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I'm trying to typeset a book with an "old" / "handmade" look, with little irregularities, shuffled up kerning and spacing, letters that are slightly unaligned, and so on. More or less like in this question, but I'm looking for a solution that does not rely on a custom font: is there a plug-in or a script for InDesign that randomly applies variations in size/shift/position to characters in text in order to achieve this effect?

In essence the final effect should be something like shown below (this uses the Patina plug-in for LibreOffice): enter image description here

Also, see here for a treatise.

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There is an InDesign script called Humane Type that does something like that and allows you to tweak the parameters with a UI.

If you need something even more specific, this would require writing your own script.

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    Great! “Humane Type” appears to be a bit too ‘random’ in its output, but it is a great starting point. I’ll try to adapt it. Thank you! – LorenzCK Mar 30 at 13:31
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This is not for InDesign, however it is possible to apply the Roughen filter in Illustrator to text to give it a very slightly irregular look. Obviously you can mess around with the size and detail sliders to tweak the effect yourself.

enter image description here

Here's an example showing the effect being switched on and off.

enter image description here

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    Nice. So maybe a combination of the two answers would work well. First mix up, the kerning/spacing/positioning of the letters, then send the result to Illustrator to roughen up the paths. – mdomino Mar 30 at 21:21
  • @mdomino - sure, that sounds like a plan! – Billy Kerr Mar 30 at 22:33

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