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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 02:04 PM   #1
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Handwriting Fonts

I'm considering having a font created with my own script. A quick Google shows a lot of providers, and it seems obvious that they all can't be equally good; creating a font is a bit of a black art, after all.

What are ehMac members' experiences? I'd especially appreciate anyone who's done this recently (ie since OSX arrived, and especially if they chose a format other than Macintosh TrueType format, which isn't really necessary anymore).
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 06:47 PM   #2
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I created a Mac TrueType font a couple of years ago. It can be fun and tedious all at the same time --especially if it's a script-style handwriting font (if you do it yourself). I went with a print version, but it still needs ligatures and a some kerning tweaks. I used Fontographer for OS 9.

OpenType is probably the better of all formats if you need to go cross-platform--it's really an enhanced version of TrueType, but can hold broader character sets, and are ideally suited for web and PDF publishing. The look good at any size.

Last edited by MannyP Design; Jun 20th, 2007 at 01:10 PM.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 09:15 PM   #3
 
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Try this:
http://dekorte.com/projects/shareware/Postcard/

Scroll the the bottom for Handfonts (free handwriting fonts).

As for creating your own fonts, most people seem to like Macromedia Fontographer. That's what the creator of the Foxtrot comic Bill Amend used for the script in his strips.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ernestworthing
Try this:
http://dekorte.com/projects/shareware/Postcard/

Scroll the the bottom for Handfonts (free handwriting fonts).

As for creating your own fonts, most people seem to like Macromedia Fontographer. That's what the creator of the Foxtrot comic Bill Amend used for the script in his strips.
Fontographer is now a FontLab product--and is now available for OS X.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #5
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Haven't tried this, but check here to download a template, write your letters, send it in and - presto - your own font.

http://www.fontifier.com/

Also, a tutorial on making your own font:

http://www.myfirstfont.com/
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Old Feb 12th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #6
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MannyP: yeah, the consensus seems to be cursive is not so easy but non cursive isn't much of a problem.

I spent most of yesterday checking out some options. Like you, I'm considering making my own. The very best custom-created cursive fonts cost in the order of $US 150, while a non-cursive font vaires; I found prices as low as $9 for a fully automated font (no hand tweaking).

There are apparently at least three versions of proprietary applications that create fonts, and people do make them by hand.

I did find some apparent bargains, especially if you're willing to hand tweak it yourself with a font tool, it might be fairly quick and painless.

So far, these seem to be the best choices:
Roger's link to Fontifier above; they are automated (no hand tweaking at all) and use software developed when researching Artificial Intelligence at MIT. For $9 it's almost too easy.

Quantum Enterprises of England, who offer Standard (144 user defined characters, £9), Signature (214 user defined characters, including signature, £15) and premium (£60) versions.

The Premium is recommended by them for cursive writing, they claim to extensively hand-tweak the premium font, and a few of the cursive examples work quite well. You can check their work out; they have free downloads of fonts they've created; depending on whether the user gave permission or not.

Finally, there's the guys I remember from more than a decade ago. At $US 150 they're the most expensive but apparently the method they use (automated, protected by patent) is quite realistic, if a bit of a pain. If you've ever used Grammatica and the like, you'll know what I mean. With OSX it seems they use the Services Menu, which is easier than cut & paste, at least.

Anyway, it's the one used by movie stars, George W Bush (yeah, that GWB) and the like, because it uses variations of the same letter based on context, and thus doesn't give away it's a font so easily (it's a little too neat, like all handwriting fonts, but it doesn't have the "dead giveaway" whereby you see the same "a" character everywhere). I think it's a Postscript font, though.

After that, there's a handful of font designers who offer a font creation service done mostly by hand. The price varies but it's surprisingly affordable; few are more than $US 99 and some are half that.

I was able to discover the tools they use though: TypeTool (FontLab or Fontgrapher isn't really needed, but of course it would work) along with ScanFont. About $US 200 if you want to go into business for yourself making custom handwriting fonts.

Last edited by gordguide; Feb 12th, 2006 at 06:33 PM.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 11:30 PM   #7
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gordguide, did you ever make your own or go with one of the companies above? I'm thinking of either Quantum or vLetter but was wondering how well their installed software works to vary the font based on context.
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordguide View Post
What are ehMac members' experiences? I'd especially appreciate anyone who's done this recently (ie since OSX arrived, and especially if they chose a format other than Macintosh TrueType format, which isn't really necessary anymore).
I have been migrating my own system towards Open Type fonts, as they work better across platforms. I have not had a problem with any of the OTF fonts I have used, though I do need to do more work to make sure thay all of the fonts I have work correctly in Linux.

As for creating fonts, I do not know much about it. There seems to be quite a little industry based on creating fonts, filled with artisans and zealots. Of course, a font that contained my handwriting would require the use of the Randomize function...
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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 03:38 AM   #9
 
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Don't create you own font or use font not create by designers

As a design student. I will not suggest creating you own fonts since real fonts like Ariel or Times New Roman are create by people who under rules of typography and how each letter of the alphabets need special attention so whatever you create will look nice as letters but when you combine it as a word or paragraph it will have many problem and look weird.
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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ..........? View Post
As a design student. I will not suggest creating you own fonts since real fonts like Ariel or Times New Roman are create by people who under rules of typography and how each letter of the alphabets need special attention so whatever you create will look nice as letters but when you combine it as a word or paragraph it will have many problem and look weird.
Thingy raises an excellent point. It's possible to create a very basic font of letters and numbers in your own handwriting, but the kerning and litagure and the other little touches that make a FONT more than just a collection of symbols are a BEEYOTCH to get right.

This is much less of an issue with block writing than it is with cursive, but it's still an issue. I think it's a fun hobby thing to try, but outside of comic strip/book artists (who use block print thus it works pretty well for them), most handwriting fonts fall pretty far short of elegantly legible once you get beyond a headline's worth of text.
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