The following are the summary of Type Worship’s Jamie Clark’s advice on creating your own typeface.

  • Begin with a brief – The process can be long and arduous, so it only makes sense to start with a clear goal in mind; hence the need for a brief.
  • Identify the essential choices you’ll be making, such as:
    • Serif versus sans serif
    • Writing implement versus geometry
    • Text face versus display face
  • Avoid common, early mistakes, such as:
    • Digitizing your own handwriting right off the bat
    • Basing a typeface on an existing typeface
  • Utilize your own hands – Create uninterrupted shapes on paper for your initial characters before digitally refining them.
  • Know which characters to begin with – Referred to as “control characters,” these are usually “n” and “o” in lowercase, followed by “H” and “O” in uppercase for Latin typefaces.
  • If you’re going to use a computer, create an outline with a fine tip pen, then fill in the shape with a marker.
  • If plan to use software, you can go with FontLab Studio (the popular choice) or promising newer software like Robofont or Glyphs.
  • Use the “Text View Mode” – Use this feature and start typing as soon as you’ve drawn a number of letters. Here, you can edit the shapes to improve the harmony of characters as they are used together in actual words.
  • Take a good look – After having created some characters, go into “Adhesion Text,” an online tool where you can use a basic dictionary look-up system to give you a list of words that you can use at the moment.
  • Examine other typeface designs – Look at them critically to understand why such design choices have been made, and what specific effects they have.
  • Review the typeface in lower scales – This is important: Never forget to see how the typeface looks like at various sizes during the testing phase.
  • Print it out on paper – The ultimate test is done by printing what you have accomplished so far and seeing it concretely on paper, away from the limitations of backlighting and pixels. This will be a great way to see the finished typeface design in an entirely different point of view.

The process of designing and creating your own typeface is comprehensive and complex, and the tips and steps mentioned above are only some of the pointers that designers should keep in mind.



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