Last updated on March 19th, 2020
If you’re a graphic designer or illustrator, font design is something that you should try irrespective of your experience. A Font in typography plays a big role in making or breaking a design. It also helps businesses to build brand recognition. But most fonts have lost their novelty value due to their repeated use in a wide range of design products. Therefore, being a designer and to stay ahead in the competition, you should consider to create your own font style. In this article, we’ve shared the complete step by step guide on how to create a font.
Graphic designers and other professionals use fonts to ensure powerful user-experience content. For games and apps, the presentation of information takes place in a tiny space, which requires even more careful selection of the right font.
When you drive customers to your website from various platforms, they usually come to read about something valuable rather than seeing the graphics. They want to go through the textual content, which generally has the important details. For this reason, website designers keep a judicious balance of text and graphics. This brings us to the significance of typography.
But in the world of typography, countless fonts are already accessible from packages such as Google Fonts and Typekit. Many freelance graphic designers use these sites to pick the right fonts for specific projects. However, a drawback of these freely available fonts is that someone else has already created and used them already. Such fonts are created with common use in mind. This means that the fonts you download from the web are most probably overused for a lot of many designs.
So, these repeatedly used fonts are of very low use when it comes to attracting catching your potential customers’ attention to your brand. These routine fonts may not fit into the personality of the brand and design you wish to create. In that case, many qualified designers or project owners prefer creating their fonts as per their specific requirements.
However, before you think of creating your own font, make it certain that you have some insight into different aspects of typography.
What Is Typography?
At the basic level, typography comprises of letters that we call fonts. But typography is the visual art of arranging the text within a design that intends to create useful and powerful content. The designers use typography to ensure the aesthetic value of text-based content so that it appears great to the viewers.
So, all the content adjusted carefully in a website or host of designs is because of the careful use of typography. It is about professionally presenting a piece of information to achieve the desired results. It’s all about adjusting the text within the design while creating powerful content. The motto to provide an attractive appearance and preserves the aesthetic value of your content.
So, a typography design plays a vital role in setting the overall tone of your website and ensures a great user experience. The designers even use typography art to create some amusing human and animal figures.
Before the advent of the digital age, typography artists considered it as a highly specialized craft to create books, magazines, and advertisements. Even today, road signs, billboards, and a wide range of packagings have the strategic use of typefaces.
Now, in the modern digital world, however, the use of typography has become mechanized due to software. The designers choose fonts for their aesthetic and legibility values. But creating fonts has become much easier today due to the plenty of software available for free.
Why Should You Create Your Own Font?
Hundreds of readymade fonts are available for free from different sites. Still, creative people spend their time and money to design their own fonts. Because they need something unique. They have many aspects of their design project in mind and want to give it a unique look and personality.
If you want to give your design to stand out, its identities, such as logo, brochure, business cards are in a unique font. Such a font can define characteristics of the brand and help shape its personality as well as tone.
Here Is The Significance Of Creating Your Own Font For Your Brand
i. Communicate In Your Own Unique Way
Fonts are also a way to communicate with the audience. People can sense the type of information you are providing on your website or design by seeing the use of typography. A unique font determines what sort of information you are providing.
ii. Grab Viewers’ Attention
When people’s attention span has reduced to merely a few seconds, typography plays a key role in catching their eye. People are no longer excited about the most used popular fonts. But a uniquely created new font will drive their attention. It will also add value to the text with the help of the correct choice of text size and color.
iii. Convey A Mood Or Feeling
If your content is unique, serious, and it should stand out, then the choice of typeface should be perfect. Your font helps in capturing that specific mood of your content, design, and website for your audience.
iv. Show Professionalism
People appreciate it when they find work done in a professional way. With the use of your font on your website or any other design project, you show your dedication and seriousness towards the project.
A unique font, thus, becomes a way to reflect great professionally. For example, use kinetic typography when you need to show a moving text to convey a brand message.
v. Win The Trust Of Customers
A font that people see for the first time in the content of your website etc. design also helps win the trust of your customers. They see your project as something special offered to them. A different font gives the impression that your product or service is unique, which makes your business trustworthy.
vi. Build Recognition
Uniquely designed fonts are also a surefire way to build recognition for your brand easily. A specially created font gives a new personality to your brand and creates a visual identity that is different than your business rivals. In this way, you can build recognition for your brand easily.
What Are The Main Types Of Typography?
When creating a font, know that typography comes in different types. So, which type of font do you want to create? That is an important question to answer based on your brand personality and your design requirements.
Here Are The Major Types Of Typography:
Serif is the oldest and most used typefaces conventionally used. These typefaces have feet, which was once considered a good choice in printed works such as books, newspapers, and books. Times New Roman, Georgia, and Garamond are popular typefaces.
ii. Sans Serif
Sans serifs are typefaces without serifs, which means these are lacking the feet and embellishments. A graphic designer uses these typefaces for a clean presentation of design as well as for objectivity and stability.
Most blogs and websites, therefore, use sans serif. Arial, Verdana, Calibri, Open Sans, Montserrat, and Calibri are amongst the popular sans serifs.
Script typeface looks similar to handwriting and appears elegance. Mostly, this typeface is used for posters, logos, restaurant menus, and wedding invitations. Examples of this typeface include Mistral, Brush Script, Lucida Calligraphy, and Monotype Corsiva.
Modern typefaces are known for their stylish, progressive, and strong characteristics. Most of them have powerful vertical stress. They are in long and thin horizontal serifs. Bodoni, Futura, and Latin Modern.are some of the popular examples of modern typefaces.
Display typefaces are the most stylized, expressive, amusing, unique, and friendly. These characteristics make the typeface suitable to create party posters and fun-themed websites.
But some of these decorative fonts are considered good for titles and headers. Examples of display typefaces include Scribble Box, Cooper, Giddyup, and Valencia.
Besides the types, also know about the typography terms. You will come across terms such as leading, kerning, spacing, stroke, stem, etc. So, get a complete picture before moving forward to create your font.
How To Create Your Font?
Now, that you know how your brand can benefit from creating your own font do not just rest there. You may be using some free tools to create fonts on your own, still.
Keep These Basics In Mind Before You Start Creating A Font
01. Have A Design Brief
First, come out with a clear design brief that should state your specific requirements. Remember that you need a unique font because you want to give a distinctive identity to your brand or design. So, write about identity in brief. You should ask some specific questions and give answers in brief.
The brief should mention the specific purpose of your project for which you want to create the font. Find out and write which font size will be suitable. Give the font type, Serif or Sans Serif, in your brief.
Tell if you could use any fonts for inspiration. With such specifications, you can plan your font’s design well. The design should give you a clear vision of the purpose behind the creation of a font.
02. Take A Look At Other Typefaces
Before you set out to create your font, you need to have a good look at some good examples of typefaces. Know their historical and contextual perspective to understand when the font design choice was made.
Notice how the letter shapes work together in those typefaces. Find out what features of those letters make them attractive. This comparison will help you come up with your typography design ideas to create fonts.
03. Work Out The Design On Paper
Many experts have recommended that rather than going straight to software, start the early design work on paper. Draw a shape of how the font design should look like.
Putting a pen on paper is usually much easier and quicker, to begin with when the computer to starting on software. The time consumed to draw the final font vision on paper also is much lesser than on the computer.
Try to come out with some graceful shapes when you create sketches of fonts on paper. Sketch the first few characters carefully in appealing shapes before you refine them digitally. The paper sketching also is a way to come up with unique typography ideas.
After you have finalized the key characters, you can then construct the rest of them digitally, considering the features of the characters such as stroke widths and terminal endings.
When Creating Letters On Paper, Consider These Tips:
i. Draw Characters
There is no need for you to draw all the characters. Instead, draw only the ‘control characters’ that usually are “H”, “n”, “o” and “y”.Designing these characters first will help set your typeface style. This also will help you in building design harmony amongst all the characters.
However, If you intend to use a font in a variety of projects, then, have a broader character set. In that case include small capitals, a choice of numerals, diacritic signs [ accents ], ligatures, and other characters as well.
ii. Mark The Baseline
Make sure that you mark out the baseline and other height lines as a guide.
iii. Design Smoother Curves
To create smoother curves, move the paper instead of your hand. This is because the hand naturally creates smoother and accurate curves due to the arm and wrist.
04. Install Software
Next, you should install software to create a font on the computer. Many designers who come from graphic design background straightaway opt for Adobe Illustrator to draw individual letterforms. But they soon realize that this is not the right tool to create a typeface. So, they have to switch to proper type-based software.
There is a lot of dedicated software available to help design fonts. You can choose one of them based on your convenience to use. Some of the helpful software include FontForge, which is an open-source font editor.
It will guide you as you proceed further to create a font. If you want to get started quickly, software like Birdfont can be a choice. Glyphr Studio and Robofont is another popular choice.
Most of the software has similar helpful features to create and edit the font. So, it boils down to your matter of preference to pick the one that you are most comfortable with.
05. Upload The Drawing Onto Computer
After you have installed software, now you can start designing your font. You can feed your sketches or drawings to the computer in different ways. Some experts suggest adopting tracing programs. But some designers prefer tracing the drawings manually to take control of the points on the curves. Then, some software accepts a well-defined drawing.
Therefore, after you are satisfied with the sketched character, it is better to outline it with a fine-tipped pen to give the edge shape. Then, you should take a snap of the sketch with your phone camera and send the image to your computer.
Start from scratch by uploading your paper drawings or a font file to edit. The process of creating your fonts is lengthy. But once you are familiar with the process, the process becomes a lot easier. You should also get familiar with some terminology such as Glyph, baseline, ascender line, ascender height, descender depth, stem, and bowl, Bezier curve.
06. Refine Character Set
Do not focus on the individual characters only during the font creation process. Pay attention also to observe how the entire font design will look after you refine it. To ensure that, keep some of the vital aspects in mind.
You should consider spacing and kerning the letters. Combine a series of letters to get the best results. Then, do not forget to try out several character sizes. Font size is scaled up or reduced to tiny sizes when a design or text is used across different platforms.
Such software has a text view mode. Use this to edit the shapes of the letters in the same text view to harmonize the characters together. Then, make adjustments to the spacing of the letters and height, weight, and width of the typeface.
You can also use software such as InDesign that has a built-in kerning tool. Use such tools to optically space your letters to evaluate them for the desired impression quickly.
Make sure that you print your font work at every stage of the designing process. In this way, you can spot any errors easily and correct them before proceeding further during the design process.
07. Put The Font To The Test
Once you are done with the font design process and created it to your satisfaction, do not relax. Before finally using the font on your website or elsewhere, find out how it appears in practice. You should test it by using it in a range of tasks. See if you can create a typography logo with it effectively.
How about replacing the original typeface of your old design projects with the font you designed. You can also create some artwork based on the new font to test its capability and impression. It would be even better if you ask your design friend to test the font. Do not forget to have feedback from the friend to make improvements, if any.
So, these are the key aspects you must consider while creating your font. You will need some practice before you achieve perfection.
Besides creating your font, you can also explore another option to design your logo, brochures, business cards, etc. identities with unique fonts. You should, for instance, launch a logo design contest, or any other design contest on Designhill, the leading creative marketplace.
Dozens of experienced designers from across the world will create unique designs with impressive fonts to win your contest. You can also redesign your logo etc. with the powerful typography using the skills of professional graphic designers using this platform.
Strategic use of typography is key to driving the audience’s attention and create a brand identity. But most regular fonts have lost their novelty and value for viewers. Therefore, you should create your own font to help your brand stand out. To create a font, first, have a design brief for yourself as a guide, then sketch the font design on paper, install software and refined the main characters and scale the fonts well. Put the fonts you created to test on various designs.