Balham to Brooklyn cursive handwriting font

Balham to Brooklyn—without question the most complicated font I've designed yet. I've done my best to make it look like handwriting while trying to give it that nostalgic American feel. I know there are many cute, cursive handwritten fonts already, but I wanted to create my own. I needed to get this out of my system. I'm glad I did, as it's going to be a while before I attempt a handwriting style font again. I always say that but never stick to it. Must be a glitch in the Matrix—Déjà vu man. Déjà vu.

Handwriting is tough

Proper handwriting fonts are a real pain in the arse to create, and Balham to Brooklyn was no exception—let me explain why. Each lowercase letter of Balham to Brooklyn has 4 versions

  • A start character
  • A middle character
  • An End character
  • An Isolated character

Plus each uppercase letter has 3 versions. The reason for all the extra characters—it makes it look better, more natural. Extra drawing work, sure, but that's fine. The main pain is kerning.

Contextual alternatives to the rescue

With those 4 different character shapes, I use contextual alternatives to automatically choose the right letter. Is it at the beginning, middle, end or is it on its own. It's a smart way to change the appearance of each word and make it look better. It's hard to explain but easy to show you.

Kerning—the stuff of nightmares

Kerning a hand-drawn font is the stuff of nightmares. Weeks of work and in total I have over 5000 kerning pairs, that's crazy.

Balham to Brooklyn typeface

Image of Balham to Brooklyn (Image removed)

The inspiration

The inspiration Balham to Brooklyn was lots of things, from previous attempts at creating a script typeface to old American neon signs. It's me absorbing things—popular culture. America and watching too much Fast N' Loud on discovery channel. This is my take on that cutesy, nostalgic slice of America. It's Krispy Kreme sweet and more than a touch retro. It's ideally suited for packaging, logo work, branding, occasions, invites, posters and anything creative. I called it Balham to Brooklyn. I got the name from a Turin Breaks song, it seemed like the perfect fit. The two places are so contrasting, Balham, London to Brooklyn USA.

Balham to Brooklyn 

The font format is OTF, it only has one weight. It includes all standard glyphs with contextual alternatives. The typeface includes support for Western, Central and South Eastern languages. It has uppercase/lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols. To get the real hand-drawn effect you must turn on contextual alternatives in your design application. In total, it has 937 glyphs. I have even thrown in a selection of alternative uppercase letters.


Cursive fonts can have very similar shapes. That's because letters can only join up so many ways. You have to make it join at the right point, or it won't join—duh! That limitation is annoying. Kerning cursive fonts is annoying.