Botev Handwriting_Cover

Botev Handwriting Revival

A project that allows everyone to get a sense of a national hero’s personality and witness a sacred symbol of our history.

Our team transformed the handwriting of a historical figure of immense magnitude into a digital font. The digital interpretation of Hristo Botev’s handwriting is an important contribution to preserving the memory of one of the most significant historical personages, thus bringing him even closer to the Bulgarian population. The months we spent working on this project became an exciting adventure, much akin to that of methodically putting together a puzzle. With it, we’d like to point out that just as anyone could now write in a hero’s handwriting, so could anyone get inspired and share his beliefs.

Client: National Card and Payment Scheme

Additional font in use: Vocal by Ani Dimitrova

Who is Hristo Botev?

Hristo Botev was a Bulgarian revolutionary and poet. He is a symbolic historical figure and a national hero for Bulgarians. His poetry is a prime example of Revival literature, while his revolutionary efforts have left a lasting trace in Bulgarian history.

We believe that bringing our national heroes closer to people by humanizing them is the way to preserve their memory well into the future and intertwine their beliefs and morals with our present life.

Such a transformation is a huge challenge, primarily due to the dynamic nature of handwriting. The unique charge of Botev’s person is discovered in every single one of his letters and stories. So we started with his manuscripts. Visiting the National Library and being able to touch Botev’s letters was a humbling and inspiring experience. We then made our way to Kalofer—his hometown—where we visited the National Museum “Hristo Botev.” Our path led us to a direct descendant of our national hero—Boyan Botyov—who shared valuable information and stories that brought us closer to the poet's spirit.

Finding the right balance between recreating the handwriting correctly and creating the font legible was no easy task. We started by analyzing the essential characteristics of the original handwriting. On the one hand, the inconsistent slant and proportions, the extremely low x-height, and the distorted forms disrupted the legibility. On the other, those were a vital part of the character. Thus, we had to decide what to keep and what to change. Another specific issue when working on a script font is making it look as realistic as possible. Something we achieved through developing a complex system of Open Type features.

The character of Botev and his handwriting has been capsulated into a font that is unique and accessible at the same time, thus facilitating its use in various directions of modern life.

This project is an excellent example of a productive partnership between several institutions and organizations, without whose help it wouldn’t have been possible. We’d like to offer the National Card and Payment Scheme our sincerest gratitude for putting their trust in us for such an important initiative.

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