When I was young and do bad things, my punishment was always to write. Fight with my sister? I’d have to write “I will not get into fights with my sister” over and over again. When I was, I hated writing. If I only knew then when I know now…maybe things would have been different.
I was taught calligraphy in 4th grade with a traditional calligraphy pen. Calligraphy, I thought, was bad ass. It was fun pretending to write the Constitution of the United States. But always in the back of my mind, the punishment of writing repetitive statements just always drove me crazy. Fast forward two decades and here I am obsessing over well design typefaces and characters. Life is weird.
The one thing I was never taught in college was how to take my designed typefaces and make them into viable computer fonts. I never knew how that process worked. Only after the recent explosion once again with hand lettering, sign painting and type design that more information was readily available and I discovered many resources on how to actually create and use my typefaces on projects, setting the type in InDesign or even using them on the web.
I encountered applications like Glyphs, FontCreator, BirdFont and Fontlab. All of which are fantastic applications for creating your own typefaces. I ended up gravitating towards FontForge because of its impressive documentation. After learning the ropes of FontForge, I was gave a presentation at Central Penn Adobe User Group (CPAUG) on how to get started with designing type and cleaning it up in Adobe Illustrator and taking it into FontForge for output. You can see my presentation below.
Things that I learned about creating my own typefaces.
Be patient, a well-designed typeface can take a long time to get it just right.
Be flexible, iterating and testing out how the characters will work is crucial.
Understand how other typefaces are structured and what their use is.
Learn from the pros; Doyald Young, Mark Simonson, just to name two and there are many more.