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I'm looking for a free font that most closely represents glyphs as they are commonly drawn. For example, people draw a single story lower case a, while most sans-serif fonts (for good reasons) use a two-story a.

The context is for young children learning to read and practice drawing letters. I am not looking for a novelty font that looks like handwriting.

The specific characteristics I'm looking for are the following:

  • single store lower case a
  • lower case g has a hook instead of a bowl
  • lower case q has a hook instead of looking like a backwards p
  • none of the letters or numbers are overly ornate (e.g. Q doesn't have some fancy tail)

The closest I've found so far is Sofia Pro, which meets most of these requirements except it's lower case q does not have a hook.

(In general, I'm finding it hard to find any fonts with a hooked q--why is that?)

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  • Fonts with a hooked 'q' are usually hand-drawn ones. The loop would make it more difficult to differentiate it from a 'g' in a geometric font.
    – Luciano
    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:07
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    Why not Futura? However 'q' with a hook... are you sure??
    – Vinny
    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:08
  • @Vinny I was pretty sure most (western, at least) countries learn the cursive q with a hook, but when I just googled for an example I found a shape I've never seen before. So now I'm not so sure anymore either.
    – Summer
    Mar 13, 2017 at 15:22
  • I had to solve this exact question a few years ago when teaching my son to read and write. I DID find a good font; I’ve forgotten what at the moment but making this comment so I remember to look it up later.
    – Wildcard
    Apr 18, 2019 at 7:16

10 Answers 10

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I think that hooked q may be the key.... it's rare. So.. merely searching on that....

So, you may be best searching for a font with that unicode glyph. Not sure how diverse free fonts are when it comes to the more rare unicode items.

There are dozens of fonts which meet the other criteria you listed. I think it's that hooked q that limits choices greatly.

Useful additional information from @PieBie: "Hooked lowercase Q is unicode U+024B, hexa &#x024B, decimal &#587 and UTF-8 C9 8B. It is part of Latin Extended-B."

For the record I don't think "people actually write" with a hooked q. I think children are taught to write with a hooked q, but as they age, that hook disappears quickly. I can't ever recall seeing anyone over the age of 5-7 hook a q when writing. (That doesn't mean it never happens, only that I've never seen it.)

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    Just for your information: Hooked lowercase Q is unicode U+024B, hexa &#x024B, decimal &#587 and UTF-8 C9 8B. It is part of Latin Extended-B.
    – PieBie
    Mar 13, 2017 at 14:25
  • I'm marking this as an answer simply for pointing out the unicode for the hooked q. It didn't even occur to me that what I'm looking for might actually be distinct from the q from just typing on the keyboard. Mar 13, 2017 at 19:37
  • Also, I am over the age of 7 and I do write a hooked q! Mar 13, 2017 at 19:41
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    Like I posted, I'm sure it's not an impossibility.. but I've never personally see handwriting with a hooked q... but then.. how often are q-words written beyond "QUIT" all uppercase and as bold and "offensive' as possible. :)
    – Scott
    Mar 13, 2017 at 20:21
  • Atleast Finland does not teacj a q by hooking it backwards.
    – joojaa
    Mar 14, 2017 at 6:42
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There are couple of fonts that I know of that will work for this:

Folder (http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/typodermic/folder/) was specifically designed for the purpose, as was Sassoon Infant (http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/sassoon-infant/). They are different takes on the same idea and they both cost money (although Folder is pretty cheap), but I think they will tick all of your boxes.

Vag Rounded is a popular choice for children's books and products. It doesn't fit all of your criteria, but it's worth a look.

I used to do a lot of artworks for children's books and we often found that we would have to create bespoke versions of the fonts that the designers selected that were better suited for children. Especially for a and t characters. However, that means using font editing software and possibly gets you into copyright issues depending on the use.

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  • I love Sassoon Infant. It's not what I'm looking for for this project, but it's very pleasant. My daughter has a book about a baby owl that uses it, and the k is very memorable. Mar 13, 2017 at 19:34
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Although q is frequently written with a hooked tail, that's not universal. Many teachers use a straight tail, as these examples show:

So I think you'd be fine with either style of q, especially since q is an uncommon letter and might not even occur in your text.

For what it's worth, when I learned to write letters, we were taught to write q with an angled tail q with angled tail. I don't think that style of writing is taught any more.

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Try this font...I too am making flashcards for Montessori School: "KG Primary Penmanship 2"

https://www.fonts.com/font/kimberly-geswein-fonts/kg-primary-penmanship/2

enter image description here

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KG Neatly Printed Spaced has a hooked q and I think the others you asked for.

I actually learned the angled tail in Australia, and was hoping to find that but no luck so far.

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  • HI Karuna, I edited your answer to be more to the point. We are a Q&A site focused on giving quality answers, so we try to refrain from banter and needless details. Thanks for your answer though. Feel free to browse the site, answer more questions, ask a question of your own and upvote quality content.
    – PieBie
    Oct 31, 2019 at 9:52
  • Thanks PieBie, I get overwhelmed by trying to figure out where to go or how to edit. I checked and my spelling of "learnt" is the accurate spelling in most of the English speaking world, except for USA where they use "learned". I don't mind if the you use the US spelling but did want you to know that "learnt" is used in more places.
    – Karuna
    Nov 1, 2019 at 19:31
  • It seems that you wrote "leant" in your original post. But thanks for the info about "learned" / "learnt". I didn't know that. :-)
    – Wolff
    Nov 5, 2019 at 17:28
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Here's a well known method for french scholar (my children used it^^).

http://en.calameo.com/read/000736902007c579ebb39

enter image description here
enter image description here

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Some years ago when I started teaching my son to read and write, I dug through my extensive font collection for just these same reasons.

The best I found at that time was Futura. It's not perfect—in particular, I am not happy with the lowercase "j", and I would have been happier with a hooked "q", but for all other letters it is excellent.

Here is what FuturaDemiBold looks like:

enter image description here

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Andika is perfect for this and free. Although its q doesn't have a hook by default, it does have one as an alternate character, explained in the manual on page 6-you can copy this character out of a glyph palette. It also has a LOT of other features you can insert: you can put a curl on the top of b and d and the bottom of the i and l to make it more like handwriting, make the stroke on the Q go through the letter, make the 4 open, put a slash through the 0 and a bar through the 7. It's an incredibly flexible family considering that it's free (they do take donations).

enter image description here

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The lowercase q usually has a hook in raleway font, but sometimes it doesn't. Google likes the lowercase q looking like a backwards p. And I dont know why. The atkinson hyperlegible font also has a hooked lowercase q, and these fonts are both sans-serif fonts. These 2 fonts have the hook in the default way (usually raleway does). Like I said, Raleway font and Atkinson hyperlegible font have a lowercase q with a hook, google fonts and the other 3 got rid of the hook on the lowercase q in raleway.

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If you are using Google, add the font kanit or karla. Their lowercase q both have a small hook tail that will help with distinguishing p from q.

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