1 Inventions of Ian James
2 Other writing systems
3 Font & script services

The Art & Science of Script-making


1 Inventions of Ian James

1.1 Miscellaneous scripts

In the process of developing a writing system for the a priori language SIGIL (see 1.2 below), I became interested in orthographical experiments and problem-solving in the contexts of other languages. Many of the resulting scripts can also be found on Simon Ager’s excellent website Omniglot. Note that the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is used throughout to transcribe the sounds.

1.1.1 Various experiments  
1.1.2 The original Phonological Cypher Series (2011-2015) 1.1.3 More phonological cyphers (since 2015)

1.2 Scripts for SIGIL

The writing system for SIGIL has been in parallel development with the a priori language since 2006. The language enforces phonological specifications upon the script, and the needs of writing and reading also make practical demands upon the design. These conflicting aspects have resulted in numerous experiments and revisions, but in almost every case, the design is phonetic-featural. Details about the language and its evolution will be found in the book Language for the World. Note that versions 1 through 23 of the script (and one or two others) were rejected from this list, being either structurally awkward or visually unappealing.

The SIGIL language (including its phoneme set) is in the final stages of development. I am mostly satisfied with Slinseng-Fi, Slinsen-Yi and Pranish for the writing of it, and these will be representative in published articles from now on.

1.3 Visual index

See a list of my invented scripts, which can be identified at a glance. UPDATED with NEW

1.4 Tattoos

See a discussion of how neographies make great tattoos. HOT

1.5 Artificial voice

This is an example of my developing Vox program speaking the first line of Shakespeare’s sonnet 18, using original pronunciation. It can actually sing better than this. NEW

session 9th January 2016

1.6 Pangram and Panphone

Glad you asked. Have a look at two of my linguistic inventions. NEW



2 Other writing systems

2.1 Traditional scripts for natural languages

Some ancient scripts are under-appreciated, usually for lack of proper presentation; some more recent scripts are very beautiful. These pages try to fill in some gaps. In many cases, I have developed fonts for use in the charts; some fonts are available to the public.

2.2 Various other invented scripts

Over recent centuries, some individuals have designed writing systems for personal use or for special occasions. Others have wanted something distinctive for their previously unwritten language. This is a small but still expanding set of interesting examples, in chronological order. Again, some charts use fonts I have developed myself.

2.2.1 Pre-modern inventions

2.2.2 Modern inventions (IPA and beyond)



3 Font & script services

  • Thaitrans – this free program allows typing of Thai without a Thai keyboard. HOT
  • Enckey – this program allows simple editing of text having complex encoded glyphs; for example we can type New Mong using only the Latin-based RPA.

(You may like to offer motivation for continued research & development :)


metal type - section mark


All material on this page © Ian James.
Last updated Dec.29,2017