Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 8, 2013.

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'A Letter to your shrink' is about creating a font based on Sigmund Freud's handwritten letters.

[[ Have you missed the Kickstarter Campaign? You can order the Sigmund Freud Typeface at my website http://haraldgeisler.com/sigmund-freud-typeface/ ]]

Hi! my name is Harald, I would like your help to create a font that renders Sigmund Freud's handwriting on your computer. This is my (1, 2, 3…) 4th typography project on Kickstarter.

Sigmund Freud was a neurologist who lived from 1856 to 1939. His research and studies led to the foundation of 'Psychoanalysis'.

When I first saw Freud's century old letters, I was fascinated by the beauty of these historic manuscripts. It made me smile to imagine a person writing his or her shrink a letter set in Freud's handwriting. I started to plan creating a font based on his manuscripts.

The Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna kindly supports this project by providing digital images of Freud's manuscripts . All documents shown are from the collection of the Museum. The Freud Museum London kindly supports the project by providing photographies.

1919 • 'If I court more woman you will couch with more men.' • Letter from Freud to Wilma Federn switching between English and German handwriting
1919 • 'If I court more woman you will couch with more men.' • Letter from Freud to Wilma Federn switching between English and German handwriting

Would you like to use a font that renders Freud's handwriting? Maybe to write a letter to your shrink? Maybe you too are in awe of the beautiful handwriting. Then become a backer (by choosing one of the rewards on the right) and give this project a kickstart.

1925 • Letter from Freud to his Grandson, congratulating to his first school report.
1925 • Letter from Freud to his Grandson, congratulating to his first school report.

The Design Process

As a starting point for Sigmund Freud Typeface I selected eight handwritten documents:

This selection of specimen will be an orientation during the design process. They were created between 1883 to 1938 and are of various character such as handwritten scientific papers, personal letters, notes and a telegram.

1938 • Radiotelegram
1938 • Radiotelegram

What is a Font? Fonts are the software around a typeface design. On your computer fonts render text that your are reading (right now in your browser) or typing (i.e. using a word processor or email client).

Common fonts are Times, Arial (if you are on a PC) or Helvetica (if you are on a Mac) or Comic Sans. When you back this project, you will be able to use Sigmund Freud's handwriting on your computer!

How can a Font look like handwriting? When I type the word 'look' in a regular font, the two 'o' look the same. Handwriting has a vivid character because one never writes the same letter twice.

To make the Sigmund Freud typeface look vivid, the font will be programmed to produce variations or 'alternates' during writing. Two different 'o' have to be drawn and stored in the font's memory. In the next step the font is programmed‚ to replace the second 'o' with the alternate 'o'.

Every language has letter combinations that occur more often than others. In English (counting the complete text of James Joyce's Ulysses)  the top three pairs are 'he' 'th' 'in'. While in German (analyzing Goethe's Faust I) the most found letter pairs are 'ch' 'en' and 'er' (French: 'es' 'le' 'ou', Spanish 'ue' 'de' 'en')

To make the Sigmund Freud font look as handwritten as possible I will include alternates for the most common letter combinations in English, Spanish, German and French as alternates into the font.

Letter pair analysis by Martin Bereciartua using processing.js - http://www.m-i-b.com.ar/letters/en/
Letter pair analysis by Martin Bereciartua using processing.js - http://www.m-i-b.com.ar/letters/en/

More is better! Here I want you to become part of the design process - Back the project with more than $33 and you choose a combination that I will include in the final font file.

The Rewards

  • Sigmund Freud Typeface @Home: $5 will get you the digital Journal documenting the creation of the Typeface. Back this Project with $10 or more and you will get the font file ready to use on your computer & the Journal.
  • A Letter from Vienna: Pledge $20 and receive the Font with a letter from Vienna set in Sigmund Freud's Typeface. Pledge $25 to add a personal message and make this Font the perfect gift for your shrink.
  • Ligature Reward: 
  • Pledge $33 and pick a LIGATURE (combination of glyphs) that I will draw into the font. Like the 'oo' in the 'look' example every ligature makes the font look more like handwriting. Also I will recognize and thank you in the credits of the font. 
  • WORD and SIGNATURE Reward:  Pledge $50 to receive a specially handwritten for you "Thank you" card as shown in the video. Also you will get to pick a LIGATURE & WORD (up to 15 letters, can be a name) that will be added to the final font. Pledge $100 to add your whole SIGNATURE (or three names) to the official font file! Also I will recognize and thank you in the credits of the font. (World wide shipping included).
  • Sigmund Freud POSTER: Pledge $125 and you will receive everything From the SIGNATURE reward and a Kickstarter exclusive (!will not be sold anywhere else) Poster ($125) signed and numbered showing the Sigmund Freud Typeface. Also I will recognize and thank you in the credits of the font. (World wide shipping included).

CAKE LEVEL BACKER • Let's eat cake for typography!

  • THE REWARD IS CAKE: I will invite you to a chat about typography. During this chat I will buy you as much cake as you can eat! Your name will be listed in the credits as CAKE LEVEL BACKER. You will also receive a signed Poster, a handwritten letter sized "Thank you" - send to your home world wide shipping included! Additionally you get to choose a ligature, word and your personal Signature that will be included to the official Font file. 

  • THE REWARD IS CAKE FROM VIENNA: Pick one out of 7 fantastic viennese cakes (i.e. SACHER CHOCOLATE CAKE, Imperial Cake, the famous pink Demel Torte…) send in a wooden basket to you!! (World wide shipping included). Click here to find a detailed report and overview on Viennese cake in Update#4 of this Project. You will also receive a signed Poster, a handwritten letter sized "Thank you", choose a ligature, word and your personal Signature that will be included to the official Font file. Your name will be listed in the credits as CAKE LEVEL BACKER. 

How do other 'handwriting' fonts look like?
I have finished two handwriting fonts. The first one is inspired on Albert Einstein's handwriting.

Specimen of Albert Einstein's handwriting layered with the digital font (black)
Specimen of Albert Einstein's handwriting layered with the digital font (black)

Einstein Script was about researching how close I can recreate an original. I programed the font software to replace automatically certain letter combinations with alternates while typing. I.e. the letter 't' and the ligature 'th'.

The second font is called 'Conspired Lovers'. The design is based on my own handwriting that I used in Love-Letters that I wrote in the past five years. (The design is available through my website: http://haraldgeisler.com/2012/09/14/conspired-lovers/ )

German Complications and American Patients

Freud (*1856) learned writing in the 19th century. Until 1950 it was custom in all German speaking countries to write in German Script or Kurrent.

1904 • Essentials of German • by B. J. Vos Professor of German, Indiana University
1904 • Essentials of German • by B. J. Vos Professor of German, Indiana University

Kurrent and cursive (also called Joined-up writing (GB) or running writing(AU)) have one thing in common. Both stem from the latin word 'currere' (to run); they describe handwriting styles that were designed to write the latin alphabet fast.

1883 • Report written by Sigmund Freud
1883 • Report written by Sigmund Freud

A lot of Freud's patients came from North America to Vienna (and later became practitioners). He was fluent in English and analyzed his patients from America and England in English.

1938 • A note written in English. (Age 82)
1938 • A note written in English. (Age 82)

In my research I came across this exciting example from 1919. Freud writes a letter in German and quotes English; with the change in language he also switches from German script (Kurrent) to Latin script (Cursive).

1919 • 'If I court more woman you will couch with more men.' • Letter from Freud to Wilma Federn switching between English and German handwriting
1919 • 'If I court more woman you will couch with more men.' • Letter from Freud to Wilma Federn switching between English and German handwriting

My aim is to create a readable font with the look of Freud's handwriting. I will keep as much as possible from the style that Freud wrote in. The letters that need adaptation (i.e. the lowercase h) will be changed in carful and playful variations, keeping the spirit of the original movement but with the aim to be readable.

Where will the Font be created? 

I have the opportunity to work at a friends apartment in Vienna. This apartment is a 30 minute walk away from Berggasse 19, where Freud lived for over 50 years. (Now home of the Freud Museum)

To work near the Museum will enable me to look at the original Letters during the creation. Also I hope it will be inspiring to view the writing in the rooms where it was written.

1937 • Letter from Sigmund Freud to Eva Rosenfeld
1937 • Letter from Sigmund Freud to Eva Rosenfeld

How will the Funding be used?

Buying time. Most of the effort will go into drawing the font from scratch and the extension with alternates and ligatures. The more funding I will be able to spend on this, the more beautiful the result will be.

Working in Vienna requires additional transportation cost to move studio equipment back and forth. An amount of funding will be spend on sending out the rewards from Vienna.

Funding will also go into preparing  a journal and documentation of the creative work, creating a 'how-to' video - manual on using the fonts features for novice font users.

Image Credits: All of Freud's Manuscripts shown are © Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna. Project Image: IN42 - Vienna, Hohe Warte 46 1933. Photographer: Casparius, Hans. © Freud Museum London

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Every artistic project bears risks. I have finished two comparable projects so I know about the artistic and technical pitfalls to avoid. The research that I already made for this project, assures me that I am capable of completing this project.

Every project is new and brings up unforeseeable risks and challenges both technically and artistically. (For example I've never shipped Chocolate Cakes to the U.S. and I have never worked in Vienna) I guess I wouldn't be an artist in the first place if these risks would scare me. Thank you for your support.

FAQ

  • Unfortunately, the Einstein font is not available at the moment. Albert Einstein left his personality rights to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Personality rights include i.e. the name and image of a person. In order to use the name or image of a person in a commercial mater, I have to ask the owner of the rights for permission to use it and make a contract about this usage. Like I did with the manuscripts and photos from the Freud Museum in Vienna and London. At the moment I don't have the rights to do so - but I hope that this will change in the future. I will keep you updated.

    Last updated:
  • The Font will support all Latin based languages so of course support English and German.

    Some languages need special characters, i.e. the 'Å' (A Ring) in danish, or the 'Ł' (L Slash) in Polish. Here is the complete list of Languages that I am planning to support in the Sigmund Freud font: Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Bosnian, Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, French, Galician, German, Greenlandic, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish (new orthography), Italian, Latin (basic classical orthography), Latvian, Leonese, Lithuanian , Lower Sorbian, Luxembourgish (basic classical orthography), Malay, Maltese , Manx, Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), Occitan, Polish, Portuguese, Rhaeto-Romanic, Sami, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian Latin, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Upper Sorbian, Walloon.

    Can't find a language you are looking for? Send me message and I see what I can do to add it.

    Last updated:
  • http://haraldgeisler.com/2012/09/14/conspired-lovers/, is available for download through my website: http://haraldgeisler.com/2012/09/14/conspired-lovers/ (When you scroll down to the bottom of the page click on the button 'add to cart'. Then click on 'view cart' and proceed to check out. After the check out you can download the font immediately.)

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    SIGMUND FREUD JOURNAL You will receive a digital Journal of the complete work process from beginning to end. Including sketches, daily design notes, studio photos and videos, drafts with corrections, photos of Vienna (Bergstraße Freud Museum, coffee bars), all research material that I'm using and more…

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    SIGMUND FREUD @HOME • Congrats! You will get the Sigmund Freud font, ready to use on your computer at home! +the digital JOURNAL

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    A LETTER FROM VIENNA • All of the above!! +You will receive a letter send from Vienna! Typeset in Sigmund Freud, signed by me. (WORLD WIDE SHIPPING INCLUDED)

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    A GIFT FROM VIENNA • I will send to a person of your choice a letter from Vienna! With a message from you typeset in Sigmund Freud AND a secret code to download the font. WORLD WIDE SHIPPING INCLUDED [Add multiples for each additional presentee.]

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    SIGMUND FREUD @ WORK • You will get the Sigmund Freud font! Ready to use COMMERCIALLY on your computer at work! +JOURNAL (please add $20 for every additional computer that you are planing to use Sigmund Freud on)

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    SIGMUND FREUD LIGATURE • You are making this Font better and choose a LIGATURE (a combination of two glyphs) that I will draw for the official font file. [Add multiples for multiple Ligatures] I will recognize and thank you in the CREDITS of the Journal and Font! You get the Font and the Journal.

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    SIGMUND FREUD WORDS • You are making this Font even better and choose a Ligature AND a WORD (up to 15 letters, can be a name) that I will draw and embed as a ligature in the official font file. [Add multiples for multiple Words and Ligatures] I will also SEND YOU a personal and individually handwritten "Thank you" (half letter size), as shown in the video and recognize and thank you in the CREDITS of the Documentation and Font! Plus Font and Journal. (WORLD WIDE SHIPPING INCLUDED)

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    SIGMUND FREUD SIGNATURE • Ligature + Word + your SIGNATURE (first, middle and surname - can also be three individual names) will be embedded as ligatures to the font file. [Add multiples for multiple Names, Words and Ligatures] You will receive a personal and individually handwritten "Thank you" (letter size!), as shown in the video. I will recognize and thank you in the CREDITS of the Journal and Font! Plus Font and Journal. (WORLD WIDE SHIPPING INCLUDED)

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  • Pledge $125 or more
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    SIGMUND FREUD TYPEFACE POSTER • Letter sized "Thank you" and a beautiful signed poster (A2 size 59,4 cm x 42 cm) showing the typeface. Exclusively available here on Kickstarter! I will recognize and thank you in the CREDITS of the Journal and Font! Plus Font and Journal. (WORLD WIDE SHIPPING INCLUDED)

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    THE REWARD IS CAKE • You really want to see this project happening - Thank you! You will get the Letter sized "Thank you" + signed Poster + Ligature + Word + Signature + mentioning in the credits as cake level backer + Font + Journal AND I will personally invite you to as much cake and coffee as you can eat & drink. We can talk about Typography and Freud! Either in a wonderful coffee bar in Vienna or in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    THE REWARD IS A CAKE FROM VIENNA!! • You really want to see this project happening - Thank you! You will get the Letter sized "Thank you" + signed Poster + Ligature + Word + Signature + mentioning in the credits as cake level backer + Font + Journal AND I will personally send you an orignal SACHER LILIPUT CAKE!! from Vienna to anywhere in the world! (WORLD WIDE SHIPPING INCLUDED)

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Funding period

- (60 days)