Script Font Identification Guide - Introduction

This Guide is presented to help in the identification of the many script typefaces that are currently available. Because the term "Script" is used to cover such a wide range of styles, my first goal is to devise easily recognizable script style groups that will make the searches easier by narrowing the scope of each search to styles that are all relatively similar. For the purposes of this Guide "Script" will refer to any font that has the appearance of being lettered by hand, whether done by stylus, quill, pen, brush, pencil, marker, felt-tip, crayon or chalk.

The reason for creating this Guide is to help answer some of the many font ID requests on newsgroups comp.fonts and alt.binaries.fonts by people looking for a font like one of these. ( I also provide a free font ID service, if what you are looking for isn't in these samples.)

Most of these font samples are from my own collection of fonts, but many of these font images were generously provided by other members of the newsgroups. A few samples may have been scanned from books I have listed among my "References" and also from provider's font samples.

There is also a companion Script Font Reference List , also known simply as the List, which lists all the fonts shown in the Guide in alphabetical order. The list contains the name of the designer of the typeface and the year it was designed. It also gives a code for at least one supplier of the font. If there are other fonts that are identical in appearance, they are listed under the heading of "Aliases/Look-Alikes". Every attempt has been made to accurately reflect the true name of the originally created typeface, if it was known. Last, but by no means least, the Reference List identifies the person (or persons) who supplied a sample to illustrate that font. Without their help, this Guide would not be nearly as complete or accurate, and I thank them all for their generosity and enthusiasm for this project.

The complete Script Font Identification Guide consists of this Introduction, then a Status Page which gives the Guide's current numbers for Script Fonts (both in the List and shown in the Guide), followed by fourteen parts that divide the script faces in keeping with my website's Formal, Artistic, Casual, Elegant and Strange (F.A.C.E.S.) categorization scheme. There may be more than one style group in each of these rather broad categories. A font may be shown in more than one style group, if it is not clearly a member of just one group.

Here are my proposed groupings of Script styles. Each style is defined to explain how I would decide that a script font belongs in that style group. (If a script font does not fall clearly in only one style group, then it is shown more than once, in order to make finding it more likely.) Then a sample of that style of script font is shown, which is also a link to more showings of similar style fonts :

Each of the font images below is a sample of the fonts in that part of the Guide
and a link that can be used to take you to that part .

I welcome your support, comments and corrections, as well as suggestions for other faces to be included in this Guide. - Mike Yanega

Part 1 - FORMAL - Formal Flowing Scripts

These script fonts are like the classic engraved scripts used in formal invitations. Their features are all regular and all the lowercase letters are linked together. Their letterforms are not as flamboyant as those in the Elegant category.


Part 2 - FORMAL - Formal Non-flowing Script

These script fonts are somewhat more relaxed and easier to read than the formal flowing scripts, as there is no consistent linking of the lower case letters. Letterforms are quite regular, but they are usually more like text italics than the flowing script letterforms.


Part 3 - FORMAL - Blackletter

These script fonts are easily recognizable from diplomas and certificates. The rigidly formed letters are designed to reflect deliberate, meticulous, careful workmanship and attention to detail. Legibility is a secondary consideration. German Fraktur styles are included in this group. (Lombardic, 'Mediaeval', Celtic and Uncial styles, which are usually included in Blackletter, I have put under Part 4, Artistic - Calligraphic Lettering (below). My reason is that they are much less rigid in their formation, and therefore do not quite fit the "Formal" stylistic Category. Some ambiguous designs may be in both Categories.)


Part 4 -ARTISTIC - Calligraphic Lettering

These script fonts are most characterized by the strong contrasts in stroke that result from using a chiselled pen-tip. This group ranges from Lombardic, 'Mediaeval', Celtic and uncial styles to rather modern print-like scripts, but the strong, expressive pen contrasts mark them all.


Part 5 - ARTISTIC - Designed Scripts

These script fonts are obviously designed by a lettering artist to create a mood or feeling where they are used. Whether they represent a time period, a region, or an attitude, like wacky, silly, carefree, happy, confused, cute or ugly, these scripts set a tone and in no way look like anyone's natural lettering or writing, as in the Casual Scripts below. These are contrived to create an effect, but they are supposed to be hand-drawn and therefore more intimate.


Part 6 - ARTISTIC - Sign Lettering

These script fonts are the work of lettering artists, and may be intended to resemble text faces while retaining the hand-drawn character. They have some characteristics of Casual hand printing, but they are clearly the work of a disciplined artist, engineer or architect who is creating legible, personal type for signs, handbills, drawings, or other copy where formal text typefaces are too stiff, or impersonal.


Part 7 - CASUAL - Casual Flowing Script

These script fonts are connected letters, but they are obviously more relaxed and informal than the Formal script faces above. Letterforms are less uniform and are usually easier to read, yet would not be confused with everyday handwriting.


Part 8 - CASUAL - Casual Non-flowing Script

These are the relaxed equivalents of the Formal non-flowing scripts. More irregularity, less rigidity, and simpler letterforms set these faces apart from their formal relatives.


Part 9 - CASUAL - Everyday Handwriting

These are script fonts that are made to look like anyone's everyday handwriting, and not something created by an artist or calligrapher. They may even be fonts made from handwriting samples. They may be flowing or partially flowing, but they will have letterforms more like writing than printing.


Part 10 - CASUAL - Antique Handwriting

These script fonts are based on samples of pre-twentieth century handwriting. They include more ink blots and uneven strokes, with letterforms and flourishes that are not usually part of modern handwriting.


Part 11 - CASUAL - Everyday Hand Printing

These script fonts are based on the printing of the "average" person -- indeed many of these fonts are scanned from printing samples. This type of font is quite cheap to develop, requiring no skill or training. This is one reason why fonts of this type are hard to match, since many are custom fonts (this sample is made from my own printing and was part of the ClickArt Handwritten Font CD -- now sold as part of the "ClickArt Fonts 3 Deluxe" collection by Broderbund.com. All the fonts shown with "HW" in their names are now in the same "Fonts 3 Deluxe" collection, but there are also unauthorized and re-named copies that may be found circulating as Alias versions that I have identified in the HW Fonts Alias List).

If you are interested in being able to use your own hand-lettering to create your own fonts, see my page on Font Design & Editing Software.


Part 12 - CASUAL - Childish Lettering

These script fonts are based on the lettering of children with simple, basic and poorly formed letterforms. Slopes are erratic and baselines may jump all over. Sometimes they are all capital (upper case), or all lower case, and sometimes an inconsistent blend. Sometimes letters are misshapened or backwards. At times the letters are very deliberately shaped, but obviously not in a skilled way, as if someone is practicing lettering.


Part 13 - ELEGANT - Elaborate or Ornate Scripts

These script fonts include the most flamboyant forms of Formal Scripts, with initial letters that loop and swirl. Often there are swash-like lower-case letter variants with long swooping terminals. These scripts are meant to be impressive and showy. Some of them have a number of less formal qualities, and may include some examples of antique and modern handwriting, if they also have graceful elegance.


Part 14 - STRANGE - Distressed Script

These script fonts are hand-lettered by leaky pens, sloppy hands and scribbling, scratching writers. They have a slightly chaotic, out-of-control look to them, with baselines often bouncing around and letters slanting in different directions. They are unlike the Childish Lettering in that the letterforms are more complex, just not carefully executed.


Thanks for visiting the Script Font Identification Guide. I hope it was interesting, useful and informative. Maybe it will aid in font identification. Your comments and support are welcome. - Mike Yanega

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Date of this page version:23 Jan 2005

The Script Font Identification Guide and Script Font Reference List are Copyright © 2005 by Michael Yanega. The typeface names and designs are the property of their respective owners.