Strokes of Genius: Harald Geisler Explores the Ideas — and Handwriting — of Freud and Einstein

As a teenager, Harald Geisler made a discovery while exploring a run-down house in Tel Aviv to photograph graffiti. “Suddenly a door opened, and an old man appeared,” Geisler remembers. “He was an artist, [and the] whole space was filled with his paintings — [it was] where he worked. That is when I decided to become an artist.”

Now an artist and typographer, Geisler still has a passion for exploring old things, particularly the elegant penmanship of bygone eras. He’s even created digital fonts based on the handwriting of Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.

He explains, “I like to imagine that when one uses Einstein’s handwriting as a font that a spark of his genius could reflect in one’s own writing.”

Letters in Sigmund Freud's archive.

Letters in Sigmund Freud's archive.

Comparing Einstein's handwriting (in black) to Geisler's Einstein font (in red).

Comparing Einstein's handwriting (in black) to Geisler's Einstein font (in red).

To create these fonts, Geisler spent many hours combing through archives to find examples of Freud and Einstein’s  handwriting. In the process, he became interested in a pair of letters the two exchanged in 1932, discussing if and how it would be possible to save humanity from war forever.

Geisler is using his Freud and Einstein fonts to recreate these letters for Kickstarter Gold. He'll mail the letters to backers from the same places and at the same times of year that they were sent 85 years ago. He says, “I hope to inspire [people] today to think about this topic and to maybe — with the inspiration of using Freud’s and Einstein’s handwriting — write a reply as bold and genius as their authors.”