Take the 2-minute tour ×
TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Are there fonts out there, that have small degree of variation from letter to letter? In some older books, some letters were corrected by hand, and that produced a rather curious effect, and added a human touch to the work. I was wandering if there is anything like this?

It would be great if it was an open type font like Linux Libertine, but that is a separate question.

share|improve this question
I don't quite understanding your question. Whatever font it is, the same letter always results in some glyph shape (mostly). If you mean things like in Gutenberg biber, where each letterforms has several variations depending on if it appears on the head of line or othe places,etc. I don't think there is such subtle fonts. However modern opentype fonts do have the contextual substitution features, for example contextual ligature is one of them. In this case, there is the Zapfino, which is really dynamic. But you won't want set regular text with it. –  Yan Zhou May 6 '12 at 23:38
Perhaps this would be of interest: How do I make my document look like it was written by a Cthulhu-worshipping madman? –  Werner May 7 '12 at 5:36
@YanZhou What I was thinking is even more random, than simple variations on the letterforms depending on their position. The Beowulf font has the meat of it int he description "When printed, each point in each letter in every word on the page would move randomly, giving the letters a shaken, distraught appearance..." provided in answer by Ulrich below. –  drozzy May 7 '12 at 10:49
@Werner Yet every glyph for the given letter is identical. –  drozzy May 7 '12 at 13:57

3 Answers 3

I see there is an OpenType version of Knuth's Punk font (where the original variability was coded in MetaFont) http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/fonts/punknova

share|improve this answer
Thanks... haha! but that font is just horrendous... I was kind of hoping for something I could use :-) By the way, for those who are interested, the "randomness" works simply by generating a bunch of glyphs for each character ahead of time, and letting open type choose one of those "at random". –  drozzy May 7 '12 at 13:54

FF Beowolf promises to do something like this. How well this works, I don't know. (Twenty years back, when I first saw the ads, it depended on having a sufficiently clueful PostScript interpreter, but the new version is OpenType.)

share|improve this answer
This looks like what I am looking for. Does this work for on-screen display though? –  drozzy May 7 '12 at 10:50
Lol, their description of it is sure is entertaining: "Each glyph in each font has ten alternates and a massive Faustian brain to control the mayhem." It does seem, like it is not truly random anymore - and they had to settle on a limited number of variations. Cool link though, thanks! –  drozzy May 7 '12 at 10:52
I think the original postscript version would really randomly wiggle certain control points by a small amount, but then, as now, I'd not spend that kind of money on it. –  Ulrich Schwarz May 7 '12 at 12:46

The font Day Roman that you will find at the site Vitaly Friedman's Notebook: 25 Best Free Quality Fonts, try to simulate the artefacts in the old printing process. It does not satisfy all your requirements, though.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.