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Can someone tell me which program I use to make my own font?

I am aware that letters in a font file are vector-based, and that I can use a vector program like Adobe Illustrator to design and export these. I am looking for a program that will let me create my own font-file (.ttf or similar), which I can install and use in other programs.

example of font I want to export

  • Sorry, but why does someone vote this post down? Did I do anything wrong? I just want to know, I am new here... – LUEH Mar 20 '16 at 22:54
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    Hello @LUEH: I've edited your question to better fit our Q&A style. This is not a forum, so there is no need for hellos and goodbyes. If you think I've changed your question too much, you can always edit it back. – PieBie Mar 21 '16 at 10:48
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This answer is heavily based on this article. I'll summarise it here, but please read the full thing.

  1. Think

It might be very tempting to start designing in Illustrator right away. Don't. The first thing you want to do is sit down and start making decisions. What type of font (serif or sans), what is the targeted use (body text for long documents, headlines, decorative, ...), what will be unique about it, ... There are a billion things to decide before you start.

  1. Draw

Before using the computer, you might want to draw some characters by hand. Usually, it's faster and more flexible to sketch out basic letterforms on paper. Choose a few key letters to design and start getting creative.

  1. Create

Only now should you move to the computer. You can convert some of your sketches to vector in Illustrator by tracing them if you want, so you can use them later. But if you really want to design a complete font, you should use a dedicated program like Fontlab studio, Glyphs, Robofont or FontForge. Most offer a free trial, FontForge is free. These programs are extensive, and have quite the learning curve, so be prepared to get your hands dirty.

  1. Test

Test early and test often. While creating your letterforms, pay extra attention to common words and ligatures. Test different spacings, sizes, kernings, etc. Try printing your typeface, sometimes this will reveal things just not obvious on a screen.

  1. Beware of the rabbit hole

First and foremost, designing a typeface should be fun. It's quite a steep learning curve and the task can be quite daunting. One article will always lead to the next, and before you know it, you've read three books on typeface design, and haven't created a single letter. As said before, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Create a few very basic typefaces first, and step up your game with every one that you make. Revisit old ones once you get more experience and refine them.

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If you're loooking for an unexpensive and easy way to make fonts in Illustrator and Photoshop I would recommend you to try making fonts with Fontself

Disclaimer: I am developing it so if you have any questions you can look at the website and open the chatbox if neeeded.

We designed it to be as easy as possible so you won't find the billion features like in other pro apps (designed for typographers) and it would make it easier for you I think.

If your Illustrator file is ready, you would have to drag & drop your shapes on it and after you will be able to export it. (This would take you 1 minute only!).

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It's a bit more complicated than an export option in Illustrator, unfortunately. You'll need special font creation software to export and use your font. The industry standard at the moment is FontLab Studio, which you can find at their website. If you really intend of starting a font foundry, you should get some professionals to help you with that. However, I'm going to assume this is more of a side project, which would make FontLab at $650 a bit pricey. In that case, I'd recommend FontForge, which I've heard is quite decent – I can't say I've had a lot of experience with it myself.

I'd recommend not doing the letters in Illustrator as you suggested. While Illustrator is an excellent program, it is not built for font creation, and there are a lot of aspects to it that Illustrator doesn't support. Those include ligatures, alternate glyphs, and various OpenType features, not to mention that fact that Illustrator simply can't export to a font file. If you intend to make the font, do the whole thing in the font creation program.

I'm not sure of your experience level, but I'd just say that making a good font is not a simple or easy project. It's one of those mediums that it's easy to learn but difficult to master – and it's not even that easy to learn. If you want to jump head-first into it, more power to you, but take some time to learn as much as you can from the internet and books about what makes a good font.

Good luck!

  • Thank you really much for your comment, I will defently learn more about fonts, but I actually did not expect that I need to learn that much. I just edit my first post and give you an example of a font I want to create, if I ever know how it works to do a font :-) – LUEH Mar 20 '16 at 22:50
  • Is it not possible to take letter shapes from Illustrator (or other vector tool) and copy them to font-creation software? I imagine many people would prefer the toolset of illustrator for glyph creation. – PixelSnader Mar 21 '16 at 11:40
  • @PixelSnader Yes it is. Font software have better and different spline tools available that are sometimes better for font creation. – joojaa Mar 22 '16 at 17:31
  • @PixelSnader Sort of. You can copy & paste, but the standard font editors like FontLab Studio in its current version use a grid and will round each control point. So copy and paste will easily ruin your designs. As it was already mention, designing characters in the font editor directly is usually the best option. – opentype Apr 12 '16 at 11:22
  • @joojaa I'm not so sure about better. I'm no pro but I've tried making the step from logo/wordmark to font several times and always found font editors very clunky to work with. For example, the vast majority of vector programs have a snap-to-grid function. Font-Forge doesn't. It only snaps to hand-made guide lines. And though shift-drag makes a circle/square (vs oval or rectangle) if it snaps to a guide it does so only in one direction. – PixelSnader Apr 13 '16 at 19:41
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There are several software's that allow you to create fonts. Popular ones include: FontLab, Fontforge and Glyphs.

If you want to get started right away, without spending too much money, there is a free book available online, which guides you through the font design process with FontForge. You might find it useful as a starting point. The book is available at http://designwithfontforge.com/en-US/index.html

Hope this helps.

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I use Corel Draw to create my fonts from start to finish. No other programs required. I create my vectors and export as TTF files. Super easy. This site has a great tutorial on how to do it. The article DOES say "it lacks the tools and resources to implement professional-level kerning, metrics, and spacing refinements", but for my use I've never found it to be an issue.

Create custom fonts, Part 1

Create custom fonts, Part 2

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