The best font editor

nestumAtum's picture

Hello everyone!

I'm trying to create a handwritten font based on an existing one but because it's the very first time I'm doing it I need some advice of experts... And also I'm trying to find out not only the best font editor but also the most user friendly and easy to use/learn.

I hope to hear from you guys! Any help will be appreciated, Thanks!

bojev's picture

Simple answer is Fontographer - but lots of answers to this question if you search on this site

Stephen Coles's picture

What OS? TypeTool is probably the best entry-level editor. You can move up to FontLab (used by most professionals) later.

nestumAtum's picture

Hello

yeah... Actually I've already installed Fontographer bojev just because it's an open source software, but it seems to have all the functionalities to build a proper font which is great! On my research I found a lot of font editors and someone in an article said that fontographer is very similar to Fontlab Studio which costs $649! What do you reckon? Do you agree with this? Just because at the moment I can't afford Fontlab... Well I'll give fontographer a try during the weekend and let's see what happens!
By the way Stephen I'm using Mac

Massive thank you to both of you!

blank's picture

Try to get by with Glyphs or Fontographer. They're both good pieces of software that do most of what you will ever need. You do not need the really comprehensive niceties of Fontforge or Fontlab studio unless you are doing complex stuff like hinting, scripting, or building type families.

Stephen Coles's picture

Fontographer is open source? That's news to me!

quadibloc's picture

Maybe the names were mixed up. Fontforge is open source.

nestumAtum's picture

yes... sorry about that I meant fontforge not fontographer. And actually I'm building a type family! Is it to complex to do it with fontforge? Once again thank you for these amazing information

nitrofurano's picture

Fontforge is my only choice as well

nitrofurano's picture

quadibloc: i think Fontforge is software-libre (gpl-compatible), not open-source - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Open

quadibloc's picture

@nitrofurano:
i think Fontforge is software-libre (gpl-compatible), not open-source

Unfortunately, people will continue to call Linux an open-source operating system... and they will continue to call it Linux instead of GNU/Linux too.

It is true that the term "open-source" is sometimes applied also to software that is not free software, that is not under the GNU or BSD licenses - where the source is visible in a "look-but-don't-touch" fashion. But the basic thing here is that while GNU has proposed some alternative vocabulary, it hasn't really caught on, and so I can't recommend using their terminology if you want to be readily understood by the largest possible audience.

bojev's picture

Fontforge (free) is not as user friendly as TypeTool ($99 US) or Fontographer ($399 US) - that being said to go back to your original question of best and easy to learn or user friendly - I will stick with Fontographer as my recommendation. Having taught it for a number of years I can say that it is quick to learn and students output product sooner with as little trouble as is possible for a font editor.

nestumAtum's picture

How long do you guys take to create an entire family (all letters and punctuation)? I think I'm getting too long just for only one character... =S Thanks god the program is well documented =)

Thomas Phinney's picture

It depends on what you mean by "all letters and punctuation," what quality level is desired, and how experienced you are.

There is a big learning curve on doing this well. Proper outline construction is complicated. Spacing can also be very tricky. If your handwriting font has connecting letters, spacing is much easier, but getting connections right is equally challenging.

At the extremes, there are a few people who can do a basic English alphabet, numerals and basic punctuation (70-80 glyphs) in maybe two hours—usually with all sorts of tricks and automation assistance—and people who have taken several person-years to do the same.

I expect that my speed is a bit more average. I can prototype a design with that same minimal character set in maybe 12-20 hours. But that's not anything I would ship, either in terms of quality or character set completeness. Getting something polished and complete can easily run into months... or years. Hypatia Sans took five years for the upright and another three for the italics, though most of that was not full time. Slimbach spent some 15 years on Garamond Premier, though also not full time.

Cheers,

T

blank's picture

How long do you guys take to create an entire family…

However long it takes. I think Carl Crossgrove spent sixteen (non-continuous) years on Beorcana.

Té Rowan's picture

As far as I can tell, FontForge's licence is three-clause BSD. So, yes, it qualifies as Open Source.

nestumAtum's picture

I know it's very ambiguous to tell how long does it take to create an entire font family, I was asking just for an average time, but I understand there is a huge amount of variables to deal with.
Thomas my only experience is the one I have from the university so... is nothing to be honest. I want to create something good and I'm doing a lot of investigation about this subject and to be honest I'm getting really excited! I would like to show you the font when I finish it, just to have your honest opinions.

By the way I'm not sure which one is the most impressive: if the guy who took 2 hours to design an entire font family or Slimbach who took 15 years...

William Berkson's picture

There's evidently about to be a new entry in font editing, filling a missing link.

Novice Aelred's picture

I am no tech savvy. So can someone be so kind as to convert Mac fonts to PC-compatible format using Fontographer 5, I am told? It's very expensive to purchase, however. This is for non-profit use. I can simply email the files, 5 of them. Thank you very much!

HVB's picture

@Novice Aelred
re: Convert Mac fonts to PC

You should have started with a new message instead of tagging your request onto an un-related year-old post. However:

First, check your EULA's to see which of your fonts, if any, can legally be converted.

There are many FREE ways to convert your fonts.
You didn't say what kind of fonts they were (Type 1, Truetype, Opentype) and in what format (Macs seem to have multiple ways to store fonts) OR which platform(s) you have available to do it yourself. For OLDER Mac-only Truetype, there's a free converter called ttconvert. Google for it.

OR, here are two websites that offer font transformations:

http://www.freefontconverter.com/index.php
http://onlinefontconverter.com/

- Herb

HVB's picture

@Novice Aelred
re: Convert Mac fonts to PC

You should have started with a new message instead of tagging your request onto an un-related year-old post. However:

First, check your EULA's to see which of your fonts, if any, can legally be converted.

There are many FREE ways to convert your fonts.
You didn't say what kind of fonts they were (Type 1, Truetype, Opentype) and in what format (Macs seem to have multiple ways to store fonts) OR which platform(s) you have available to do it yourself. For OLDER Mac-only Truetype, there's a free converter called ttconvert. Google for it.

OR, here are two websites that offer font transformations:

http://www.freefontconverter.com/index.php
[[http://onlinefontconverter.com/\\

- Herb

Novice Aelred's picture

Herb,

Thanks for the response and pardon me for violating protocol. Actually, I have no idea. The person who created it, a monk in France created it. He owns it, and he forwarded the files to me, but they're Mac. They have no file extensions and he simply recommended that I use Fontographer 5. I can email them to you if you wish.

Cheers!

Novice Aelred's picture

Herb,

Thanks for the response and pardon me for violating protocol. Actually, I have no idea. The person who created it, a monk in France created it, forwarded the files to me, but they're Mac. They have no file extensions and he simply recommended that I use Fontographer 5. I can email them to you if you wish.

Cheers!

Novice Aelred's picture

Herb,

Thanks for the response and pardon me for violating protocol. Actually, I have no idea. The person who created it, a monk in France, forwarded the files to me, but they're Mac. They have no file extensions and he simply recommended that I use Fontographer 5. I can email them to you if you wish.

Cheers!

HVB's picture

First try to use the web sites I pointed to - just tell them where your files are and they should be able to figure it out. If that doesn't work, contact me (click on my nym and select 'contact'.

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