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Build your own font May 13, 2008

Posted by Peter Hornby in software.
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I’ve never developed a font.  I don’t suppose many people have.  It’s always seemed as though you need expensive tools, planetary-level creative skills and, let’s say, a tendency to the obsessive.  Well, some of those barriers to entry have just been broken down with the release of FontStruct, a free web-based font construction tool from a font house called FontShop.

The metaphor is simple.  You fill a rectilinear grid with bricks.  OK, it’s just pixel editing. But the bricks can be odd shapes, so you can round off corners and end up with some radical character shapes.  Once you’re done, you can save your work, and download a TrueType version for use in your own work, or you can share your font with other users.

I have to say that FontStruct is really well done.  You have the tools you need, and no more.  The interface is clean and attractive.  All in all, an excellent job.

So, building a font is now simple.  Of course, designing a great font is exactly as hard as it was before, and for that, you’re on your own.

Thanks to Jason Kottke for the tip.

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