Just over a year ago from today, I discovered Quikscript, a minimalist phonetic alphabet for English that was designed by the British designer Kingsley Read. (Quikscript was a revised edition of an earlier and more famous script also by Read, called Shavian.) Quikscript’s most notable feature is that each letter can be written with a single stroke, and some letters can be written together without lifting the pen up, reducing writing effort. If you want to know more about how Quikscript works, including the associated complex ligature system, click here for the original Quikscript manual by Read.
Here’s a chart showing the letters of Quikscript and their phonetic values.
The problem with existing Quikscript fonts
As I delved further into typing Quikscript on my computer, however, I found that the very few Quikscript fonts out there were just plain terrible. For example, here’s the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Quikscript, using a Quikscript font called ‘Kingsley’:
Note that most of the glyphs have slightly uneven stroke width, squashed-up kerning (glyph spacing) and inconsistent glyph shapes – put together, the whole thing just looks messy and ugly. Damn, even Comic Sans looks way better in comparison!
With all this in mind, I decided that I could have a go at making a better font for Quikscript, using Inkscape to draw the glyphs with a consistent stroke width and Fontforge to put it all together. And in late 2017, I came up with the 1st version of this:
My font, Quikscript Sans, is designed with a consistent appearance and aims to blend in easily with other sans-serif fonts, particularly the Google Noto Sans fonts. It also implements some very common Quikscript ligatures, such as the ‘er’ sound in ‘were’, the ‘ear’ sound in ‘here’ and the ‘you’ sound in ‘huge’.
Here’s the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Quikscript Sans:
It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly easier on the eyes to look at, especially compared to the ‘Kingsley’ example I mentioned above.
Quikscript Sans is an improved version of an earlier font called ‘Quikscript Geometric’ that I first released just over a year ago. (I renamed the font as Quikscript Sans, as the previous name was quite verbose and ‘Quikscript Sans’ is both simpler to say and better reflects its simple sans-serif aesthetic.) Besides the name change, I also implemented:
A better looking glyph for /g/ (it looked deformed and weird previously)
Kerning between glyphs for a more balanced appearance
Encoding of letters
Quikscript Sans uses Frog Orbits’ encoding, which is located in the Unicode Private Use Area (PUA), and fully implements all characters. This is the same encoding that the aforementioned ‘Kingsley’ font uses.
Sample text: Excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago
For comparison, you can view the original one here.
QuikEBEO keyboard layout
While learning Quikscript, I also worked on a QWERTY-based keyboard layout to allow me to type Quikscript efficiently, as I couldn’t find any QWERTY-based Quikscript layouts that I liked at the time. QuikEBEO is based on a pre-existing layout I had designed for a Latin-based phonetic orthography I had called EBEO, hence the name.
The main advantage of using QuikEBEO is that you most likely already know how to type quickly in QWERTY, reducing the time needed to learn QuikEBEO.