I’ve always asked myself “how can I create my own font?”. I thought, well, should be very complicated! I discovered that is much more simple than I thought, or to put it better, it is a long and process and you need a lot of patience, but is indeed quite easy to make your own font.
First of all you need a scanner ( if you are going to draw your font), Photoshop, Illustrator and a Font editing program. The most famous Font Editing Program is FontLab Studio, it is quite expensive but you can get the 30 days free trial. I also tried FontForge which is free and open-source but I found out that is not exactly easy to install and I gave up!
First thing to is create your own alphabet on a piece of paper and then scan it at a good resolution (at least 300dpi). Separate your letter so you can get a different psd file for each syllable.
It is quite important that once you got your letter you will try to get it as “clean and dark” as possible ( you can play with threshold or brilliance and contrast)
Open Adobe Illustrator and create a 1000×1000 point file and change the preferences as shown below.
Import your letter and using tracing option and play with you can get a vectorial image of your letter.
Lock your image and create a new layer where you’ll place 4 different guide. The first is gonna be the “ascender” which correspond with the height of your Capital letter. The mean line will be correspondent of half your capital letter and the height of your lower case letters. The baseline will be correspondent with your zero point and will be the starting point of the letters. The Descent line will be created to fit letters like “g” or “p”. Save your document and name it as an adobe illustrator template ( .ait) and Adobe Illustrator .ai as well.
Using this process you can make any alphabet you want, you can create short words or sentences, but if you want to get a proper font you need to use Fontlab.
I’ve never used Fontlab before, I download the trial version and I tried to create my first Font set..and I must say, it is not going to be easy at all.
Once you opened the program you should create a new file and set up the Key dimension. Basically you will enter your ascender, descender and mean line value as you read it in your AI file.
If you go glyph window and select the letter ( A for me) you will get a document with the guide in the right place, all you have to do is copy and paste your “A” from the .ai file to the Glyph window.
You can now adjust your “A” until your happy with it. Unfortunately I was unable to provide screenshot for the next step cause I got stuck with it. Basically you can now achieve a visually equal white space between all characters…I must advise you this is gonna be so boring and annoying (I must confess I gave up) and you need to complete a letterform for EACH of the letters, or symbols, numbers of your alphabet.
At the end of this long and boring process you can generate and named your font ( .ttf).
Now I perfectly understand why fonts set are often very expensive and I appreciate so much people who want to share them for free!!!