I'm a Python developer dabbling in font creation for the first time as a side hobby using FontForge 2017-07-31 over XQuartz 2.7.11 on MacOS 10.12.6

My goal is to create a series of novelty font, in which the glyph for each letter of the alphabet will be replaced by the outline of an entire word, eg:

  • "A as in aye"
  • "B as in bee"
  • "C as in cite"
  • "D as in djinn"
  • "E as in eye"
  • ...etc...

I have no problem create a handful of glyphs manually in the FontForge UI via following steps (see images below):

  1. in Drawing Tool delete all points from original glyph
  2. use Pen Tool to create a horizontal line
  3. Element > Insert Text Outline...
  4. type in alternate word (eg "AYE") > Insert
  5. repeat for all glyphs

But given the number of words/fonts I want to create, I'd like to automate the "Insert Text Outline..." UI dialogue using FontForge scripting capability. But I don't see any corresponding methods under the scripting docs

Anyone know how I can do this? I'm open to paying for a commercial app if necessary but of course free is preferable


PS: the folks on Meta suggested I use this forum for this question, lemme know if otherwise

EDIT: this project also needs CJK support

EDIT2: adding images clarifying what I'm trying to do

Step 3 Step 3

Step 4 Step 4

Step 5 Step 5

  • How exactly will substituting a word for the letter work with CJK, where each ‘letter’ is essentially a word(-ish entity)? Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 23:31
  • I'm actually going to suggest you ask somewhere else to get any useful replies. Python programming of Fontforge is probably a bit beyond most graphic designers. Maybe the fontforge users mailing list? sourceforge.net/p/fontforge/mailman/fontforge-users
    – spiral
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


Not sure if this is worth looking at, but apparently if you have Illustrator or Photoshop, there's a plugin for creating Open Type fonts directly in those applications: https://www.fontself.com/

Blurb from the website:

Fontself Maker is an add-on for Photoshop & Illustrator CC that brings you font creation superpowers.

Enjoy a new skill in your next graphic / web / mobile / print / icon / UI / UX projects!

Create fonts in seconds (just drag & drop)

I can't vouch for it as I've never tried it, and I have no connection with that site or the developers.

  • thank you for the suggestion, unfortunately FontSelf doesn't support CJK, which is one of my requirements (have edited original post to note this point)
    – 333kenshin
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 19:32

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