Worksheet Crafter (WsC) helps teachers design customised learning materials. We help its developers with technical know-how, new custom fonts and expansions of the software’s capabilities.
Founder Fabien Roeken and his team’s ambition to expand the WsC software go hand in hand with expanding the WsC font library. Since 2018 we’ve been their consultants and design partners, solving the technical challenges with Mac and Windows rendering engines and providing long-term consistency in the design and development of the software’s fonts.
In the beginning, we established a basic system of design parameters to ensure future typefaces could be developed in an appropriate, consistent style. Along with typefaces already commissioned, we had to consider abstract typefaces that would help students develop an understanding of handwriting.
In addition to font development, regular consultation is a fundamental part of the collaboration with the WsC team. Regardless of whether the text shaping engine is called Harfbuzz or Freetype, the metadata of fonts from different manufacturers can be interpreted in different ways by printers, or the rendering environments of Mac and Windows computers. We identify errors, find solutions or narrow problems so that decisions around the best compromise are simplified.
This close exchange between programming, type technology and didactics makes working on projects with the WsC team fascinating.
Writing Simplified Cursive – VA Plus
Our first project for WsC was the development of a handwriting typeface strongly oriented to the Simplified Written Script (Vereinfachte Ausgangsschrift) while including the best design and didactic elements of other popular teaching scripts. In the process, we fundamentally questioned the design and optimized difficult-to-connect letter pairs with the help of contextual alternate forms.
The result is the VA Plus: a typeface with the classically connected characters that everyone remembers from childhood and gives learners the best conditions for acquiring cursive handwriting!
Practicing Motor Skills: the Swinging Script “Schwungschrift”
With the “Schwungschrift”, which was developed exclusively for the WsC, it’s easy to create individual writing exercises. To assist in teaching students key gestural sequences, the individual glyphs can be brought together in any combination to form logical shapes. Accordingly, a complex OpenType code was an essential part of the design from the beginning. This font was tested and developed in close cooperation with the teachers at the WsC.