Font! The word has a whole lot of science involved with it. Fonts are everywhere and those who don’t understand fonts use Comic Sans! Don’t worry, I am not diving into the never-ending debate of “Comic Sans in not a font” and related stuff. We are here to learn how we can create our own personal font. A point comes in everyone’s life when we want to see our own handwriting in the form of font. Also, one may just want to experiment with fonts and want to see something different in the fonts list in their personal computers. This is when you feel the need to create your own font. This article will try to dig into two different perspectives of this issue and find a solution in both cases.
Note - My initial way will be more or less generic and will depend on how much you practice the same. You will have to scan your typeface multiple times and experiment with the steps that I will list. The second way will help you understand a hidden Windows tool that can be used to create characters that can be used over and over using your Character Map.
Create Your Own Font Using Paid Software
This method is going to be a bit boring and might just force you to give up on it while half way through. But, I will suggest you stick around as the end results will be amazing. I don’t promise that after your first try itself you will be the Fontographer that you want to be, but sooner or later you will be swimming in the river of your own fonts. Who knows someday 1WD might just list your font in its showcase. #Dreaming!
So, lets start with the usual steps that will teach you how to create your own font. But, remember that you will have to inspire yourself to create your own thing.
- Start Consuming Information - You might have been a designer all your life or may be a writer by birth, but creating your own font is a different theory altogether. Issues like spacing, bends in letters, curves, angles etc. become so important that overlooking any one of them might just kills the whole experience. I won’t be jotting down all those concerns as understanding the science behind fonts is a different story and one can write multiple articles on that itself. Let me jot down some articles and books that will help you gain insight into the mechanics of fonts:
- A Short Course On How To Improve Your Site’s Typography on 1WD.
- Fonts and Encodings by Yannis Haralambous.
- The Complete Manual of Typography by Jim Felici.
- Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton.
- Learn To Sketch - This is very important. I have this cousin of mine who loves logo designing. I saw that he was designing logos directly in Photoshop. I helped him understand the importance of sketching before moving on to Photoshop. Today, he thanks me for the push that I gave him. It is important for designers to understand how sketching on paper is a lot different from what they do directly on computer. You will never be able to get the real feel of curves and angles unless you have a pencil in your hand. Later on, the pencil sketch will act as the much wanted skeleton that will be the backbone of your digital font. Keep it clean and see the magic. Remember that sketching on paper will give you the liberty to understand the quality of lines and their exact geometry. Spacing will be taken care of by your software later on once you go digital.
- Scan Your Sketch and Convert to Vector Art - This is it. Time to go digital! Once you are done with your sketch and you are sure that the end result is exactly what you want your font to look like then it is time to scan your sketch and clean it up a bit. Use Photoshop (or any other image editing tool for that matter) and clean up your sketch. Let go the smudges and stray lines. Covert the sketch to vector art before you proceed.
- Time to Pick Your Font Software - This is the point where most of the readers might just give up. The reason being that most of the good font software out there will cost you some cash. Buy one and start learning them. One of the best in the business in Fontographer. I will suggest that you go ahead with Fontographer as it has a lot of resources on the web that will help you understand the software and create your very first font. Stick with the adrenaline rush and don’t stop until you have your own typeface!
[image via Soft Pedia]
- Lastly, let us know once you have your own font up and ready for use.
Create Characters Using Secret (and Free) Windows Software
Private Character Editor! Heard of it before? Well, PCE is Windows-based software which is already installed on your machine. You just don’t know it yet. Those looking to create their own fonts or characters real quick can use this tool and start rolling in no time.
PCE can help you create around 6400 characters which can be used on your documents using “Character Map”. Now, let us quickly understand how PCE works:
- Click on Start button and then click Run (or Windows key + R). Now in the dialog box type C:\WINDOWS\system32\eudcedit.exe (considering that your Windows is installed in C: drive) and hit enter.
- You will be greeted with PCE’s “Select Code Window”. Basically, this window will be your map using which you will use to map the characters that you create in the Windows character library. You can use any of the boxes that are blank. Choose any one of these and click Ok.
- A grid measuring 50×50 pixels will open. You can use the tools on the left to create your own character. Take your time and edit your character as much as you want. The drawing area is overly simply for anyone to understand what is happening. Though, you will have to be a calligraphy expert to come up with a really attractive design. As you can observe in the image below, I ain’t one!
- You can even copy and paste the bitmap selection between PCE and paint.
- Also, you can use an existing character as a base for your new design. Copy the existing character to the grid by using Edit > Copy Character. Change it with the available tools and have fun.
- Once you are done with your design then either you can map your character to all the fonts in Windows or to selected ones as per your choice. Go to File > Font links .. to understand what I mean.
- Lastly, save your character before closing from Edit > Save Character As.
- Now, it is time to use your character. Again, open the Run dialog box and type charmap.exe and hit enter.
- From the Font drop down menu opt for All Fonts (Private Characters) and voila!
- Select your character and click the Copy button. You can paste your selection anywhere including the notepad.
As you can see, creating your own font isn’t an easy task but there are options available. Creating your font will require a lot of concentration and commitment. Remember that you won’t be able to create your font if you give up on yourself. Also, for those who don’t want to go through the process of scanning or for those who don’t own a scanner, PCE is always there for help!
Salman Siddiqui is an alpha geek, design guru and seasoned WordPress critic. Writing, for him, started out of ego but it has become the most luring and enlightening career option of his life. He is walking that extra mile for his freelancing dream.