A little while ago, I shared my font making process for Espresso Roast and asked if anyone would be interested in a font making course. I can’t tell you how touched I was by all of the responses! Since there was enough interest, I put it ahead of other courses I have planned for this year. So yay! The font making course is being made right now! While I’m putting everything together, I wanted to share a font making resources list so you’ll know everything I personally use if you’re just getting started. This is something I wish I had when I was brand new to this, so I hope it’s helpful! Grab it below 🙂
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Freebie: Font Making Resources List
Here’s a small summary of my favorites, with everything else listed within the font making resources list pdf!
Favorite Font Making Software: Glyphs
So here’s the kicker: Glyphs is only for mac users. I realize this a bit of a sticking point as I move forward with the font course, but I literally spent hours researching which program to use when I started. Glyphs checked every box for me + what I was looking for. When you have vectorized lettering, you can move your work from Illustrator to Glyphs by copy + pasting and still retain control over your anchor points, with similar editing to Illustrator. The interface can be a little overwhelming, but once you get a handle on where the basics are, they’re more than enough to create a great font.
I also loved that I could purchase Glyphs Mini for ~ $50 and make a real font with it. Once I knew Glyphs was right for me, I upgraded to the pro version and they offer a discount code if you purchased Glyphs Mini beforehand. One of the main difference between Glyphs Mini + Glyphs Pro is the addition of diacritics (accented characters). So, if you’d like to create fonts for multiple languages, you’ll need to upgrade.
(On a PC? I hear FontForge is a good option)
Why I don’t recommend the Fontself Illustrator plugin for font making
Font making is truly a complex artform. Utilizing complete font making software creates professional, truly customizable, well-crafted and fully testable fonts. Fontself is limiting in testing capabilities, customized font features, consistency with baselines for characters added later on and uniformly customized tracking and kerning. If you’d like to make a personal font quickly, you could go this route, but for nearly the same price, you can begin using pro font software. If this is something you’re serious about getting into, using the right software will be key.
Favorite Vector Editing Software: Adobe Illustrator
If you saw the font making process post, you saw that I draw out all of my characters on paper, scan them + bring them into Illustrator where they’re vectorized. It’s in Illustrator where I clean up live traced lettering, make script characters connectable and prepare everything for Glyphs. To be honest, you really only need a basic understanding of Illustrator going into font making. I use my iPad to clean up my vectors a little quicker (seen here), but an iPad is definitely not necessary. Here’s how I clean up vectors the traditional way with just the mouse, no biggie 🙂 Plus, it’s up to you how much you’d like to clean your letters, so there’s a lot of freedom in this process.
Favorite Lettering Tools for Font Making
I love how using different writing utensils can completely change the look and feel of a lettering style. Playing around with different tools has helped me get more creative and really explore the styles I want to create. The most important thing to remember when choosing your tools is whenever possible, use black ink on white paper! This saves so much time in the vectorizing process, I promise you’ll thank yourself. A few of my recent favorites have been:
Small Waterbrush + Sumi Ink
Tuesday Script and my next upcoming font were created using a small Pentel waterbrush with some sumi ink. I poured the sumi ink out on a paper plate, then just dipped in as I lettered.
My first ever font (Honeymoon) was initially concepted using a micron. I bulked it up later with a waterbrush with ink, but if you’re going for a thinner, mono-weight look, microns are perfect.
Pentel Fude Brush Pen (extra fine)
If you’d like to create a font with a lot of texture to it, the Pentel Feude Brush Pen is the best one I’ve ever found. Definitely going to use it to create a future font! (plan for a little extra clean up time in Illustrator for more textured fonts)
These are just a roundup of a few of my favorites – grab the full font making resources list with others I’d recommend below!
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