How To Make Your Own Font
If you’ve always thought your handwriting is so much better than the many fonts out there, then maybe it’s time you made your mark: literally. Creating your own font isn’t as hard as it seems—all you need is a pen, a paper, a little program-know-how, and a comprehensible penmanship.
Oh, and Macromedia’s Fontographer and Adobe Illustrator.
1.) Write down the alphabet. If you have a WACOM or any other drawing tablet, then you can just doodle right on to Photoshop or whatever photo editing software you have. If you don’t have one, then a pen and paper will do—plus a scanner. Scan it using the highest resolution possible, so you’ll get a pretty accurate scribble for your font.
2.) Edit it. If you think your penmanship is perfect the way it is, noise and all, then skip this part. But if you think it needs a little more work, go ahead and clean it up using Photoshop or whatever photo editing software you use. Now you’ll have to save each letter as an individual file.
3.) Open Fontographer. This is where your font comes to life. Go to the File menu and choose “new font”. Double click on letter “A”, and a window will pop up. It’s time to get busy.
4.) Cut and paste, edit if you like. Copy the letter “A” that you have in Photoshop or whatever program you used, and paste it in the Fontographer window. This is the “guide” for your font—it’s not actually a font yet. Now select “Outline” from the layers menu, then click on “Auto Trace” from the Element menu. This lets Fontographer trace the edges of your font for you. Twiddle with the settings on Auto Trace to achieve your desired tracing effect. If Auto Trace didn’t seem to do such a good job at certain corners, you can always correct it. Use the arrow tool to edit points. This takes practice to master, so be patient.
5.) Hint, hint. Bring up the Kerning dialogue to preview your font. Now that your letter “A” is born, you might want to make its widths and locations uniform. This is where “Hinting” comes in play. Selecting lines to make measurements uniform will greatly help make it look more professional. Click on the “Hint” on the layers panel and mark lines on the horizontal and vertical stems (do this when you’re done editing the points on your font).
6.) Christen your baby. You’re almost ready to generate your font. Highlight your alphabet and make sure to hit Correct Path Direction, to punch holes through the R’s, O’s, D’s, and so on. Under the Metrics menu, select Auto Kern. Then comes the fun part: under the Element menu, select Font Info, then General, then type in the name of your font. When you’re done, generate the font by going to the File menu and clicking on Generating Font Files.