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Make Your Own Fonts - Introduction To Macromedia Fontographer

Anyone who works with fonts such as a web designer, digital artist, graphic designer or computer crafter knows how important the font or typeface is to the success of their artwork, website or craft project. There are 1000's of freeware and shareware fonts available so why make your own?

In the craft world, there are times a custom font would work better than those free fonts downloaded from the Internet. For example, it would be great to have a font that mimics your own handwriting when journaling on scrapbook pages. The professional artist and designer have a different dilemma. Most of these downloadable fonts cannot be used for commercial purposes. Therefore professionals need to create or custom order their own fonts to use in their artwork. The price and quality can vary greatly for a custom font, especially when you consider how easy it is to make your own fonts with MacromediaR FontographerR. There are just three basic steps to creating a font with Fontographer. If you are new to digital design, you can use Fontographer's auto features and those with more experience have the option to complete each step manually.

The first step is to design the individual font characters. You can start from a scanned image or you can draw your font characters by hand or you can transform an existing font character.
  • The digital artist would probably want to start from scratch by using Fontographer's drawing tools to freehand draw each font character. Digital artists that have worked with several digital imaging programs will find the drawing tools in Fontographer very similar and Fontographer works with digital pen tablets.
  • But, what about those digital crafters that want to create a font from their own handwriting? This is easy to do with Fontographer. Just use the scanning method as your starting point. Scan a sample of your handwriting into your computer and use Fontograher's auto trace feature to convert the scanned characters into font characters.
  • Of course, once you see how easy it is to create a font, you will want to create more. A third way to start a new font is to use your existing font as a starting point for several more fonts. For example, if your first font is tall and plain, use Fontographer's tools to transform those characters into something entirely different. You can work on each font character individually or make global changes to all the characters at once. You are only limited by your own imagination.
Once you have your font characters, you are ready for the next step. You will need to tweak the alignment and spacing for the individual characters. These "metric" adjustments will ensure that the font works correctly with any combination of characters that make up a word. Fontographer's auto spacing and auto kerning features make this step easy or you can make these adjustments manually if you prefer.

The last step is to convert your font characters into a font file format that can be used on your computer. Fontographer can create Type1, Type3, and TrueType fonts. Once you have your font file, you can use it as you would any other font installed on your computer.

System Requirements
Any Pentium class computer with 16 MB RAM and a hard drive
Windows 95,98, NT
Some users will experience problems with 2000, ME or XP. For these users, the solution is found in TechNote 15709.

Any Macintosh computer with 5MB RAM and a hard drive
MAC OS 9.2.2 and below
Fontographer does NOT run under OSX.
OSX users can run Fontographer in Classic mode as detailed in TechNote 15928.

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Content copyright © 2018 by Diane Cipollo. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.


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