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Ask DN: Resources for creating a typeface?

over 7 years ago from

I'm interested in learning a little about typography and creating typefaces. Are there any recommended resources I should check out regarding this?

Instant reaction is "Oh my god it's so complicated, don't try", but I'm just interested in trying this stuff out right now.

Now, I might be in fairytale land right now, but I could swear I saw a tool a little while ago for making fonts where you can push and pull to control certain elements, like the curve on the bottom of a letter, for example, and it changes it across the whole typeface. Did I imagine it or does such a thing exist?

9 comments

  • Marc Olivier LapierreMarc Olivier Lapierre, over 7 years ago

    That might be what you're looking for: prototypo.io.

    It was on Kickstarter last year I think. I don't have access to it though so I don't know how well it performs.

    1 point
  • Ivan KIvan K, over 7 years ago

    /r/typography comment may be useful.

    0 points
  • Erik BeesonErik Beeson, over 7 years ago

    While it's no doubt much simpler than the other suggestions made here, I can't recommend enough iFontMaker for iPad.

    For $7, I think it's pretty hard to beat: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ifontmaker/id377381670?mt=8

    0 points
  • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, over 7 years ago

    For free options, there's a very powerful, but rather cumbersome to use free (open source) app called FontForge and a web based font designer called Glyphr Studio.

    0 points
  • Mitch De CastroMitch De Castro, over 7 years ago

    Last semester, we created our own fonts using FontLab Studio via our iMac lab but for an individual copy, its a bit pricey.

    Its a pretty dense program and we actually did much of the initial design using Illustrator and then copied & pasted into FontLab. (This was our professor's method of type design and it also allowed him to easily check our progress without us having to purchase individual FontLab licenses.) Some of us used existing fonts as a base and modified them heavily and others started entirely from scratch with pencil & paper. I didn't come across any global modification features with it like the tool that you mentioned with the exception of kerning and side-bearings but like I said, it's a dense tool so I might have missed others.

    For cheaper alternatives, check out Glyphs. Haven't tried it out myself but I've heard good things about it and there's a free trial version.

    As for literature, I'd recommend Ellen Lupton's Thinking with Type. It's a nice, brief guide into typography.

    0 points
    • Geoff RogersGeoff Rogers, over 7 years ago

      Glyphs Mini is pretty great. Sadly they don't have a mini version of the new Glyphs 2.0, but the app still has a solid range of features. As a beginner you won't even know what you're missing. It's plenty advanced. I speak as a beginner.

      Thinking With Type is a pretty great general introduction to typography. If you're mainly interested in type design - as I was - then Designing Type is absolutely brilliant. The Geometry of Type is also great to browse and rich with inspiration, but less instructive.

      If you want to go deeper, either The Elements of Typographic StyleorLetter Fountain are full of amazing information. Honestly I haven't read either of these cover-to-cover, but if you're seriously interested you'll probably get more out of either of these than a dozen of the lighter books.

      (I have the hardback of Letter Fountain and only just saw the paperback is out. Trust me, for £20 that's a bargain!)

      2 points
      • Mitch De CastroMitch De Castro, over 7 years ago

        Glyphs Mini looks awesome! I hadn't looked that deep into Glyphs and I was always concerned about the lack of more features but then again, I probably only used like 5% of FontLab's features.

        0 points
      • Jeremy TinianowJeremy Tinianow, over 7 years ago

        +1 for Glyphs Mini. You can copy and paste straight from Illustrator, and set conditional kerning visually. Very easy to get started.

        0 points
  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 7 years ago

    I think the tool you're thinking of was a Kickstarter, I forget the name of it though.

    0 points