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I have tried my hand at designing a font, and have made the individual SVG files for each character on Inkscape. Looking at other things about this topic, the answer always seems to be something along the lines of "You should make the font in an actual font application". I know this, but is there any way of converting an/many Inkscape files into a .ttf format? I could put each character in the one file if need be.

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Short answer – no. There is a lot more to designing a font than just designing the glyphs and doing a "Save As". There are a number of things Illustrator or Inkscape can't do with regards to your new font - Spacing, kerning, hinting, metadata etc. That is why you need a font editor.

Most type designers will draw the shapes directly in the font editor as their drawing tools are designed and optimised specifically for creating letterforms. Most font editors will however allow you to import paths from Illustrator or Inkscape, there are some things you need to take in to consideration first though.

  • Your paths in the font editor will normally snap to a 1000 × 1000 UPM grid so you will need to set up a corresponding grid in Illustrator/Inkscape first and snap everything to that grid or you could end up with distorted paths.

  • Paths will need to be the correct size too, I usually set up an artboard 1000pt × 1000pt then import with the settings set to import 1pt = 1UPM.

  • You may need to move the zero point on your ruler too, so that the paths import in the correct position. This may vary depending on what programs you use though.

Here are some posts about exporting paths from Illustrator to FontLab - but the idea should translate to whatever programs you are using.

Once you have your paths in your font editor, then you can start worrying about things like spacing and kerning.

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FontForge allows you to batch import SVGs (and other vector files) via file → import. I quote the documentation:

[…] you may either select several image files and they will be loaded consecutively into selected glyphs, or you may select an image template and all images whose filename match that template will be loaded into the backgrounds of the appropriate glyphs. Image templates look like “uni*.png” or “enc*.gif” or “cid*.tiff”. You select the template by selecting a filename which matches that template – So if you select “uni1100.gif” then all image files which start with “uni” and end with “.gif” and contain a valid unicode number will be loaded and placed in the appropriate place. Files named “enc*” or “cid*” are handled similarly except that they specify the current encoding (and the number must be in decimal rather than hex).

Then you can theoretically directly save the result as a TTF, but the result will very likely not be a good font and also not comply to standards. So, you best put some work into your font after importing it to FontForge.

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Icomoon will do a good job of creating a custom font from a number of svg files.

As you allude to in your question, this isn't a substitute to making the font in a specialist app but it's certainly a great way to use your svg files as one font file. If you want an easy way to consume your glyphs on the web this is the/one way to go.

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