I am producing an electronic version of some pages of a medieval manuscript. The manuscript uses Blackletter, like in the image below:

enter image description here

Now, there are many types of blackletter. I am looking for one that resembles the one above, particularly in one feature: i, m, n, u, and v are all difficult to differentiate for the non-trained eye (particularly if together). This can be clearly seen in the first word of the penultimate line (dominum).

I've searched online for fonts using keywords like blackletter, Textura, or more broadly, gothic medieval, without success. For instance, blackletter tag search here or here, using example word dominum, show no true resemblance to the one I am looking for. The key difference, it seems to me, is that modern versions of gothic fonts are made (quite understandably) for easy readability, whereas original blackletter, as evidenced by the image above, is not easy to read.

Does someone has knowledge of a computer font that gets as close as possible to the original blackletter?


As you have mentioned in your question, the term Blackletter covers a fairly large range of typographic styles (such as Fraktur, Schwabacher, Rotunda, Bastarda).

As it seems that the Sample you have provided might very well be handwritten, Blackletters of the Rotunda or Bastarda style could match this style. They are more directly derived from mediaeval handwriting and carry these characteristic rounded elements into the otherwise typically upright and angular blackletter style.

Using these Terms will point you in the right direction, I hope. Here's a Swiss Typographer, Klaus Peter Schaeffel who has made quite a few fonts based on historic reference, that are available for download from his (also slightly mediaeval) website. Take a look at his 2000 Bastarda:

enter image description here

here's a rough reproduction of your sample: enter image description here

  • Well found, although the Latin is not easy to read. The example is from the Collect for the First Vespers of St Anne, starting at "matrem virgineam erigere voluisti". Oct 10 '20 at 11:58
  • Here's the actual text. Unfortunately this font doesn't have a full set of abbreviation marks, but still definitely worth the +1. Oct 10 '20 at 12:15
  • thanks @AndrewLeach. Yes, while the font does not have complete character set, the open type features like the automatic ligatures and contextual alternates make it one of the better blackletter fonts available for free. ;)
    – dom
    Oct 12 '20 at 8:49

The style is actual referred to as Textualis and when you search for that, you get a number of options that I think will fit for what you are looking for. Here are the two that jumped out at me right off the bat. They're a bit more angular than your sample, but you might be able to find more by searching for Textualis.

FF Broken Script

FF Broken Script

FF JoannesG

enter image description here


A free option is: gothicominimo, available here. It's definitely going to need some help with the spacing.

enter image description here


I believe there's a way that you may create your own font system

Take a look at the typography and anatomy of your font which Elegantthem.com describes, more over that, please consider these steps and terminologies:

" Glyph: Each individual character within a font is considered a glyph. Baseline: The invisible line on which all of the font characters sit. Ascender line: The invisible line at which ascenders begin. Ascender height: The height of the upward vertical stroke on letters such as “h” and “k”. Descender depth: The depth of the downward vertical stroke on letters such as “p” and “y”. Stem: The main vertical stroke of a letter such as “F” and “T”. Bowl: The closed rounded part of letters such as “b”, “d” and “o”. Bézier curve: A parametric formula used to model smooth scalable curves. " enter image description here

"If you’re looking to go even deeper with custom font creation, and want to create fonts for wider usage, there are a number of advanced tools available. FontLab Studio, FontCreator, Glyphs, and Robofont are some popular options for professional typographers."

I personally suggest that you should give Matlab a try as it is one of the best tools for objects recognition and differentiation in the image processing world. In your case I can refer it to Mathwork documentation:

Train Optical Character Recognition for Custom Fonts

enter image description here


Create Simple Deep Learning Network for Classification

enter image description here

  • Interesting. Do you know if fonts can be created from an image? That is, by a software that divides an image by letter units and these are then assigned to known letters, until all are filled in? The Matlab link does not seem to be that tool.
    – luchonacho
    Oct 11 '20 at 16:21
  • My post definitely is not a solution neither a direct answer to the main problem issued in the question, but it is for inspiration and seeing the problem from a programmer perspective and of course with a hope to help others. I've researched many resources on the net before I post this. References are available and quoted. Cheers Oct 20 '20 at 15:40

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