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Fontforge | Journal | Oliver Ker Design

Oliver Ker Design

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Fontforge

Ring Pull Font

Back in College I started the design of a font for a small project, and it was only ever created in photoshop, with many layers to create a word.

It has always been there and I knew when I got chance to do so I would attempt to create a proper font file to use. The professional program Fontlab costs around $700 so that was out of the question for something that I only wanted to have a play with. I turned to Fontforge which is an open source app, so here I began.

I’m not going to run through how to use this program as if you are interested in using it, they have adequate tutorials and hints (plus I’m a rubbish teacher) but I will try explain some of my experience’s.

After installing the program the first thing is that UI is a little ‘1999’, but, I pressed on and followed the tutorials getting to grips with the way it worked.

What I thought of it

The multi windowed panes can get a little annoying, you have to first click the window and then the area you want to select, which kind of begins to be a double click, you get used to it.

I found it difficult to import eps, this could have just been me and/or my computer, but it would be easier to import pre-drawn characters from preferred vector program. You can import bmp and draw paths around the bmp, and this is what I ended up doing. The vector drawing system is good, but not as intuitive if you are used to using Illustrator etc.

When exporting the font, there is a validation process which is very good (I think). It tells you what the problem whilst it fixes it for you.

Verdict

This is a good starter piece of software, There are tons of things I haven’t exploited on there yet, but this is due to a lack of time and knowledge. It’s a good thing to have some knowledge about typography when designing a font, but if you wanted something for free to learn a new skill, this doesn’t go far wrong.

Pros
  • Free (open-source)
  • Good tutorials
  • Has all the features I needed
  • Import eps of pre-drawn characters (didn’t work for me)
Cons
  • Dated interface
  • Multiple windows gets annoying
  • Vector drawing is a bit ‘Clunky’
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