By Gary simon - Mar 19, 2018
Until recently, if you wanted to make a font, you would have to purchase very expensive software. This software was also usually quite hard to understand with poor user interfaces.
Fortunately, there's some software -- technically a plugin -- that's both relatively inexpensive and intuitive. This plugin is called Fontself.
We're going to use Fontself in parallel with Adobe Illustrator CC to create a few characters for a brand new font. This will help you get up and running and on your way to designing and producing your very own fonts that others can use.
Let's get started!
Be sure to Subscribe to the Official Coursetro Youtube Channel for more videos.
Fontself is an extention for Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC that allows you to use either of these applications to produce OTF (OpenType Font) fonts.
While both of these applications can handle designing the actual characters, they can't create a font file that can be installed. Fontself takes care of that, and much more.
With Fontself, you can tackle:
At the time of writing this article, it costs a one time fee of $49 for either a copy for Photoshop or Illustrator. That's not bad, considering alternatives cost hundreds upon hundreds of dollars.
After installing Fontself for Illustrator CC, load up Illustrator and go to Windows -> Extensions -> Fontself Maker
On this panel there's a hamburger menu aligned to the right, click on this and select Font Template.
The document looks like this:
With that loaded, let's examine what's happening on each line.
If you zoom up close to each line -- ALT-SCROLL WHEEL -- you will notice 5 different horizontal guidelines:
Starting from the top:
Once you understand this basic terminology, you can begin to make your font!
Of course, there's a lot more to typography than just these terms, but for a beginner, it's all you really need to know.
We'll start with the easiest character, an uppercase "O". Zoom and pan your way close to the capital "O" in the template and choose the Elipse tool from the left menu.
The result should be similar to below:
Also, ensure that your layers are open and you work within the Your artwork here layer.
At this point, should you want to add this letter O to Fontself, you would have to first ensure that:
Then, you would simply open up Fontself from the extensions, select the character and drag the path from the layers panel to the Fontself panel.
It's that easy. In the preview, you can begin to type with your font and quickly export your font to .OTF where it can be installed and used by others.
Let's keep designing a few characters, though.
By the way -- All of this stuff is covered in greater detail in the video above.
The "O" was quite simple. Let's move over to the "M" character.
This time, instead of using a path with a stroke, we'll use the Rectangle Tool to create a 3pt width stroke -- we want to ensure it matches the width of our O -- to construct the M.
At this point, if you wish, you could use the Pathfinder to merge all of these shapes if you're finished with it. However, I advise against this if you need to make adjustments, or you wish to reuse one of the lefts for other characters.
Let's do one more character (the video shows 5 characters).
We're going to do a capital "B" for the next character. This will involve using a different tool.
That's a pretty solid B, don't you think?
We have a pretty solid and consistent font right now, but if you really want to add a unique treatment to your characters, the Pathfinder is a great way to do just that.
Let's add a 45 degree angle of negative space in certain areas of each character. In the video, I show how this is done across all 4 capital letters, but for this tutorial, I'll just show how it's done once.
Head over to the letter "O" and we'll cut out a part of it!
The result is now that the "O" has an empty portion. You can do this with the rest of the letters to create a consistent, unique effect on each chracter!
Fontself makes it incredibly easy to export the font as an actual installable .otf file once you're ready.
Once you've dragged all of the letters onto the Fontself panel -- Window -> Extensions -> Fontself Maker -- you can use the extension to make any adjustments that are needed to kerning and such. Then, once you're ready, you can click on the Export button and give it a name:
At that point, you can choose a location for the font and Wala, your custom .otf font is now ready to be installed and distributed!