My First Typeface – Process Post

Spring Fling font alphabet in light, medium, and bold weights.
Spring Fling alphabet in light, medium, and bold weights. Download.

As a graphic designer, it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at making a full typeface. Designing one presented some new challenges and learning opportunities, and I want to be sure to document and share my process.

For my first typeface, I wanted to create something that felt personally meaningful and also a bit forgiving, so I made a font based on my own handwriting. This allowed for a number of fun idiosyncrasies and quirks that differentiate it from standard fonts.

I began the process by writing out the alphabet in my sketchbook before drawing it in Photoshop using a Wacom tablet. I then took this drawing into Illustrator to create each letter out of vector paths.

Here is where I allowed myself the easy way out by using paths instead of shapes. By using strokes, I was able to alter the font weight by increasing or decreasing the stroke width, rather than recreate each letter shape.

In creating each letter form, I tried to strike a balance between the expressiveness of my handwriting and making a cohesive set of letters that work well together. I did a lot of tweaking to make sure that every curve was pleasantly round, and every stroke was gently curved without being wonky or crooked.

Once I had made the entire alphabet including numbers and punctuation, I exported each letter as a separate SVG file so that I could import it into Glyphr Studio, a free program made to streamline the font design process. There are probably more robust programs with more features, but Glyphr was able to let me import my letters, size and kern them, and export a font file.

The export process caused a few headaches. Glyphr can export as OTF but in doing so loses the kerning that I had set. I got around this by exporting an SVG font, which does retain kerning, and converting it to OTF using an online file conversion tool. Here I ran into some more issues with the different weights of my font being flagged as duplicates in Font Book and not working properly. Eventually, I found TransType 4 which I downloaded as a free trial to sort out my final font files.

No typeface would be complete without a type specimen. I decided to make an animated one so it would look cool on instagram, and because I am a show off.

Being able to take something from an idea to final product, while learning new tools and processes along the way, is always a rewarding experience. I am trying to make more of an effort to document my creative process, since I feel that typically I am too quick to finish a project and move on, without taking time to reflect. So this blog is an effort to do more of that.

Download my font for free