Wondering how long (rough estimate) it would take one who is skilled with vector tools to design a full featured font with font hinting and everything.

  • 1
    I'm afraid this is really too broad to be properly answered but the shortest I've seen was two weeks full-time (9am to 11pm) with a team of 4 designers in a student context with a highly skilled mentor. Crafting Type gives a 3-day intensive workshop but I'm not sure it includes all you have listed.
    – curious
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 16:23
  • 1
    That said, don't underestimate the value of taking a step back to re-assess your work. I had a classmate back in the day who had been working on a serif for the past 4 years as a hobby. There really is no limit to how much time you can dedicate to something like designing a font...
    – curious
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 16:25
  • 1
    I can only speak for myself. I'm NOT a font designer, but I'm skilled in Adobe's applications and I have more than basic knowledge on fonts. Still it was a great challenge when I agreed to make a font for a customer. The customer only paid for about 12 hours of work but in reality I spend more than 40 hours. It was a VERY simple font based on the nordic runes and only caps. I also have a personal project where I after 40+ hours still only have the capital letters and no kerning. It's incredibly time consuming!
    – Wolff
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 16:31
  • It varies. Give yourself a treat and read about designers of nice fonts and how they work their craft: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_type_designers
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


Depends on how many glyph's you do and how much kerning you need to make. If you design a font with only the English character set punctuation and no need for kerning (or autokeerning) then you can get away with a few hours.

Indeed I have designed a font with the constraint that I could only use a text editor (think notepad) and a command line call to font forge for the task. Using only my mobile phone* (sic). By limiting myself to uppercase characters +, -, ± and diameter sign it took me about 2 hours (except that the S was a bit horrible so i had to redesign it) to do this. It has horrible kerning but works.

This is close to what the font looked like at that point, the S is different but not much (S is the only character that was hard to make with the text editor and feedback time i had), some of the other glyphs have also very minor edits**:

enter image description here

Realistically though, a few weeks to a few months is more accepted. But can take years.

* Although is did prepare 1 hour to get the tools in place.

** here is what one glyphs design looks like in the text editor after it was done:

%# B
25 0 moveto
25 100 lineto
67 100 67 60 20 arct
67 60 50 60 20 arct
25 60 lineto 
75 60 75 0 30 arct
75 0 55 0 30 arct
25 0 lineto
  • Using only your mobile phone!!! That is amazing, wow :D I would love to see that, serious designing / editing from the phone, always wondered about that, seems hard.
    – Lance
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 18:12

It depends the font type and the family styles included in the design.

The factors to consider:

  • The size of the family
  • The complexity of the project
  • The personal workload

24 hours

Hard to believe but James Barnard certifies it here. Even being a relatively simple design and only one style, 24 hours I think it's too tight (and unhealthy :-)). But the step by step description is very interesting and can help to make a font design schedule.

enter image description here

Three months

In the nineties, each issue of the quarterly design magazine Emigre used to come with several new fonts designed exclusively, this means that Zuzana Licko and her team designed at least five fonts in three months. And of course, the magazine design. It's also true that most of these fonts have only one style.


One month

I use to be guided by the time that the international typographic design competitions give to present works to the contest. The most relevant give a period between six months and a year. What I think is quite correct and even exaggerated.

Dedicating exclusively to the design of the font, once defined the conceptual and formal basis, with four families styles, I think between two weeks and a month is a right time. Always depends the design type, it's not the same a Simple Geometrical Font than a Roman Family.

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