How to Create Custom Fonts

How to Create Custom Fonts

by Micah Bowers – Designer @ Toptal

7 Steps and 3 Case Studies

Let’s face it; there are typefaces that we designers love to hate. Actually, the word “hate” might not be strong enough. Scourge? Curse? Plague? Excrement? I’ve heard each used to insult the inanimate letters, numbers, and symbols we use to communicate ideas, and I totally get it. I’ve seen (and committed) type crimes so bad that even the most outlandish office bulletin would be embarrassed.

But what if I told you that the most reviled typefaces of our generation could actually be a brand designer’s best friend? What if I showed you how to turn lackluster letterforms into luscious logotypes that clients will love (and pay good money for)? Would you be willing to radically change the way you look at type and open yourself to an infinitely expanding universe of creative options? Ready to make your own font?

If so, keep reading, because I’m about to introduce a simple process that you can use to immediately transform any typeface for the better to create a font. And, to show how effective the process is, I’ll demonstrate each step using three typefaces that are passionately despised by designers everywhere.

First up, Jokerman, a wacky collection of clown-like characters usually found on birthday banners and “whimsical” business cards.

Jokerman typeface

Next, we have Papyrus, painstakingly copied from the walls of King Tut’s tomb and the preferred choice of coffee shop menus, serious artists, and James Cameron.

Papyrus typeface

Finally, a cool and unshakably casual typographic outlaw in no need of an introduction—the one, the only, Comic Sans.

Comic Sans typeface

From this unlikely grouping, I’ll teach you to see treasure where others cry “trash!” and create custom logotypes of the highest caliber.

A Simple and Reliable Process…

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