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?)

  • 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 '17 at 12:07
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    Why not Futura? However 'q' with a hook... are you sure?? – Vinny Mar 13 '17 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 '17 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 at 7:16

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 '17 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. – Scribblemacher Mar 13 '17 at 19:37
  • Also, I am over the age of 7 and I do write a hooked q! – Scribblemacher Mar 13 '17 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 '17 at 20:21
  • Atleast Finland does not teacj a q by hooking it backwards. – joojaa Mar 14 '17 at 6:42

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.

  • 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. – Scribblemacher Mar 13 '17 at 19:34

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.


About Futura... I wish I could post this as a comment, since it's not an answer really, but I wanted to add a few pictures:
Here's a well known method for french scholar (my children used it^^). For information purposes only... http://en.calameo.com/read/000736902007c579ebb39 enter image description here
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Try this font...I too am making flashcards for Montessori School: "KG Primary Penmanship 2"


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