As we mentioned in class, some of you may be interested in digitizing your typeface. To create a digital type, you will need the right software. The primary use of font editors is to outline letterforms and create a TrueType, OpenType, Postscript, or some other type of font collection.
Here are a few font creation software programs you may consider:
High end font editor for designing or modifying fonts. This software is condsidered the industry standard, so it’s going to cost you (!!) $649. However, I like the 30-day free trial. Lara and I both used FontLab Studio and highly recommend it for its consistency and ease of use.
Fontifier converts your handwriting to a computer font. I haven’t tried this, but it looks pretty easy (7 steps, and only costs $9). This is a tool for generating usable fonts based on your handwriting.
Professional, commercial tool for creating new fonts or modifying existing ones. Expands existing fonts to include fractions, symbols, foreign characters, and logos in Type 1, Type 3, and TrueType fonts. In June 2010, Fontographer version 5.0 was released by FontLab.
FontForge is an open-source postscript font editor that allows you to create and edit TrueType, OpenType, Postscript, etc. It can do almost everything FontLab does, BUT you have to download and install it to your computer, which requires a lot of technical knowledge. There are detailed tutorials on how to install FontForge.
FontStruct is a free font-building tool that provides simple tools to color in integrated blocks. You can fill out just one key letter or a whole font, and offer it up as an easy-to-install TrueType font. Using FontStruct’s tools requires a free sign-up, or you could just browse FontStruct’s library of original fonts for download. It’s pretty cool, but I find it somewhat limiting when it comes to the fine details of type.
TypeTool is an entry-level product with some features that allow you add ligatures, special characters, em and en dashes, etc. to your fonts. From their website, TypeTool is a “font editor for beginners, students, and hobby typographers”.
Do your research before you buy: try the free-download demos, read the forums for user reviews, play around with several programs, etc. Maybe you’ll like FontStruct, or maybe you’re a tech-genius and will be comfortable with FontForge. You may also start out with TypeTool, and in the future, once you became more advanced and need more features, you’ll to upgrade to FontLab.
Be sure to check with CAVA to see if they carry any of these programs! Remember to have fun with this assignment!!!