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.
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**:
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:
glyph %# B newpath 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 stroke
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
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.
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.
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.