The font started as a Kickstarter campaign and is now available to the public. The font started as a Kickstarter campaign and is now available to the public. The font started as a Kickstarter campaign and is now available to the public. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Now you can write like a genius thanks to the Einstein font

It took 6 years and more than 100 characters for Harald Geisler to make his dream a reality. And he's not done yet.

Not all of us can be as smart as Albert Einstein, but thanks to a new font, we can now write like him.

"I like to imagine that when one uses Einstein's handwriting as a font that a spark of his genius potentially could reflect in one's own writing," said German designer Harald Geisler, who took his campaign to create the font to Kickstarter last year. After a successful launch, the font is now available for download. Its release coincides with the 100th anniversary of Einstein's famous theory of relativity.

Here's the video that got the whole project started:

Geisler enlisted the help of his friend Elizabeth Waterhouse, a dancer in the world-renowned Frankfurt Ballet, who had studied astrophysics at Harvard. "It was because of Elizabeth's connections to the physics world that we actually got a lot of physicists who looked at the prototype and gave us their opinion," Geisler told From The Grapevine.

While the initial idea for the font was first sparked in 2010, Geisler kept tinkering with it. "My idea was to have different versions of every character and when you type, these characters change. So you never have the same characters next to each other," he explained. "If you write 'look,' for example, it has two O's but the O's will be different."

In the example above you see that the letters in the Einstein font don't always look the same.The letters in the Einstein font don't always look the same. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

"The work process is way more intense than creating a normal handwriting font," he revealed. In total, Geisler created five variations of each letter based on Einstein's handwriting – 5 A's, 5 B's, 5 C's, 5 capital A's, 5 capital B's and so on.

"He asked us for an example of Einstein's handwriting," curator Roni Grosz told us when we visited the Albert Einstein archives on the campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "So we gave him some examples." But Geisler was voracious, and kept coming back for more. "He said he needed more Q's," Grosz recalled with a laugh.

As Geisler added: "Yeah, in the beginning they were really like, 'What is this guy doing?'"

"From The Grapevine" as written in the Einstein font."From The Grapevine" as written in the Einstein font. Notice the different R's. (Courtesy photo)

Another letter Geisler had trouble with was the capital Y. "There's not many words in German with a capital Y, so I found all the capital Y's not in physics papers but in his diary because he was visiting New York. So every time he would write New York I would have a capital Y."

This was not the first famous thinker that the 36-year-old Frankfurt-born designer tackled. Earlier he created a font based on the handwriting of Sigmund Freud.

The Einstein font has been a hit with physicists in particular. “It's the perfect way to infuse a beautiful dignity into my otherwise mundane thoughts," said Kris Chaisanguanthum, a physicist at UC San Francisco.

On the left is an original handwritten document by Einstein; on the right is a version using the new font.On the left is an original handwritten document by Einstein; on the right is a version using the new font. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

"On the bigger scale I think many people are very sad that handwriting is kind of leaving our culture," Geisler said. "We're writing on the phone, we're writing on the computer a lot."

He thinks that there might be a time in the future when everyone has a font based on their own handwriting. "I like the idea that a person could learn in school to create your own font, and that will grow and that will kind of be, not a replacement for handwriting, but a way to cultivate the way we write."

Geisler said he envisions a time when emails will be attached with people's personal font that will show up as handwriting to the end user. "It will be something that you craft over a lifetime," he told us. "Every person can have a relationship to writing. We write emails, we write messages, statuses and it's all through writing. There's got to be a good way to cultivate that, to go beyond the fonts that are just offered by the makers of the devices that we use."

Speaking of the evolution of writing, he is still working on improving the Einstein font. In addition to the five variations of each letter, he's now working on a set of Greek symbols used by Einstein. He's been in touch again with the archives at Hebrew University to see mathematical equations written by Einstein so he can complete the set.

So what's next for Geisler? Another font based on a famous person. "We're preparing it now and it's going to launch in September, but I can't tell you yet who it is," he said. "We recently got permission from the estate to work with the name and now we're contacting the archives because they're all spread over the U.S. It's going to be a woman, that's what I can say."


Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Albert Einstein