the link to the site. I imagine using the font as a student to, for example, write a paper about Dr. King would be an inspiring and entertaining aid. I would be curious to see the possibilities of the font being used in this context. The font is free for personal and educational use.


Support the development of the Martin Luther King font.

I enjoy working on the project very much; I hope you enjoy the font. Without support, this project would not be possible! The more people support the project, the more time I can spend working on the font. I will add one additional letter for each 100€ ($110, £90) donated monthly. If you want to support: please donate monthly. The continuity will help me and the rhythm of the project. Thank you.
Donate to the font. Thanks.