Handtext (formerly Lapiak ASL) was designed by Joachim Lapiak in 2007. His challenge was to create an American Manual Alphabet and numerals font that is legible, distinguishable, and simple.
In fingerspelling, a handshape indicates a letter, which could be depicted from a range of complex pictoral representations to simple systematic strokes. At small sizes, many handforms (a, e, m, n, s, t) could be relatively difficult to distinguish from. The creation of such a font includes several parameters: the limitation of using only positive and negative space, stroke (and counter) thickness, and how complex or simple the hand, fingers, and detail should be. Since each letter contains more strokes than English characters, it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a highly legible font intended for small sizes. Thus, the use of a fingerspelling font should only be used as display type, for instructional or cultural purposes.
After studying and comparing the subtle differences of the manual alphabet, and what visual cues each hand presents, some important parameters were established. Other than the form of the hand itself, the fingernails are powerful visual cues that distinguishes similar letters, which is also why a bold version could be created. Since the manual alphabet is communicated with human hands, representing the font in human-like forms is easier to pick up than say, hands in thick winter gloves or systematic semi-abstract forms that derive away from naturally recognizable forms. By keeping the bony angular forms of the hand, important visual cues are revealed from the bone structure. With a recognizable form of the hand, excess inner detail can be eliminated and thus, retain simplicity without inducing complexity to maintain legibility. In addition, all of the letters designed are what one would see if somebody in front of you was reciting the manual alphabet, to keep consistency without seeing irregular angles.
Stroke width was a difficult decision to make for the outlined regular version. If the stroke width were to be thick, logically it would be easier to see; however, the bone structure of the hand would lose its angularity and inner detail would jumble together to lose recognizability. In short, the thicker the lines, the less human the hands appear. Nonetheless, since the font was designed for display, the forms remain intact at 36 points in print, at minimum. Since there are two levels of recognizability, the hand as a whole and the inner detail of the hand, the outer stroke of each character is slightly thicker. While each character is complex enough on its own, the stroke width is consistent in size throughout for simplicity. Finally, since outlined handshapes can never be thicker than the English alphabet at a similar point size, a filled (bold) version was created to counter the lack of visual color, but yet still remain legible.
By agreeing to the following document, Lapiak Design grants you a non-exclusive and non-transferable license to use the Handtext font (formerly Lapiak ASL) software for personal and commercial use. Handtext may be installed on your computer according to the number of licenses purchased. This License Agreement is only granted when the individual purchases Handtext from the website of Lapiak Design (www.lapiakdesign.com). This License Agreement issued to you may not be transferred, neither partially nor completely, or obtained from any third-party without written permission from Lapiak Design.
Use of Handtext
You are granted a non-exclusive right to display Handtext on print or on screen, or embedded within a document, either in print or on screen for personal and commercial use. You may not sell, lease, sublicense, or otherwise assign any rights, duties or obligations under this agreement, in whole or in part, to any person or entity. You agree to not distribute, duplicate, reproduce, modify, alter, disassemble, decompile, reverse-engineer, convert, or discover the source code and original font design of Handtext. You may not use Handtext for commercial, monetary, financial, or profitable use, either through distribution or use of the font on screen or in print. Handtext may only be distributed from the website of Lapiak Design (www.lapiakdesign.com) and re-distribution by any third party is prohibited. Lapiak Design reserves all rights not expressly granted to you under this License Agreement.
Copyright and Ownership
You agree that this License Agreement and the Handtext font software, and all copies, are owned by Lapiak Design and by its creator, Joachim Lapiak. Handtext and all its names, forms, structure, and code is copyrighted and contains intellectual property information protected by law.
Term of License Agreement
This License Agreement is effective until terminated. Lapiak Design reserves the right to terminate your license at any time if you fail to comply with any terms and conditions of this License Agreement. Upon termination, you agree to destroy and remove any copies of Handtext and any derivatives and modifications. Lapiak Design reserves the right to claim punitive damages for any attempts of re-distribution or use of the font in any method for profit or monetary gain. Lapiak Design expressly reserves the right to make changes to the content, materials, software or the terms of sale on this site at any time without notice or obligation. Lapiak Design shall have no obligation to change, update or correct any error that may exist in any content, material or software found or downloaded from this site.
You acknowledge that you have read this License Agreement and accept the terms and conditions, and will not hold Lapiak Design or its creator liable for any consequential or incidental damages, or for any claim by any party.