Many sites, such as Google Fonts, offer hundreds of fonts. There is so much choice and it’s a euphemism!
Nevertheless, there are many reasons for not wanting to use a font that another has designed.
Discover how to make your own font.
Why Ceate Your Own Font?
It should be known that the creation of a font can be very technical, time consuming and expensive. The intended use for your font will help you calculate how much time and money you can put into its design.
Whether it’s just for fun or testing, digital handwriting converters are just what you need. It is software that “translates” a text written on Word into a manuscript, giving it the appearance of a message written by hand and not on a machine.
If you need a font for a specific project, you may want to take some time to learn the basics and use some more complex software. This is the category we are going to talk about here.
Finally, if you plan to create a font to make it available to others afterwards, you will probably have to invest much more time in the process. And most importantly, invest in professional software.
The Basic Tools to Start Well
Before starting this tutorial, let’s look at some basic tools.
- FontStruct (Free): Here you can create your font using geometric shapes.
- PaintFont (Free): This service allows you to turn a handwriting into a font, filling in and scanning a pattern.
- Metaflop (Free): This tool allows you to customize basic fonts.
- FontSelf (Paying): This tool allows you to transform hand-drawn characters into font through Adobe Illustrator. Comes soon compatible with Adobe Photoshop.
Take the tutorial itself, now!
Step 1: Design the specifications of your writing font
It is essential to have a clear definition of one’s goals. Some questions to ask yourself for this purpose:
- Will this font be for a specific project or for a larger project?
- Will this application require a large or small text size?
- Do you want your font to be with or without a wheelbase?
- Do you have in mind some fonts that you could inspire?
Step 2: Start creating your paper writing font
It could obviously be tempting to immediately jump on your software. But many professionals will advise you to start on paper. Trying to create the shapes you want, true to your vision, can quickly become complicated and time consuming on a computer. A pen and paper are generally much easier and faster to use.
Some useful tips for designing your letters on paper:
- You do not necessarily need to draw all the letters of the alphabet; the recommended “control characters” are often “H”, “o”, “y”, and “n”.
- Draw the important lines to guide you later.
- Look at other existing fonts to spot recurring shapes from one letter to another.
- Moving the page instead of your hand will allow you to create softer curves.
Step 3: Choose and install your software
Many free software is available to design a typography. It’s important to find the one that will be most comfortable to use, and that will also have the features you need to reach your goal.
FontForge is an open source digital font editor, so free. He has extensive online documentation that can help you get started (in English only).
While the interface can be daunting at first glance, once you get used to the software, FontForge becomes a powerful tool for creating beautiful fonts.
You can create your font from scratch or load font images that you can use as a starting point.
Birdfont is slightly more intuitive than FontForge. So this may be a better option to start writing fonts.
Just like FontForge, you can use the editor to do anything from scratch, or load images as a starting point. However, even if there are tutorials online, they are not as accurate as those of FontForge.
Note that Birdfont is free to create fonts under SIL free font license. For commercial use of your font, the software requires a $5 donation.
While the 2 software already mentioned are to download and install on your computer, Glyphr Studio is an interface directly online.
In terms of ease of use, Glyphr Studio is between FontForge and Birdfont. Slightly more intuitive than FontForge, Glyphr Studio offers an interface design aesthetically more pleasing than the other two.
You will also find a lot of information about Glyphr Studio online, although less than for FontForge, again.
Also, while this tool does not load an image, you can load font files for editing later.
Although these three tools offer similar options, it is ultimately according to everyone’s preferences to make their choice. You can test two or all three to see which seems the easiest to access.
Step 4: Start creating
Once the software is installed, you are ready to create your font.
Depending on the software chosen, you can do it all by yourself, load images from your handwritten lines as starting points or load a font file to edit.
Once your control characters are designed, you can extend your font to other letters, numbers, and special characters.
This step can be quite long, the time to get your hands and get used to the software. But practice will allow you to quickly speed up the process. To help you, here are some technical terms you must know:
- Glyph: any typographic sign (character or accent) is considered a glyph
- Base line or foot line: the invisible line on which all characters will be positioned (and below which the letter legs extend, like the “p” bar).
- Jamb: part of some letters (like the p or the y) that extends under the foot line
- Handle or barrel: the main vertical line of a character, like the T or L. Can also be diagonal, and is then called “diagonal”
- Panse or roundness: closed and rounded part of certain letters like a or d.
- Bezier Curve: Mathematical paradigm used to design scalable curves.
We scratch only on the surface of the subject here. For the more visual people, online diagrams clearly show the terms mentioned above.
Step 5: Refine the entire writing font
During the creation of characters, it is easy to focus only on the letters, one by one. However, it is also important to consider what they will look like as a whole.
Here are some tips to continue refining your characters:
- Pay attention to the spaces and kernings between the letters; during the creation process, combine pairs of letters (A and V for example) to check their spacing.
- Test many different sizes for each character.
- Print your work regularly during the creative process; to see on paper his creation makes it easier to spot possible subtle errors.
At this point, we are almost there! Last step in approach. You have designed the design of your font, selected and tamed your software, transferred your paper font to digital format and refined it to perfection. It remains to use it online!
Step 6: Load your font on WordPress
Once the work is done, you will want to test your font.
If the goal was to use it on your WordPress website, there are many methods for doing this. The simplest is to use a plugin, one of the most famous in the field being Use Any Font.
This plugin automatically converts your files, extracts CSS code and encodes it into the files of your theme. Your font will be accessible like any other font in WordPress.
This plugin works with .ttf, .otf and .woff extensions. It is free for converting a single font. For $10 or more, you can convert an unlimited number of fonts.
If you prefer not to use a plugin, another option is to add your font in your own CSS code.
First, you will need to use a generator like Font Squirrel or Transfer to get the necessary code. You can then add this code to the theme’s style file named style.css. For more precision on this way, many online tutorials will guide you step by step.
Tools for professionals
Finally, if you want to go a little further in the creation of fonts, and seek to create fonts for other uses, full of more comprehensive tools are waiting for you.
FontCreator, FontLab Studio, Glyphs vs Robofont are some of the most popular options used by professional typographers.