BIC Is Running An Experiment To Find What The World's Average Handwriting Looks Like

Picture: BIC/

BIC is trying to unite the world, one handwritten letter at a time.

The Universal Typeface experiment is a celebration of sorts for BIC – it’s now sold more than 100 billion of its iconic Cristal Ballpoint pens.

But times are always changing and more and people these days are writing on touchscreens rather than paper, so Bic addressed an age-old problem and a not-so age-old problem with a clever solution.

Pens dry up if you don’t use them regularly. Styluses get lost.

To combat such frustrations, BIC recently introduced the Cristal Stylus, a rubber-tipped biro which starts life as a pen, then can be used as a stylus when the ink stops flowing.

They call the Cristal the “universal pen” and with the advent of millions of people scribbling online, BIC thought now was a good time to ask the question: What would the world’s collective handwriting look like?

So far, about half a million people are helping answer it, and you can be part of it too. Just go to and you’ll see this:

Picture: BIC/

Hit “Contribute” and you’ll be given a URL to visit on your mobile device and it’s just a simple few steps from there to where you can start scribbling through your version of the alphabet.

Picture: BIC/

When you’ve had enough, the website then gives you a slideshow of how your letters compare to the global average. I found most of mine were both wider and taller (handwriting psychologists, your comments are welcome):

Picture: BIC/

And that’s about it. At the end of August, all the submissions will be compiled and released to the public by BIC.

You can already see how it’s forming up, and it’s probably not going to change a lot from here on.

Here’s an example that compares how men and women across the world write a capital R. Font nerds will lose themselves for hours examining the subtle differences.

Picture: BIC/

G is controversial. The lack of a tail is lazy.

Picture: BIC/

Check it out and have some fun with it. You can break all the submissions down by age, country, gender etc and the interaction between mobile device and desktop is pretty smooth, too.

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