Display, Handwritten typeface

from Google Fonts
designed by Astigmatic

2 Styles

1 Weight: Regular
with matching italics

Best for

  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)




A free calligraphic typeface, that is skillful but not over the top and still legible.

My thoughts on Fondamento

The free typeface Fondamento is based on the Foundational Hand, a calligraphic teaching style I can remember very vividly from design school. It is rather easy to learn, but it requires so much practice to make it harmonious and rhythmical. This typeface imitates that.

Fondamento is a calligraphic lettering style based on the traditional Foundational Hand, a basic teaching style created by Edward Johnston in the early 20th century.

It is written with a broad nib pen that is held at an angle, creating this beautiful contact which makes it visually so appealing. This is important, because the writing tool highly influence, how type feels. So when picking a digital font, think about that. To set it in perspective, see the three following examples. All are imitating handwriting, yet they seem very different.

This feels more common, like a bit nicer handwriting. Shelby origins from a speed ball or round nib pen. Skilled, but not over the top while being very legible.Fondamento origins from a broad nib pen. Formal, flourishing and harder to read.Altesse Std. feels different, originating from a pointed nib.
From common to skilled to super formal

Fondamento still feels like something an average person can pull off with a little practice. Skillful, historic, but not over the top. Not like this super fancy scrip typefaces that are very flourishing and delicate. You can add some variety to it by using caps or the Italics.

THE CAPS FEEL NOBLE BUT STILL FRIENDLY. The Italics are more dynamic, while some letters change, like the a and f.

But I recommend not mixing Regular and Italic close together. They are not different enough to be contrasting. Decide for one style and then go with that.

Better don’t mix these two styles closely. They are not contrasting enough, which makes it irritating. When set right next to each other, the italics feel somehow skewed. 🫤 Regular and Italic should not be used right next to each other
This is irritating. Look for the five words set in italic.

Besides headings and titles, a good use case for Fondamento could be an intro text or a pull quote. Something in editorial design that spices up the body text with a traditional and yet human note.

What do you think? Is Fondamento something for an upcoming project, or do you have a font recommendation? Tell me in the comments below!

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  1. Does not appear to have true italics.
    qp and db are mirror images
    Hard to distinguish between uc “I” and lc “l”

    1. For clarification – you’re referring to Captura Now (sorry for the wrong link in the newsletter) .

      I had that issue too, Steve. Only accepting a typeface with true italic shapes, after I learned about the differences. With time, I came to realize that for some styles these italic shapes do not really fit, like for geometric or grotesque typefaces. And I am not speaking of artificially tilting and skewing a typeface to generate an italic out of it. With Captura Now, they definitely are made well, in that slanted style. But yes, obliques won’t be that striking for text highlights compared to true italic shapes.

      About the differentiated shapes – yes, also true. So I would not recommend using them for extensive, long reading text or names that could be easily mistaken.

  2. I do wish someone like you could have visited my class way back when. It seems that the children in your daughter’s class had a wonderful introduction to the art of calligraphy. As for me, I’m learning a thing or two from your illuminating typography emails.

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