Number of fonts

From the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, by way of Toronto, comes Martie's handwriting. Martie Byrd is a school teacher in Roanoke, Virginia, and a friend of Canada Type's Rebecca Alaccari. After years of admiring the cheer and clarity of Martie's handwriting, we asked her to write out full alphabets for some cool font treatment. The intent was to do three different versions of her writing in two different pens, then use the auto-magic of OpenType to determine letter sequences and rotate character sets on the fly when the fonts are in use. A successful endeavor it was.

Unlike other available felt tip and ballpoint handwriting fonts, the regular and bold variations are style-based, not weight-based. They are the handwritten expressions of two different Sharpie pens: The fine point one (Martie Bold), and the ultrafine one (Martie Regular). The style-based variation considerably helps the realism needed in design pieces that take advantage of the contrast of two different handwriting fonts. Weight thickening in handwriting is an obvious mechanical effect that only happens with computers. Weight changing by replacing pens is what happens in the real world.

Martie Pro and Martie Pro Bold each contain three different character sets in a single font. Language support includes Western, Central and Eastern European languages for all three sets. This translates into each Pro font containing over 750 characters. Add OpenType code and stir, and you have true handwriting fonts with versatility unavailable out there in anything else of the genre.

A software program that supports OpenType features is needed to use the randomization coded in Martie Pro and Martie Pro Bold. Current versions of QuarkXpress and Adobe applications (Photoshop, Illlustrator, InDesign) do contain support for the randomization feature. But if you don't have one of these apps, you can still use the interchangeable Type 1 or True Type fonts and change the characters manually to achieve the appearance of true handwriting.

The Martie fonts come in a variety of price packages, from the affordable single fonts to value-laden complete sets. All the proceeds from these fonts received by Canada Type will be donated 50/50 to two primary schools: One in Roanoke (where Martie teaches), and one in Toronto (where the 10-year old, real Canada Type boss goes).

So next time a design project needs a handwriting font, do the write thing and use Martie to keep it real.

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