The challenges of SignWriting 2020 highlight the issues around standardization, exploration, and debate.

Sutton SignWriting is the universal and complete solution for written sign language, ISO 15924 script code "Sgnw". It has been applied by a wide and deep international community of sign language users. Sutton SignWriting is an international standard for writing sign languages by hand or with computers. From education to research, from entertainment to religion, SignWriting has proven useful because people are using it to write signed languages.

The Sutton SignWriting Standards are a practical set of components that developed over time during SignWriting's forty-plus years of existence. 80% of financial supporters on Patreon rate the standards as great. 20% rate the standards as almost good enough. The Internet Draft specification has been reviewed and rated a 9/10.

These standards are presented for SignWriting 2020 as the long term storage encoding for Sutton SignWriting. This work is provided for review and consideration. These standards continue to spread. These standards are the defacto standard for SignWriting.

Alternatively, there is the potential for a different solution to SignWriting. The solution could extend our current standards, or the solutions could radically change aspects of the specification.

Individuals or groups are invited to pick a challenge and see where it goes. We prefer working solutions, but we are willing to consider a partial or alternative idea. Participants should contribute to the SignWriting Symposium 2020 with either an update or a full presentation.

Unicode Standard

A worldwide character standard which only addresses the encoding and semantics of text.

The Unicode Standard is based on eight principles: Universal repertoire, Logical order, Efficiency, Unification, Characters not glyphs, Dynamic composition, Semantics, Stability, Plain Text, Convertibility.

Ideally, SignWriting would be fully integrated into the Unicode Standard. In reality, the process has stalled. We are looking for ideas to restart and reinvigorate the process.

For additional reading, consider "Pragmatic Unicode, or, How do I stop the pain?", "Chinese Characters Are Futuristic and the Alphabet Is Old News", "Analysis of the different methods to encode SignWriting in Unicode", "SignWriting Layout Discussion v2", and "New engine feature proposal".

Script Encoding

Sutton SignWriting is a different class of script than other scripts. It uses two-dimensional arrangements of symbols to create signs.

A viable script encoding for Sutton SignWriting must be able to write any sign using a character string. We are looking for ideas and alternate script encodings which can fully define a sign and a sentence.

Font Design

A font design must transform characters into individual symbols or complete signs.

A usable font must work across operating systems and with the various text rendering systems. For maximum coverage, the Universal Shaping Engine offers the best hope.

We are looking for ideas and alternate font designs which can faithfully produce symbol or sign images.