Saturday, March 28, 2020

Typefaces I Hate II: Scriptina

I see this font all the time, particularly in association with the Relief Society [1] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—on fliers, on crafts [2], and even once as a giant quote glued, letter by letter, to the wall. Sadly, it even appeared on the cover of the 2011 winner for Best Picture Oscar.[3] It was designed in 2001 by Frederic "Apostrophe" Nader for the free font foundry Apostrophic Labs, which went under in 2003.[4] It was then updated in 2010, mostly with character diacritics, by Roger S. Nelsson, for CheapProFonts.[5]

Despite some of the vitriol that other people have for this typeface, I actually think it has a lot of potential. I like the loops on the letters b, d, g, h, j, k, l, p, y, and z, which is what seems to get old and/or annoying for a lot of people. Not me.

The letters that drive me batty are the a, n, and t. They're just all wrong. The a looks like a q. The n almost looks more like a weird sort of y. And the t is just too huge. None of these should have descenders. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Look at how cluttered it is. Does the top line say quickly or auickly? Words with lots of as, like abracadabra, are just a mess. To emphasize how unreadable Scriptina can be, I've provided you with a phrase in Spanish and a made-up word (is it auebilantes or quebilaytes?).

But look what happens if we get rid of the descenders for the a, n, and t. Nice! Now we can see that it says auickly (not quickly, like we wanted), abracadabra, Estaba la rana sentada debajo del agua… ("the frog was sitting under the water…" [6]), and auebilantes. To be sure, there are still some issues with the font. For example, there isn't a consistent x-height [7], the u looks a little too much like an n, and the combinations eb and el should be turned into ligatures where the horizontal bar coming off the e should join seamlessly into the loop on the b or l. But now it's so much more legible.


[1] The Relief Society is an organization of women…

[2] See, for example, the LDS temple blocks at this website.

[3] See Artist (film).

[4] See

[5] See

[6] See

[7] See

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