Did you always want to create your own font? A font that you could use in your emails, Word documents, and even PDFs? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place. This post discusses how to make a new font and the steps required to turn your dream design into workable typography. The process of creating fonts is both challenging and aesthetically calming at the same time because you learn something new on each step.
The first thing you need to know is that fonts can be of any kind, depending on their main purpose. After you have acquainted yourself with the basics of typography and typeface, you can move on to creating a cool new font. As a side note, feel free to check out how fonts have evolved over the years.
Typography and its Benefits
Typography first originated in the mid-15th century when movable types were invented. It quickly became a chosen way to communicate various feelings and invoke emotions through text. Kevin Larson is a psychologist whose work revolves around researching typefaces. He conducted a study at MIT where he separated 20 volunteers into two groups. Each group received a copy of the New Yorker magazine with a different typeface.
The researchers noticed that readers from both groups had different expressions when they received the copy. Some people even frowned at the poorly-designed typeface. Readers of the good copy took lesser time to read one page and also felt better. The research concluded that well-designed font or styling does not necessarily make you read better, but it does make you feel good and more open to the content of the text.
Moreover, your experiences also affect your feelings with a particular font. For example, people in America associate the font Helvetica with the government because tax forms are typed in this font. Doodle-type fonts and calligraphic fonts remind people of a tiki bar or a bakery respectively.
Components of Typography
Typography is the easiest way to understand the information you are trying to convey. There are a few components of typography:
- Typeface: typeface should not be confused with fonts. It is a group of characters which have the same design. For example, Arial is a typeface and not a font.
- Font: it is a specific typeface style with specified length, width, size and weight. If Georgia is a typeface, Georgia 9pt Bold is the font. In essence, the typeface conveys creative work while the font becomes the delivery mechanism.
- Line length: it is the distance taken by the text, which is placed between right and left margins, in one line.
- Leading: it is the area between the lines on which the letters ‘sit’. It is expressed in points.
- Kerning: the white space between characters, so many fonts have a specific kerning value that makes them look more natural.
- Tracking: it is also called spacing and is a mechanism to put space equally between characters.
How to Create a Custom Font
There are some basic tools on the internet for those who want to have fun or create a custom font. The good thing about these tools is that they teach you the basics of designing a font and choosing a final product with some technicalities. Examples of such tools include FontStruct, PaintFont, etc.
Design a Brief
The first step is to outline your objective for the project. Just like any creative project, you need to specify a design brief that will guide you on the font creation process. Here are some questions you should ask:
- What is the utility of this font?
- Is this font going to be a one-time thing or has a broad application?
- Do you have any fonts for inspiration?
Use a paper and pencil
The best creative ideas emerge with a little doodling. Before you head to the software, it is better to grab the good old notepad and pencil to sketch a few ideas. You do not need to draw a complete set of characters, just find a place to start. Your set of inspired fonts will help you in this exercise.
Choose software or hire a pro
As mentioned above, there are various software out there that can help you create a font. You can also seek help of a professional in designing the font. The importance of having a professional is that you will get important suggestions and the right advice on each step.
Refine and Use
Once you have a font ready, you need to download it to your computer and use anywhere you want!
If the resulting font is not what you expected, you can always refine until you reach the desired style. The best thing about creating a custom font is that it is unique to your project
Although there’s no shortage of fonts in existence, you may still want to create a custom one from scratch. Your best bet in this scenario is to take out your digital stationary and start designing. In terms of software, the nature of your font will determine whether you need to go for a low-end or a more advanced option. Of course, you can outsource the development to a freelance typographer, but it’s always more fun to create a font yourself. And typography isn’t’ that hard to learn.