Signato is a font constructed on the basis of the manuscript of the Act of Independence of Lithuania. It is a gift to all independent people celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the restoration of the State.
The whole project took more than 6 months. First of all, a high-resolution scan of the Act of Independence of Lithuania had to be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then the person who wrote the Act had to be identified because some characters were missing in the resolution of February the 16th. When the handwriting was established as Jurgis Šaulys’s, the missing characters were created according to other documents written by J. Šaulys and found in the archives. It took a highly skilled typographer over 120 hours to construct the font.
Signato is very special. While typing, you will notice that it is a much more sophisticated handwritten font than others. Spaces between words will not be perfectly identical, and the same two words when typed next to each will not look the same either, thus giving an impression that the text is actually written by hand.
Every letter and numeral of the font has at least several variations. Lowercase letters have different junctions for the beginning, the middle part and the end of the word. Signato also includes combinations of two letters (typographic ligatures) for more diversity in writing. Signato has a total of over 450 Latin, Lithuanian and German characters. By being precisely imperfect, Signato gives you a realistic impression of a handwritten text.
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For about 70 years no one had any idea where the Independence Act was, until university professor Liudas Mažylis found its originals in Lithuanian and German on March 29th, 2017.
The document of historical significance was secretly signed in Vilnius in 1918, when WW I was drawing to an end. During this time Lithuania experienced a switch between occupations: formerly under Tsarist Russia’s rule for 120 years, Lithuania was at that time occupied by Kaiser German Empire in 1915. This geopolitical situation was taken as an opportunity to restore the Lithuanian state. After Germany lost the war, Lithuania was recognised as a sovereign state.
In order to sign the document at the time, the Vilnius Conference had to be convened to elect The Council of Lithuania and to adopt the resolution of February the 16th, today known as the Act of Independence of Lithuania. Both, the political left and right, united and 20 Council members in Vilnius on February the 16th, 1918, declared the restoration of the state, built on the foundations of democratic principles and denouncing any former government ties with foreign nations.
Needless to say, the invaders have not just disappeared. After the restoration of independence was announced, Lithuania was still under the German rule. They banned the publishing of the Act and insisted that the Council of Lithuania declare an eternal union with Germany. Luckily for Lithuanians, on November a revolution broke out in Germany and Lithuania was not annexed to it, which led to the final recognition of independent Lithuania.
Paradoxically, it was not Lithuanians but Germans who learnt about the announcement of Lithuania’s independence first. The Act of February the 16th was published on February the 18th in the Berlin newspaper Vossische Zeitung. Later on, after German censors interfered, publicising the document was banned not only in Lithuania but in Germany too. Germany did everything possible to discredit the members of the Lithuanian Council and to prevent the establishment of a sovereign state. Only in mid-October of 1918, Berlin finally gave up and granted permission to form the government of Lithuania.
It is very simple to use Signato. Just download and install the font alongside the ones you have been using. You will be able to use Signato in all your favourite programs (e.g. MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Keynote). If you have never tried installing a new font in your computer before, read the following short instructions.