Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:02:32 GMT
More than 1.725 million characters submitted by people from more than 150 countries have been put together to form the first universal typeface. This typeface is now available for download right here
The “Universal Typeface” project was initiated to honor BIC’s Cristal ballpoint pen – of which more than 100 billion pieces have been produced since 1950. The experiment was created and conceptualized by DDB and put into effect by digital production company MediaMonks. A unique campaign, that manages to combine digital penmanship and demographic data from all around the world in a single physical typeface.
The Cristal ballpoint pen is the most-sold pen in history and often dubbed as “the Universal Pen“. The challenge of this project was to digitalize the handwritings of its users from all over the world, in order to be able to unify them in a single typeface. A typeface that is alive and continuously evolves through newly added contributions.
Users are invited to submit their handwriting on the microsite http://theuniversaltypeface.com/, which uses Mobile Connect Technology. This allows them to directly write on their smartphones and tablets. To date more than 1.725 million characters by participants from more than 150 countries have been uploaded. Participation has no time limit. New contributions are submitted daily. The website also features an area in which users can compare their handwriting to the ascertained average, and also to particular groups of users (selected according to criteria such as age, gender and profession). To make all of this possible, a unique algorithm that converts input into typeface results was created.
BIC and DDB Düsseldorf started their quest for the universal typeface in the middle of 2014. Since then the collected data are continuously being put together. So far the universal typeface of all participants, just as the specific typefaces sorted according to characteristics, could only be experienced visually, but as of now anyone interested can download these typefaces and actually use them.
Joris Pol, Executive Producer at MediaMonks said: “Figuring out how we could replicate the act of handwriting online was really interesting” said Executive Producer, Joris Pol of MediaMonks. “Handwriting is not only about feel but also about convenience. We considered many different options, including hardcopy approaches employing OCR. One reason we end up using the mobile phone’s touchscreen is because phones these days are as ubiquitous as pens. However, there’s no pen to describe how proud we were when the experiment hit one million contributions in less than a month.”
“Our handwriting is one of our most personal possessions. Since the BIC pen is one of the most ubiquitous writing instruments and billions of people use this product, we initially asked: How would a universal typeface look like? The now available typeface finally gives us an answer to this question”, Jan Propach, Creative Director at DDB Düsseldorf, explains.
“DDB has always created ideas that touch people and bring them together for a common cause, which is why we found the idea of a universal typeface so exciting. We used our technical expertise and modern technology to breathe life into this claim, says Dennis May, Creative Managing Director of DDB Düsseldorf.
Client: Société BIC
Claire Gerard, Communication
Agency: DDB Düsseldorf
Eric Schoeffler, Chief Creative Officer
Dennis May, Managing Director Creative
Jan Propach, Creative Director
Dominika Zajac, Art Director
Fabian Jung, Art Director
Christian Bueltmann, Art Director
Tobias Hecking, Copywriter
Sönke Bruns, Project Manager
Production Company: MediaMonks
Jouke Vuurmans, Executive Creative Director
Joris Pol, Executive Producer
Quinten Beek, Project Director
Nicolas Mollien, Creative/Art Director
Matthijs Klip, Data Creative
Willem Baas, UX
Elbert Niezen, Designer
Jorge Garcia, Designer
Hendrik-Jan de Harder, Front-End Developer
Nigel Manson, Front-End Developer
Richard Mulder, R&D Developer
Johan Holwerda, Canvas Specialist
Chase Sillevis, Back-End Developer
Matthew Elworthy, Copywriter