Make your own font

Visual Design twenty-seven thousand eight hundred and thirty-three 14 years ago (2010-10-26)
You are a talented designer, a master of calligraphy with superb skills, and have learned all about Serif Side bearings, Knowledge of kerning. Now you are going to make your own typeface What! You don't know what serif, side frame and font spacing are? Well, before you start to make fonts, make sure iLT I have read all the articles above! If you really want to succeed, you should try your best to master as much relevant knowledge as possible. If you are not a talented designer or calligrapher, don't worry. You can also create beautiful fonts&mdash& mdash; The condition is a little effort, a lot of knowledge, and a little inspiration.)

  Secret weapon: font editing software

The excellent design, beautiful calligraphy works and profound font knowledge mentioned above still cannot make you make fonts. You need to convert your works into a kind of computer Can understand the format, so you need to have an excellent font editing software on hand. The functions and prices of these software are different, and the operating platforms are also different. Here are some big names:

Font editing software
  • FontLab Studio This is the software I use to make fonts. To some extent, it has become the industry standard, so the price is not cheap 649 US dollars. A 30 day free trial version is available. You can try it before purchasing. Both PC and Mac versions are available. FontLab Studio is the software I use frequently. I can assure you of its excellence, and its user community is also very popular.

  • FontForge Basically, What FontLab can do, FontForge can be completed, and it is free and open source. Because of open source, it is not easy to install FontForge under Windows (you must install it first Cygwin )。 At the same time, its documentation is not as complete as FontLab. Recently on Typophile There is an interesting topic about FontForge on the forum. You can go to see it to decide whether to join the open source. FontForge can be used for PC Mac and Linux. If you are a Linux user, FontForge may be your only choice.

  • Those who roll in the banknotes can consider DTL FontMaster It has all the functions of FontLab, even more, but it is quite expensive. FontMaster consists of several different modules. I think it's cool, but it's also scary. Suitable for PC and Mac platforms.

  • FontCreator Another option, price ratio FontLab is more approachable. But only TrueType and OpenType fonts can be processed&mdash& mdash; Type 1 fonts cannot be processed and only Windows version is available.

  • TypeTool Also from FontLab is an entry-level product of the same level as FontCreator. Officially, TypeTool is for those“ Students, font design enthusiasts and professional creatives who occasionally need to create or modify fonts” Designed. PC and Mac.

  • Fontographer The real king of font editing software almost disappeared after being sealed for many years because the manufacturer stopped developing it, until it was After FontLab acquired the source code, it recently released an upgraded version on the Mac. Since the date shown on the last updated version is the end of the 1990s, I sincerely hope that Fontlab can make a refreshing rewrite of this new version. Its price is only half that of FontLab Studio, but it has not been tried. Both PC and Mac platforms can run, but the latest version is currently available only to Mac users.

The operation process of all these software is the same, except for differences in specific details, interfaces, options and capabilities. So you should do some research before buying&mdash& mdash; Download and try some demo versions, listen to users' comments and arguments, and then decide which font editing software is best for you. It is said that some people start with TypeTool, first judge whether they really like font design, and then when the limitation of TypeTool really becomes an obstacle, they will finally upgrade to FontLab Studio.

When you have an excellent font editing software, you can have three different basic processes to create a font.

Method 1: Draw on paper
Tools needed
  • A good pen

  • White paper

  • Ruler (optional)

  • Scanner Scanner

  • Adobe Photoshop (or other similar image editing software)

  • ScanFont Font scanning software

  • Font editing software

Template download:
Hard Pen Calligraphy Template.doc
Hard pen calligraphy copybook template.doc

Do you have artistic talent? Good handwriting? OK, take a pen that is easy to use, a dozen white papers, and start writing your letters.
Don't ignore the choice of pen. If you want your font strokes to be thick and full, try Sharpied marker. If you want to write with pen and calligraphy, show your calligraphy pen set. If you want the strokes to be thin and delicate, choose a sharp and precise pen to write.) Write bigger to get more details. All letters should be as high as possible (you may need to use a pencil to draw a grid on the paper first). A good font is a complete set of characters, so don't miss anything&mdash& mdash; For example, punctuation marks, wavy lines, accent marks, parentheses and square brackets, and numbers. You may also want to include some rare characters, such as ancient characters English And some letters in ancient European languages. Before you write, you can create a new font in the font editing software to see what characters are included in the standard alphabet of a font. Some of these characters may be unheard of, but professional typographers may want to see them in your font.
Scan your beautiful works Photoshop, Then convert the picture to bitmap format (black and white mode without grayscale).

Almost. stay FontLab font scanning software ScanFont to open your bitmap. This great little software (a set of ScanFont—— lucky Mac users! Is included in the Mac version of FontLab Studio for free) allows you to import bitmap images and then convert them into characters in fonts. (Font editing software only operates on contours, such as basic vector lines used in Illustrator. Software such as scanner and Photoshop only processes bitmaps. ScanFont is a bridge between these two media formats.) After scanning, you can save your font in ScanFont, or copy a single character from ScanFont to FontLab Studio to start your long, hard and fun font editing work until it is perfect.

Method 2: Draw with drawing board
Tools needed
  • Wacom Tablet Wacom Drawing Board

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Font editing software

If you have a piece Wacom's drawing board can save many steps above, because you can draw your font directly in vector drawing software, FontLab Studio supports copying and pasting vector data directly from Adobe Illustrator.
Method 3: Draw directly in font editing software
Tools needed
  • mouse

  • Font editing software

  • Iron hand, and god like patience

Someone once made two fonts, completely FontLab Studio relies on the mouse, a firm hand and a considerable number of Undo commands. This method is absolutely feasible. Compared with the method of drawing and importing outside the software, this method can generate more accurate fonts. As you expected, font editing software contains a large number of tools to work together to complete a series of tasks: these tools can generate perfect lines and curves, and there are guides to help you align anything with high precision.

Many friends who do graphic work may have had the experience of using a special effect font in their own works, but they can't find one that meets their requirements everywhere. So some friends chose to draw by themselves, which certainly solved the problem at that time. But have you ever thought about making the character graphics you draw into a real font that can be used in Windows? Maybe you think it's professional software company Is it too difficult to make it by yourself?

In fact, as long as we choose the right tools and master the methods, it is not difficult to make our own fonts.

1、 Basic knowledge of font

The common font formats are as follows:

1. Raster font (. FON)

This font is a bitmap stored in different sizes for a specific display resolution. It is used to display text on menus, buttons, etc. on the screen in Windows systems. It is not described as a vector. It will appear jagged after zooming in. It is only suitable for screen description. However, its display speed is very fast, so it is used in Windows as a system font.

2. Vector font (. FON)

Although the extension is the same as the raster font, this font is defined by the vector based mathematical model and is a class of Windows system fonts. Some Windows applications will automatically use vector fonts to replace raster fonts in larger screen displays.

3. PostScript font (. PFM)

This font is based on the description of another vector language (Adobe PostScript) and is commonly used in PostScript printers. However, Windows does not directly support this type of font. To use this type of font in Windows, you need to install "Adobe Type Manger" (ATM) software for coordination.

4. TrueType font (. TTF)

This is a type of font that we are most exposed to in our daily operations. Its biggest feature is that it is a font based on contour technology defined by a mathematical model, which makes them easier to process than vector based fonts, and ensures the consistency of screen and print output. At the same time, like vector fonts, these fonts can be scaled and rotated at will without fear of aliasing. The font we are going to make next belongs to this type.

A complete TTF font consists of basic Latin (letters A-Z case, common symbols), extended Latin (phonetic symbols, phonetic symbols), graphical symbols, control symbols and many other parts, but we can make fonts that only contain basic Latin areas. We need two software here: CorelDraw Font Creator Program。 Now let's start the font production.

2、 Make your own font

Step 1: Complete character drawing with CorelDraw

I believe that for every friend who engages in graphic design, CorelDraw should be very familiar. There are two main reasons for using it to draw fonts: First, CorelDraw has a very powerful graphics drawing function, which makes it easy to draw complex shapes; Second, CorelDraw is the only software of its kind that directly supports TrueTube (. TTF) output.

Attention! The default installation of CorelDraw10 does not include TTF format output support. You need to select "Custom Installation" during installation, and select "TTF Font/TTF" in "Vector File Format" in "Export File Type". However, with the latest CorelDraw11, this function has disappeared. Let me take CorelDraw10, which is commonly used at present, as an example to describe the method of using CorelDraw to output fonts.

1. Start CorelDraw and draw the figure to be used as the font (the specific drawing process is omitted here. For the specific drawing method, please refer to other relevant tutorials and books or visit the CorelDraw column of Tianji Design Online).

2. Use welding or combination tools to combine the object to be a single character into a single object. This is important because CorelDraw can only export one single object at a time when exporting font objects, otherwise it will prompt "too many objects" and cannot export. Sometimes after combining character objects, we may not get the desired results, which should be considered at the beginning of drawing.


3. After the combination operation of all objects is completed, select one of the objects to be used as a character (lowercase "a" is selected here), click "File" - "Export" or directly press the shortcut key "Ctrl+E". The Export dialog box will pop up. Select "TTF-TTF font file" in the file type, enter the name of the font file to be exported in the file name, and confirm that the "Only Selected" item in the check box at the lower right corner has been ticked.

4. Press the "Export" button to pop up the "Export Options" dialog box. Enter a name in the category name (since the font we make is not used for commercial release, it is not necessary to follow strict standards and can be entered at will). Select "Symbol font", so that the font will be generated as a symbol font without internal attributes such as internal index and italic bold.


5. After pressing "OK", a dialog box will pop up asking for confirmation again. Click "OK" again to enter the "Font Export" dialog box. Since only uppercase and lowercase letters A-Z and punctuation marks are made here, select "Basic Latin" in the drop-down list of "Character Block" in the upper right corner, and select the lowercase letter "a" in the following list. We can also click the "Options" button at the bottom left corner to call up the "Export Options" dialog box just now to modify the previous settings. The upper part of the "Options" button is mainly about the setting of character row and column spacing, character size, etc. It is recommended to set it in the Font Creator Program, where the setting is more intuitive and convenient than that in CorelDraw.


6. Press the "OK" button again, and a font file containing only one letter has been exported. Select the next character "b" again, and press "Ctrl+E" to select the file just exported in the Export dialog box. Click "Export" to open the "Font Export" dialog box. At this time, you will find that the lowercase letter "a" in the right list has been displayed in black, which means that the font already contains this letter. Select "b" in the table and press "OK", the letter "b" will be added to the file just generated.

7. Follow the above steps to add the remaining letters and symbols to the file in turn, and a basic symbol font file has been initially completed.

Step 2: Use Font Creator Program to complete font adjustment and packaging

Font Creator Program may be strange to some friends. It is a good program Font making Software, which can be used to draw fonts, write font copyright information, control font attributes, etc. This software is a sharing software launched by High Logic Company. If it is not registered, it can only be used for 30 days. Let me take the Font Creator Program 3.0 commonly used by YC Zhou as an example to describe a real process of font sorting and packaging.

1. Start Font Creator Program,

2. Select "File" - "Open" - "Font File" to open the font file just created (in fact, the TTF file created by CorelDraw earlier can already be used, but the font file generated by CorelDraw is very unstable, which is easy to cause crash, so the Font Creator Program is used here for sorting).

3. Do not close the file you just opened. Select File New to open the New File dialog box. There are three character sets to choose from:

a. Symbol (symbol font), which does not contain an index table inside, is relatively free, and is usually used to store some non-standard symbols. It can be inserted as a graph in some software, Wingding in Windows belongs to this font;

b. Unicode (code font), which is the most common type now, is a 16 bit symbol encoding strategy developed to coordinate the huge difference in the number of characters between East and West languages. Unicode can express 65536 characters and establish a unique character code for each symbol, ensuring the correctness of character coding.

c. WGL4, this font is very similar to Unicode, The Font Creator Program provides a WGL4 encoded font in the "Template" subdirectory of the installation directory. You can check it if you are interested;

Select Unicode here to create a new blank font file.

4. Switch to the newly created font file just opened (you can notice that it is displayed very disorderly in the Font Creator Program, which is one reason why it is not recommended to directly use the font file output by CorelDraw), double-click one of the boxes, and a character editing window will pop up. Drag a rectangular box with the mouse to select all the characters in it, and press "Ctrl+C" to copy them to the clipboard.


5. Go back to the newly created file and find that the symbol font output by CoreldRAW is different from that of CoreldRAW, Unicode font displays a character corresponding to the code at this position in the upper left corner of each box representing a character. The "a" copied just now can be double clicked on the box displayed as "a" in the upper left corner. In the pop-up blank character editing window, press "Ctrl+V" to copy the characters in the clip board. Because the size and position of the characters output by CoreldRAW by default are not ideal, although the characters have been copied into the current editing window, they are not within the display range.

6. After adjusting the appropriate observation range, you will find that the characters just copied are actually on the right and very above the entire editing area, which is obviously incorrect. At this time, you can drag it to the intersection of two red lines (the origin) in the picture, or you can use the "Transform" floating window to adjust the current object with accurate values. I believe that friends who can use CorelDraw will be familiar with this. Set the size of characters in the Size tab; On the Position tab, enter "0" in "x position" and "y position" to move the object to the origin. Further observation of the character editing window reveals that in addition to the two intersecting red lines, there are two horizontal black lines and two vertical black dotted lines, in which the vertical line represents the word spacing and the horizontal line spacing. The horizontal black line cannot be adjusted, and the size of the characters produced should be within two black lines; The vertical black dotted line can be dragged to determine the spacing between this character and other characters.

7. After editing the character, close the character editing window. At this time, the "a" in the upper left corner of the box representing the character has changed from gray to green, indicating that there is an object in the current location. At this time, it is recommended to save the file once. Repeat steps 4-6 to transfer other characters to the new file in the same way and adjust them. When all characters are completed, you will find that the characters in the new file are displayed much more neatly than those in the file directly generated by CorelDraw at first.


8. After all characters have been processed, press the "F5" key to enter the font test window to test the file just made. If you find unsatisfactory characters, you can readjust them according to the previous steps.

9. After the characters have been drawn, the font can be named and published. Since the fonts produced here are not for commercial release, it is not necessary to follow strict naming standards. Click Format Naming to enter Naming Dialog Box. Enter the content you want in the naming area on the right. Note that "copyright information", "font family name", "font full name" and "font subset name" should not be blank, and others can be left blank. Click the "Advanced" button in the lower right corner to further set the font name. You can select different platforms in the "Platform" setting area on the left, and the content in the naming area on the right will also change accordingly.


10. Press the "Save" button, and a font made by yourself will be completed. Appreciate your own achievements. If you want, you can publish them online.