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« Type Design & Font Making Resources

Cristoforo swash B in FontLab Studio.

Cristoforo swash B in FontLab Studio 5.
No, you wouldn’t show all these layers at once while drawing.

Here is my collection of links and resources on designing typefaces and making fonts, all in one place!  If you do not already have general typography background and books, read my post aimed at beginners and non-designers interested in typography.

Overview & Big Picture

Book Library

An aspiring type designer who aims to do traditional fonts should own at least one of these three books, perhaps more, that dissect and discuss the design and story behind a bunch of different typefaces:

Other highly useful lists:

Books directly on type design, in roughly descending order:

Community

Training and Education

Wikipedia’s List of Institutions Offering Type Design Education: covers just about every school that offers any courses, in any language, including institutions offering a broader design curriculum with one or two type design courses available as part of the curriculum.

The following ongoing courses are English-language instruction specifically in type design:

General Type Design Info

Interpolation & Multiple Masters

Font Rendering on Screen

Character Sets, Language Support & Diacritics (Accents)

Note: To install .enc files in FontLab Studio, TypeTool and other FontLab apps, quit your FontLab product, find the “Encoding” folder in the shared “FontLab” folder, and drop the files in there. Restart FontLab and these will be available as encodings.

Unicode

Global

Latin

The Latin writing system is used for English and most western European languages (German, French, Spanish, etc.)

Latin Diacritics (Accents)

Cyrillic

Cyrillic (along with Greek) is one of the writing systems most similar to Latin, hence often supported in a single typeface that also does Latin.

Testing & Proofing

Tools & Add-ons

Automating via Scripting

The world of fonts relies primarily on the Python language for scripting and automation. It isn’t that you can’t use something else, but there is a rich variety of tools already using Python, and at least three font editors provide extensive support for Python scripting (FontLab Studio, Glyphs, and RoboFont—the last is even written in Python).

Thanks

Thanks to my students at the one-day web font workshop at WebVisions Portland 2014 for sparking me to create this page!

Thanks also to my colleagues and co-teachers from Crafting Type, whose resource lists I have borrowed from and suggestions I have included.

3 commentsto “Type Design & Font Making Resources”

  • May 19, 2014
    George Thomas wrote

    Tim Ahrens’ Font Remix Tools plugins are also available for Glyphs.

  • December 22, 2014
    Bijutoha wrote

    Hi I bought FontLab. Actually I’m new at it. What do you think that I need to buy Tools and Add-​​ons again?

  • February 16, 2015
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Well, many of these tools and add-ons are free. Most of them are overkill for a beginner who is not terribly technically inclined, I think. Just be aware they exist, and if you start running into the limitations that they were designed to solve, well, check them out.

    For people with a couple of fonts under their belt, or who have done programming in the past, they should definitely look at these things.

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