BIC’s Mission To Find A Universal Typeface

Screenshot of the Universal Typeface all submittees handedness

BIC is on the hunt to find a universal typeface by asking the world’s population to submit their handwriting.

Opening sentence to The Universal Typeface website 'Many of us still prefer writing by hand over anything else.

Forget your language, gender, occupation, age, country and even ‘handedness’: BIC launched a crowd sourcing campaign that attempts to accumulate the world’s handwriting into one universal typeface.

The message? That despite all our differences, we are all interconnected somehow, that we aren’t really that different.

Screenshot of submitted universal typeface 'f'

We all have different strokes – the way me dot our I’s, cross our T’s and curl our Y’s. Yet, we all learn how to write the 26 letters of the English alphabet from one classroom and adapt our own style based from that.

The odd thing about the concept, is that submitters are encouraged to use their touchscreen devices or desktop mouses to demonstrate their handwriting.

Now, this technically speaking isn’t handwriting as there is no pen or pencil involved.

Screenshot taken from Google Search 'definition of handwriting'
Google’s definition of handwriting

It’s more of a modern-day digital handwriting.

Once you’ve submitted your digital handwriting, the Universal Typeface site asks if you would identify your location, age, job, industry sector and whether you’re left or right-handed. This extra information is used to refine their statistics and analysis.

Screenshot of the Universal Typeface all submittees handedness

All submitted handwriting is then mashed together and worked out based on average strokes.

Screenshot of Javier Olavarrieta's submitted 'A' from Bic's The Universal Typeface website.

To this day 84 countries have submitted their writing and written almost 400,000 characters. The experiment first rolled out on June 6th 2014 and results will be unveiled in August later this year.

Bic have sold over 100 billion Cristal ballpoint pens – affectionately calling their product the ‘universal pen’. The typeface experiment is also a marketing attempt to launch their  Cristal Stylus.


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