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how to make fonts

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Msg#: 128 posted 2:25 am on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hey y'all,
i'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this is but hopefuly someone might be able to help...
i am really interested in making my own fonts and learning about typography. Does anyone know any good programs they could recommend or sites where i may be able to download or learn information on this.

Thanks very muchly...


Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 128 posted 3:53 am on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

Kat - This is going to be an answer about font aesthetitics in general... not about mechanics... and maybe not the kind of answer you're looking for...

I think that anyone really interested in fonts and typography needs to have a solid foundation in the history of the alphabet and the evolution of letterforms... and should probably have some hands-on experience in edged-pen italic calligraphy.

I don't know where you get that these days. I was lucky enough to study in college with a man named Lloyd Reynolds, who was largely responsible for the revival of italic calligraphy and the study of old letterforms. Lloyd pointed out the if you were going to learn to draw people, you'd be well advised to draw them from life rather than from reproductions in books.

He felt the same about letterforms... but how do you draw a letterform from life? We used edged pens (Osmiroid fountain pens), and we practiced loops and lines for months as we learned the rhythms of edged pen calligraphy, from which most Western letter forms evolved. We looked at old alphabets and medieval manuscripts. We tried to make letters as alive as possible.

Lloyd's book, which I'm not sure is still in print, I believe is called "An Introduction to Italic Calligraphy." I'm sure there are other books, now. This sounds old fashioned, I know, but the alphabet goes back several thousands of years... and our electronic tools now are so removed from the origins of writing that it's easy to forget how letters came about and why alphabets look the way they do.

I'm sure others on the boards here can supply a more modern perspective, but this is how I'd start anyway....


WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 128 posted 6:54 pm on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

The history of alphabets and visual communication is really fascinating, and definitely worth studying... and find some good resources on modern typography too, so when you get a good font generating program (I recommend Fontographer), you'll know what all the funky terminology means, and how to adjust it.... (kerning, baslines, etc.)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 128 posted 7:28 pm on Apr 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

Designing fonts -- GOOD fonts -- takes a lot of know how. If I remember correctly, degrees in design often require three full year's study of fonts. That doesn't mean it isn't a rewarding study for anyone. We can't all aim for the stratosphere.

A couple years ago, a font designer created a new set of fonts for Le Monde (Paris newspaper). This was the paper's first font change in 50 years, and I heard the designer earned something like a half million dollars.

I mention this because it shows the depth and complexity of font design. The more I learn, the more I'm amazed.

There's a great book called "Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works" by Erik Spiekermann and E. M. Ginger. That one gave me a real boost, and I use the knowledge it gave me every time I do a print piece.

As CSS comes more into play, the web has a chance to gain from this field as well.

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