How to Create Fonts

People are always interested in the creation of fonts. I was too, so I looked at many font sites to see what I could find. I read instructions, made some fonts, and now I am giving my own. I have used a variety of methods, but am trying to include the best from all of them. So hopefully something in my methods will help.

First thing you should do get a font creation program. I personally use Fontographer, a commercial program from Macromedia. There are some shareware programs available, such as Softy, but I have no experience with using them. You can try searching archives like Make sure you have a program that can make fonts from scratch, not one that just changes an existing font.

Next you need to come up with an idea. This is always the hardest part for me. I usually start by doodling in a notebook until I find something that looks good. Then you should draw the font on paper, the larger, the better. I read once that you should make the letters in this order - H M E O A N U B R S h m n r u o b e a s g - then make the rest, but I usually just start drawing whatever characters come to mind.

Then scan it into a graphics program. I generally use the Line Art scan setting, because you are less likely to get stray marks that way. If that doesn't work, scan in greyscale, then convert to a 2 color file in the graphics program. You probably will need to edit out the quirks and stray marks left over from the scanning process.

Now it is time to fire up Fontographer (or whatever program you are using) and open a new file. The first thing I do is to go to the Font Info - General section and type in a name and copyright information. Save this file.

Now you are ready to actually make the font. Use the copy function in your graphics program to grab one (just one at a time) of the letters. Then you should paste it into the corresponding character place in Fontographer.

The AutoTrace function is the most incredible part. You just click some buttons, and bingo, your picture is now covered with lines that make up a character outline. You might need to play with the settings and line shapes until you get letters that you like.

Now do the minor touch-ups. Take the green bar on the right (in Fontographer) and put it how the spacing should be. I also like to use the Clean Up Paths and Correct Path Direction functions.

Keep copying and pasting until you get all the letters into the program. Yes, it can get very tedious, especially if the character shapes are strange in the first place. Make sure you save often.

After all of the letters are in Fontographer, you might want to use the Auto Kern. You are now finally ready to generate a font file -- just click the buttons. Make sure that you test the font thoroughly -- there is a good chance you have made some problems somewhere, and the font will crash you computer. This happens to me all the time. Usually some lines will be overlapping or points on top of each other or something. You need to fix those or the fonts will not work. Once you get all the kinks worked out, congratulations.

If you are successful, send me an e-mail telling me about it - I would love to see your work. Also, if you have any questions about making or using fonts, you can reach me there as well. Have a great day.

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