Jarno Lukkarila developed the retail typeface Alku, based on the handwriting model Perusopetuksen mallikirjaimet, or Model letters for basic education, which he had created on the behest of the Opetushallitus (OPH), or Finnish National Agency for Education.
Used for teaching primary school students in Grades 1 and 2, the typeface can be seen in handwriting books like Tsemppi Käsiala A (2020) and Loikka 3 Kielitaito (2022), which are produced by one of the most important educational publishers in Finland, Otava Oppimisen.
Alku consists of only one set of unjoined simplified print letters with a slight slant. The lowercase letters have short extenders, spurs and some require pen-lifts and more than a single stroke to write. The “q”, “z“ and “7” also feature a horizontal stroke or bar.
As per the recommendations of the Opetushallitus, joining letters are not included, though the natural occurrence of connections due to fast and fluent handwriting is considered acceptable.