I’m a typography fanatic so naturally, I’m deeply invested in searching and experimenting with all kinds of different type styles and fonts.
To this extent, I’ve also tried my hand at creating my own fonts and I have to say that anyone with a little know-how can do it. So how to make a text font?
Here is a highlight of some of the more prominent (and free) tools you can use how to make a custom text font.
Fonstruct is a web-based application that is an excellent place to create fonts, especially if you’re just starting out. Users have to register to create fonts, but the GUI is oh so user-friendly and you can get started in no time.
Fontstruct starts users off in an MS Paint-like environment where they can utilize “bricks” which are essentially stencils that help to create designs of your choosing. There are dozens of bricks to choose from and each can provide creators with a unique flair to add to your typeface.
Some additional basic tools include an eraser, line/rectangle creator and a panning utility to let you make your font accurately and professionally.
Each letter/symbol in whatever language you choose to make your font in, has a designated “slot” to help you keep track of what letters you’ve made and those that you may have forgotten.
One of the cooler features of Fontstruct is that the site contains character models for over 20 different languages, letting users create fonts for letters in a ton of different languages.
While you’re creating your masterpiece, Fontstruct also lets you type and test what you’ve made in a real-time environment, which is certainly a handy feature for newbie designers and pros alike.
Once you’ve completed your font, you have the option of downloading it (in TrueType format) and/or opening your font up to the public via the gallery. Here users can share, vote on and download each others’ fonts to create a hustling and bustling community of typography-lovers everywhere.
If you prefer a software-based approach to creating your next font, then consider FontForge: an excellent freeware program that lets you produce custom fonts. The program is slightly more sophisticated when compared with Fontstruct, and it is also teeming with options and tools.
Users start off with bitmap “glyphs” of characters and symbols which can be molded and reworked in accordance to your desired design. FontForge is compatible with multiple font formats, including TrueType and Opentype.
I would also recommend reading this excellent tutorial provided by the creators of FontForge, which can guide you in starting your font creations. The program is available for Windows®, Mac and Linux, however Windows® users will have to also install Cygwin, which is a free Linux environment for Windows®, which FontForge needs to run.
Aside from this FontForge is certainly worth checking out, but you may want to consider trying out Fontstruct beforehand, to get used to the typography environment and flesh out some of your initial ideas.
Well there you go readers, two cool methods to creating your very own fonts, so go ahead and try “˜em out. You might also want to take a look at another font creation program for Windows called the “Private Character Editor” which Saikat recently wrote about. Or if you’re looking for some design inspiration, check out best source to download free text fonts which Mark wrote about back in November. Finally, you can also use sites like YourFonts to create fonts from your own handwriting.
YourFonts: Creating Fonts Online From You Own Handwriting
Got a comment, question or perhaps a suggestion for another free font creation site? Then why not submit it to the comments section and share your thoughts with fellow MUO readers.