Do you ever get tired of searching through website after website in what feels like a hopeless attempt to find the perfect font for a project? You know exactly what you’re looking for, but everything you find seems to be just short of perfection. And you’re not the type of designer to settle.
There’s another route you can take to avoid settling for a typeface with those minor imperfections. Instead, get crafty and create your own font.
There are a couple different ways you can go about this. And depending on what style you’re going for, there are ways to create digital solutions, as well as hand-drawn ones. For now, we’re going to focus on the hands-on method and learn how to turn your artwork into a real-life typeface.
1. Choose the site you want to use
If you Google “make your own font,” you’ll find more than enough websites capable of bringing your artwork to life. Overall, they mostly follow the same system, so don’t stress too much about this. To help you sort through everything, here are three sites I recommend:
For this tutorial, I used PaintFont, so you’ll get a glimpse of what that looks like.
2. Gather your materials
Let your creativity run wild. If you want to grab your ruler and protractor to make perfect curves and lines, go for it. Want to grab your 3-year old and see what they come up with? Grab them too. That’s the best part of making your own font — you get to do whatever you want.
No matter the style, you’ll want to use a dark pen for the final product on template paper. Nothing too skinny or heavy — find something with a medium weight. I used a traditional Sharpie, so you can see how that turns out in the final project (spoiler alert: The font looks really thick).
And I’d suggest starting with a pencil. Remember, you can always sketch and then refine with the pen. Just erase your scribbles before you’re finished!
3. Practice, practice, practice
Depending on how natural your font is to draw, you may or may not need to practice before attempting to draw the final version. I took the easy way out — I’m just doing my own handwriting, so I didn’t really practice for my font.
On the template sheets, you’ll have to put multiple characters on a single sheet of paper. That means if you mess up one letter and aren’t able to fix it, you may have to redo an entire sheet of characters. And if your font is really intricate, that’s going to be incredibly draining on your time and patience.
Even if it’s just once, practice your font, and hopefully you’ll avoid the bumps in the road during the final version.
4. Do it for real now
Once you’re ready, download the paper template from the site you chose. This probably looks like a couple pieces of paper with a designated area for each letter. Like you’ve practiced, just draw your letterforms as you want them.
Don’t worry if your OCD comes out while doing this. Since the artwork on the templates will be your font, you want it to be right. Go slow, double check your characters, and leave yourself enough time to do this without being rushed. The last thing you want is to discover mistakes in your font after you’ve installed it on your computer and are trying to use it for a project.
5. Time to upload and create it
Once you’re satisfied with your work, it’s time to upload the templates to that site you chose in Step 1. Scan your templates and then make sure you look at the specific requirements of how they need to be uploaded. Just follow the site’s instructions, and wait for your font to be created. With PaintFont, my wait time was approximately seven seconds, so it’s a pretty fast turn around.
6. Install it and go
Your font is now just like any other that you would download, so install it the same way you would any other font you found online. It’s really that easy!
A few things I learned
- See those two dots in between the two lines of text? No idea where those came from, but they’re attached to the “M” character.
- Writing on the template can feel very awkward. Think back to kindergarten when you were first learning how to write; it’s a very similar experience. Maybe consider practicing on the template sheets to get the hang of it.
- The Sharpie looked nice on paper, but its lines look much thicker as a digital font. And the ends of my letters didn’t get copied very well, resulting in the rather childish-looking font you see above.
- Although it’s difficult since you design each letter separately, try to keep in mind how all the characters relate to each other. For some reason, I drew my lowercase “t” much smaller (and higher) than the other letters, so it looks a little out of place.
Honestly, for your first font, it may take a couple tries. While it’s a simple process, you’ll probably learn new and better ways to go about making your own font each time you do it.
Want to download Morganly? Great news, you can! Here’s a free download on me.
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Have you made a custom font before? What tricks do you use to create the perfect solution? Let us know in the comments below!