21 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2010 10:28 PM by Shab3d

    Designing new fonts

    Shab3d

      How to design new fonts from scratch, without special software and how to convert it to open-type?

        • 1. Re: Designing new fonts
          Steve Fairbairn Level 5

          Use an application like for example Fontlab Studio. You can use Illie for the basic letter forms and copy/paste.

          • 2. Re: Designing new fonts
            Shab3d Level 1

            Thank you for the information. I was asking specifically if there is a way

            to design fonts from scratch, without buying specialized software that costs

            many hundreds of dollars, like Fontlab Studio.

             

            Is there a way to create fonts and save them as fonts, directly in

            Illustrator WITHOUT additional software?

             

            Thanks,

             

            Shab

            • 3. Re: Designing new fonts
              Silkrooster Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Kind of funny if you think about it. Adobe started out as a font company and still sells fonts. You would think Illy would easily create fonts, since Adobe has first hand knowlege in creating fonts. Here's the black eye - Corel Draw can do it...

              Personally I think Adobe does not want to ruffle any feathers with its artist's that create's the fon'ts for Adobe. But that my thought how ever wrong it may be.

              • 4. Re: Designing new fonts
                Shab3d Level 1

                Thanks for the tip about Corel.

                 

                Since I don't own Corel, but I have Illustrator, I might as well buy a

                dedicated program for creating fonts, rather than another illustration

                program which I certainly don't need.

                 

                It seems to me that you are correct about Adobe not wanting to get font

                designer angry at them.

                 

                Shab

                • 5. Re: Designing new fonts
                  JETalmage Level 6

                  FontLab just released a long-awaited new version of Fontographer, for both Windows and MacOS. Not as expensive as FontLab Studio, but quite powerful enough.

                   

                  There's nothing sinister about Illustrator's lacking font editing capability. Illustrator is missing many features available in other drawing programs (user defined ruler scales, live shape primitives, dimension tools, connector lines, inline graphics, etc., etc.). Adobe has actually given away alot of utility software related to font design (and I assume still does), but they're developers' tools, not programs with fleshed-out UIs, documentation, etc.

                   

                  JET

                  • 6. Re: Designing new fonts
                    Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                    Of course you can use Illie for creating the letterforms – I have done this frequently and usually find it easier than drawing in FontLab – but for managing your alphabets and getting them ready for the keyboard, there's really no other option than  a font design application/programme.

                    I have never liked FontLab's interface particularly, but it seems to be the best cuirrently on the market for this kind of work.

                    • 7. Re: Designing new fonts
                      JETalmage Level 6
                      I have never liked FontLab's interface particularly

                       

                      Again...Fontographer (progenitor of FreeHand) is very approachable for the average drawing program user. Always has been.

                       

                      JET

                      • 8. Re: Designing new fonts
                        bpylant Level 2

                        I'm still trying to figure out why FontLab wanted to buy (and continue developing) Fontographer in the first place... seems a bit redundant IMO, considering they already have apps for two different levels of font designers (TypeTool and FontLab).

                         

                        I'm a longtime Fontographer user, but once I switched over to FontLab I never looked back.

                        • 9. Re: Designing new fonts
                          Shab3d Level 1

                          "why FontLab wanted to buy (and continue developing) Fontographer" - Because

                          they are greedy and want to have a monopoly - isn't that always the case?

                           

                          I am not planning on designing new fonts, I think there are too many around

                          anyway, I was more curious as to how does one convert a new design, not

                          necessarily a letter character but any vector design, so one can use the

                          keyboard and generate such keyboard strokes to be displayed from the

                          keyboard.

                           

                          That would be cool without the necessity to buy a $650 program.

                           

                          Thanks.

                           

                          Shab

                          • 10. Re: Designing new fonts
                            bpylant Level 2

                            No, I would argue that it's not... they could've just bought Fontographer and retired it (to avoid future competition), absorbing any necessary features into FontLab. What I don't understand is why they continue to develop it as a separate product.

                            • 11. Re: Designing new fonts
                              Harron K. Appleman Level 4

                              ...how does one convert a new design, not necessarily a letter character but any vector design, so one can use the keyboard and generate such keyboard strokes to be displayed from the keyboard.

                               

                              That would be cool without the necessity to buy a $650 program.

                               

                              TypeTool (also from FontLab) will do that for $99.

                              • 12. Re: Designing new fonts
                                Monika Gause Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                OpenSource Editor Fontforge might also do that.

                                • 13. Re: Designing new fonts
                                  Shab3d Level 1

                                  Yes, I understand that you can do that with specialized software, the

                                  question is what does the program do that one can't do oneself to convert a

                                  design to a type font?

                                   

                                  Shab

                                  • 14. Re: Designing new fonts
                                    Monika Gause Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    you have to save vector data (together with lots of other data) in a special data format to get a font. You need a software that can combine all this data and that is able to save the format. Maybe you should just try one of the mentioned programs and work with it to get an understanding of what fonts are.

                                    • 15. Re: Designing new fonts
                                      Shab3d Level 1

                                      OK, Monica, thanks for the advise.

                                       

                                      Shab

                                      • 16. Re: Designing new fonts
                                        JETalmage Level 6
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                                        "why FontLab wanted to buy (and continue developing) Fontographer" - Because

                                        they are greedy and want to have a monopoly - isn't that always the case?

                                         

                                        Absolute nonsense. FontLab effectively rescued Fontographer (a well-liked, elegant program)  from extinction, and updated it to current OSes and file formats. (Would that Adobe had done the same with FreeHand.) So long as their business model supports that, why would you object? It's offering you more choice, not less--quite the opposite of the concept of monopoly.

                                         

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                                        I was more curious as to how does one convert a new design, not necessarily a letter character but any vector design, so one can use the keyboard and generate such keyboard strokes to be displayed from the keyboard.

                                         

                                        One opens the font database, displays it in a user interface, provides behind-the-scene functionality to allow you to swap out the outline paths that occupy the desired position, and saves the file in such a way as to have caused no damage to the original file structure, taking into consideration all the myriad details inherent in font formats.--Or, one buys a blister-packed, across-the-counter, commercial program designed for that purpose. Or, for just occasional basic clipart font-editing in the environment of a drawing program, one buys a competitive side-grade from Illustrator to CorelDraw and gets a bunch of other functionality and bundled stuff in the deal. Or, you look for opensource software that can do what you want.

                                         

                                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}That would be cool without the necessity to buy a $650 program.

                                         

                                        FontLab Studio is $650.

                                        Fontographer is $399.

                                        TypeTool is $99.

                                         

                                        Again, what is your aversion to choice? Looks to me that FontLab is offering a broader range of products for a range of users than most software vendors do. And they're doing it for a relatively tiny market segment compared to mainstream drawing programs. That all seems quite admirable to me.

                                         

                                        JET

                                        • 17. Re: Designing new fonts
                                          Shab3d Level 1

                                          Jet writes:

                                           

                                          "Again, what is your aversion to choice? Looks to me that FontLab is offering a broader range of products for a range of users than most software vendors do. And they're doing it for a relatively tiny market segment compared to mainstream drawing programs. That all seems quite admirable to me."

                                           

                                          Shab responds:

                                           

                                          Sorry, please don't misunderstand me. I have no aversion whatsoever to choices and I agree with you that the range between $650 and $99 is sufficient. Please understand also that I have no problem spending this kind of money if I needed the program for making a living or if my profession was a professional graphic designer, my questions stem from a pure curiosity angle as to what does it take to convert a drawing to a font from a technical point of view.

                                           

                                          I think that all the collective answers I received from all of you have convinced me that it is not a trivial matter to do what I was asking and indeed the only practical way of doing so is to resort to a dedicated software program.

                                           

                                          Furthermore, my choice of words regarding why FontLab bought Fontographher, was obviously poor - I can see now that this is not the case.

                                           

                                          Again, my apologies if I have stepped on some toes or might have offended anyone on this forum.

                                           

                                          For those of you who are interested, the whole question of fonts and how they are created and the discussion that followed was motivated by a movie I watched recently called "Helvetica" which I have no doubt many of you have seen. I am no movie critic, but I think the movie was presented very well and in spite of the obvious title, was done in a rather objective way. For those of you who have not seen the movie, I recommend it. It is available for rent through Netflix. Here is what they say about it:

                                           

                                          Helvetica - 2007

                                           

                                          We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs -- and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit's unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, a font whose readability has made it the most popular in the world. Interviews with designers and artists offer insight into the development, use and universal acceptance of Helvetica as the typeface of choice for everything from writing letters to creating corporate logos.

                                           

                                          Format: DVD, Blu-ray and streaming

                                           

                                          Shab

                                          • 18. Re: Designing new fonts
                                            Harron K. Appleman Level 4

                                            Thanks for the movie recommendation, Shab. I had not heard of it, and I will rent it.

                                            • 19. Re: Designing new fonts
                                              Shab3d Level 1

                                              You are welcome Harron, I think you will enjoy it. It has interesting

                                              interviews with many famous graphic designers and commentaries by writers on

                                              the topic.

                                               

                                              Shab

                                              • 20. Re: Designing new fonts
                                                Silkrooster Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                I watched part of that movie. I think it was on PBS or Discovery, but it was a bit boring so I didn't see the whole thing. Maybe if I was a type fanatic then it would be interesting. lol.

                                                • 21. Re: Designing new fonts
                                                  Shab3d Level 1

                                                  I will admit, the movie doesn't have any car chases, blood scenes, guns or

                                                  nudity, instead it has good old fashioned content and interesting opinions.

                                                  Certainly not the type of movie if you are looking for fast action.

                                                   

                                                  Shab