:: Font Design Resources

  • Freeware PC/Mac Platform TrueType Font Converter (PC to Mac or Mac to PC)
    Software: TTConverter (Macintosh) Freeware Mac/PC Platform TrueType Converter Utility
    Although some fonts in the Font-Journal catalog include versions of the font in different formats other than the PC TrueType Font format (.TTF), most of the font archives only include the PC platform format TTF font file in the distrobution. Luckily, all is not lost and there is a great little handy dandy PC to Mac and back to PC conversion utility called the TTConverter that should allow you to convert most any PC TTF font that you might find here. If you are looking for a better/higher quality conversion of a font, you can check out the design and conversion tools listed below...
  • Professional Font Design Software from FontLab
    Software: Fontographer (Macintosh & Windows) Professional Font Design Software
    Fontographer has been the traditional designer's staple tool for creating modern digital type in an easy-to-use software package since longer than I can remember. Fontographer features intuitive vector drawing and manipulation.
    Software: FontLab Studio (Macintosh & Windows) Professional Font Design Software Suite
    FontLab's FontLab Studio promises to become the new standard for designing modern computer fonts by supporting more font formats and more types of modern digital type fonts (including the new PhotoFont standard), with more options.
    Software: TypeTool (Macintosh & Windows) Basic Font Editor
    TypeTool is the perfect font design tool for those designers that are just getting started, only need to design/customize/modify/append fonts occasionally, or simply enjoying font design as artists & hobbyists. TypeTool is a great way to test the waters and see if you want to delve into the art of designing fonts, dingbats, symbols, etc., without spending a great deal. Plus, the upgrade path to Fontographer actually saves you money over purchasing Fontographer outright! TypeTool can even be bundled with ScanFont to allow expanded funtionality with further versatility scanning in hand drawn/written fonts or converting fonts.
    Software: BitFonter (Macintosh & Windows) Professional Bitmap/Pixel/PhotoFont Type Design Software
    BitFonter is a bitmap font editor for professionals. It allows designers, developers and manufacturers of electronic devices to create and modify bitmap fonts for print publications, web pages, animations, computer games and electronic devices, as well as convert between bitmap font formats, and from/into outline font formats. Expand its capabilities with TypeTool or FontLab Studio and apply special effects to your outline fonts!
  • Professional Font Converters from FontLab
    Software: TransType (Macintosh & Windows) Ultimate Font Conversion Tool for Professionals
    TransType allows your fonts to work when and where you want them to, on any required platform or device. Fast and versatile, TransType organizes font families, fixes font problems, and allows you to play with both monochrome and multi-color fonts. TransType is now even more the ultimate font converter, allowing you to generate rock-solid, high-quality OpenType, TrueType or @font-face web fonts. You can even turn monochrome layered fonts and/or color fonts into exciting multi-color OpenType fonts. If you design or distribute fonts, TransType is the ultimate conversion tool for turning your VFBs or UFOs into distribution fonts.
    Software: ScanFont (Macintosh & Windows) Professional Font Conversion/Scanning Plug-in
    ScanFont is a plug-in for TypeTool 3 and FontLab Studio 5 that enables your creative juices to flow by allowing you to convert graphics into fonts. Any bitmap image or outline illustration can be quickly converted into a fully-workable TrueType, Type 1 or OpenType font. Grayscale and color is supported. ScanFont even supports the import of EPS graphics so that you can use Illustrator to make fonts. The AsiaFont Studio software tool will also support the ScanFont plug-in when AsiaFont Studio is released.
  • Professional Font Utilities from FontLab
    Software: DTL OT Master (Macintosh & Windows) Professional Technical OpenType Editor
    DTL OTMaster (OTM) is a highly sophisticated application for reviewing, editing and altering tables and contours of OpenType fonts (.otf and .ttf), TrueType fonts (.ttf) and TrueType Collection (.ttc) fonts, including CID-keyed OpenType fonts, CJK (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) and complex-scripts (Indic, Arabic etc.) fonts.
    Software: ScanFont (Macintosh & Windows) Professional Font Conversion/Scanning Plug-in
    ScanFont is a plug-in for TypeTool 3 and FontLab Studio 5 that enables your creative juices to flow by allowing you to convert graphics into fonts. Any bitmap image or outline illustration can be quickly converted into a fully-workable TrueType, Type 1 or OpenType font. Grayscale and color is supported. ScanFont even supports the import of EPS graphics so that you can use Illustrator to make fonts. The AsiaFont Studio software tool will also support the ScanFont plug-in when AsiaFont Studio is released.
  • Free Font Utilities from FontLab
    Software: FontLab Pad (Macintosh & Windows) Color Fonts Display Utility
    Use 'color fonts' in your graphics, videos, word documents and more! Just download and install FontLab's free 'FontLab Pad' app, then download the free Ringo Blingo color font (designed by Lukasz Dziedzic). Open Ringo Blingo in FontLab Pad. Style your text with FontLab Pad’s typographic controls. Export the text as PDF, SVG or PNG and then import the graphic into Photoshop, Premier, Word, or any other application that supports graphics and you can use the image as you like. (More free color fonts soon to come!)
    On top of color fonts, you can open a font in virtually any format using FontLab Pad, including traditional monochrome fonts, even VFB and UFO font files. You can even apply color to text even when it is a monochrome font.
  • Freeware Font Design and Conversion Software by George Williams
    Software: FontForge (Unix/Linux and ported to Windows, Macintosh & others) Freeware Outline Font Design and Conversion Suite
    I have always wanted this handy dandy little professional font design and convesion suite to work on my system. It was created for Unix/Linux systems and the source was ported over to a vast array of platforms (not just Win and Mac), but in order to install it I had to run some sort of *nix environment like Cygwin and the whole package was just never stable enough to use. The above links go to the FontForge home and the new Windows binary that is being maintained at SourceForge which is a new project based on what may be a more reliable port of the source code. There are other ports for other platforms available at the FontForge.org site, as well. George Wiliams developed this wonderful open source software for Linux and the new Windows binary is thanks to Matthew Petroff, with other parties working hard on other ports of George's source.
    FontForge allows you to create and edit both outline and bitmap fonts. It is also a format converter and can interconvert between PostScript (ascii & binary Type1, some Type3, some Type0), TrueType, OpenType (Type2), CID, SVG.
  • Free Font Tools from Microsoft
    Website: Microsoft Free Tools for Typography (Windows) Free Font Tools Software Catalog
    Microsoft maintains a few free font tools for typography on its site, and also offers a list of other free font tools from its partner companies. The selection is kept up-to-date, and I have downloaded quite a few free typography tools from Microsoft over the years (some that are no longer listed there). As of this writing, Microsoft itself offers for free:
    OpenType Font Property Extension (Windows XP or later - 32bit extension)
    When clicking the right mouse button over a font file in Windows, you can select 'properties' to display the font's basic properties. When the OpenType Font Properties extension is installed, several new additional tabs to the properties dialog box (Embedding, CharSet/Unicode, Features, Links, Description, Version, Hinting/Font Smoothing, Names & License) offer additional information about a font (when the data is provided).
    Web Embedding Fonts Tool (Windows 98 and later)
    This tool allows web designers and authors to create 'font objects' that are linked to their home pages and websites so that when viewed through a standards compliant web browser, the web pages are displayed using the embedded font objects so that they appear in the aesthetic style for which the page was designed, promoting a 'look and feel' that is unique to that site design, page formatting or any particular style highlighted section/content.
    Clear Type Tuner (for Windows XP & Vista, already included in 7)
    Windows users should take advantage of the ClearType Tuner to set their ClearType settings to their own preferences. ClearType Tuner can be accessed by Windows 7 users through their Windows Control Panel under 'Appearance and Personalization'. Windows XP and Vista users can use the online ClearType Tuner, or download and install the ClearType PowerToy to activate and set their ClearType preferences via the Windows Control Panel.
  • Typography Developer Tools & SDKs from Microsoft
    Website: Microsoft Typography Developer Tools and SDKs (Windows) Free
    Font Validadtor (Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7 with .NET Framework) Free
    The Microsoft Font Validator is a free developer tool for testing TrueType and OpenType fonts to ensure there are no errors. Though errors may not cause the font to fail on current operating systems, it may limit use or functionality in certain applications or future versions of the operating system.
    Visual OpenType Layout Tool (Windows) Free
    The Microsoft Visual OpenType Layout Tool allows users a friendly, easy-to-use graphical user interface to add OpenType layout tables to a font with TrueType outlines.
    OpenType Font Signing Tool (Windows 9* w/IE5, Windows NT4 + SP4, Windows 2000 Beta 3 or later)
    Allows an author or publisher to add one digital signatures to an OpernType or TrueType font, as well as checks the font for errors.
    Font Properties Editor (Windows) Free
    Typography artists, developers and publishers can easily add data to their fonts that can easily be accessed for more information about a font from Microsoft's free Font Property Extension. Currently, the supported entries allow data for: Designer - the type designer (or designers); Designer Link - the designer's website URL (or contact e-mail address); Type Foundry - the company responsible for marketing the font; Foundry Link - the company's website URL (or contact e-mail address); Description - background info on the font, crediting the people who created it, advice on its usage, and data concerning upgrades and/or technical support and other meta data; License - the license field should contain in plain language the restrictions placed on the use of this font (some issues you may consider include whether the font is 'freeware', 'shareware' or 'public domain', and you may wish to look into the definition of such terms, or define what you mean by these terms); Redistribution - Even if you give the font away for free, are others allowed to redistribute it?; Service Bureaus - can users of the font loan it to service bureaus (for project printing, etc)?; Embedding - any restrictions on embedding need to be consistent with the embedding permissions encoded within the font; Conversion & Manipulation - are users allowed to convert the font to a different format or manipulate the outlines and what restrictions do you place on editing/modifying/customizing/appending the font and is the redistribution of such 'derivative works' allowed?; License Link - a link to a licensing FAQ or an e-mail contact for licensing questions; Vendor ID - a unique four letter code that identifies the font foundry; Embedding - embedding permissions may be made more restrictive.
  • Microsoft's Downloadable Free Internal Typography Tools
    Website: Microsoft's Internal Typography Tools (Windows) Free
    Even though this page is actually a part of the Typography Developer Tools & SDKs from Microsoft section, it needs to be highlighted on its own because these are tools that although are not supported by Microsoft, have been used internally for years to expidite typography development and production.
    This suite of software includes TTFdump, TrueType Open Assembler, Flint, SBIT32, CacheTT, FastFont & AddTable. Of special note is FastFont, which will reorder a TrueType font file for faster execution.
  • Glyphs Font Editor for the Mac
    Website: Glyphs Font Designer (Macintosh OSX 10.5 - 10.9)
    GlyphsApp.com offers a pro and mini version of Glyphs, a very capable font editor for the Apple Macintosh computer. The popular free online font editor at FontStruct.com even supports saving glyph format files for further editing in this program.
  • Online Modular TrueType Font Design Tool: FontStruct by Rob Meek
    Website: FontStruct (Any Flash Supporting Platform, Online Availability) is Free and is lots of Fun.
    FontStruct is a great little community of 'FontStruction' designers that push modular font creation to extremes. Users can create TTF format scalable or bitmap font and glyph files for use in applications that support TTF fonts, or even use the platform to experiment with projects to sort out the designs that work for further tweaking and editing in other more advanced font editors. The community is strong and usually very supportive of typographicly inclined artists, though there is always the troll spoiler ruining font rankings with jealousy votes. The whole interface is quite nice, but uses a block structure as a puzzle to overcome when designing a new 'fontstruction' (a font created with FontStruct). Unicode Letter Sets are optionally supported and this 'advanced option' must be implemented for a fontstruction to correctly display when uploaded to Font-Journal or another font repository. There is also a vast array of language letter sets and symbols supported. FontStruct does require that the platform used to access it online be Adobe Flash enabled. This allows Windows, Macintosh, iPad and some Flash enhanced platforms to run the app. Fontstuctions (fonts created with FontStruct) can either be bitmap TTF fonts or scalable modular TTF fonts. The FontStructor design tool also supports saving Glyph format files for use with the Glyph font editor available on the Macintosh.
  • Online Handwriting/Script/Print TTF Font Design Tool: MyScriptFont.com
    Website: MyScriptFont.com (Any Platform with Online Access) Free Font Creation Tool
    This one is a little gem that has been around a long time. You print out a page of grid, hand draw, paint or fill your characters in their respective blocks (or cells), scan it @ 300dpi, upload the resulting image and it will use vectors to create a TrueType, OpenType or SVG Font of your characters for you. Although I would like to see just a couple more characters, it does create a very usable font. But they use this one to rope you in, because there is a more powerful such tool (next) where you can use to add any characters you choose.
  • Online Handwriting/Script/Print TTF Font Design & Modification Tool: PaintFont.com
    Website: tool (Any Platform with Online Access) Free Font Creation and Modification Tool
    Paint Font is a masterful script that not only allows you to create fonts, but allows you to append or overwrite fonts with new characters, any character you can display through your keyboard, perhaps more (support for languages, ligatures, math and more only takes a click of the mouse). Obviously, this is a very powerful tool meant to be used to allow artists the ability to update or revamp their own projects, so please don't use it with fonts that you are restricted from doing so by the license. I personally only use it to create new fonts and refine versions that I liked in My Script Font or the ones that I am currently working on and improving in Paint Font. The resulting font can be configured as an OTF (OpenType Font) or TTF (TrueType Font) file and the tool even supports embedding your own Copyright message (which to me is a huge bonus). I say use My Script Font on your crazy ideas and use Paint Font to really develop the ideas that work. Note that this does not require that a user hand write/draw/paint/fill in fonts, as the font sheet uploads are digital and therefore you could (with a little digital magic) save sheets using an existing digital type of any kind. But of course, with an artistic hand, this is where Paint Font does excel, with hand written/drawn/sketched/inked/painted fonts.
  • Online TTF Font Modification and Effects Tool: FontPunk.com
    Website: FontPunk.com (Any Platform with Online Access) Free Font Modification and Effects Tool
    Font Punk is a really cool utility that allows you to play with your fonts by adding all sorts of effects to them. Only the main unicode Latin letter sets are supported (Basic Latin, Supplement 1, and the Latin Extended Sets A & B). But that pretty much covers the fonts of the western world, so it really is a great tool that will allow you to easily bold or lighten your font, randomly rotate or shake the characters, skew a font, turn a font into outlines, and more. As you can see, you can take a font and come up with a bolder or italic version, apply multiple, or even all the effects. Do be careful because there are some advanced effects like morph and add 3D. This is also a powerful free online tool that can be used to quickly generate families of fonts from a single source, so be sure to only modify fonts that you hold the Copyright to, or indicate that derivative works/fonts are OK to create.

:: Font Artists And Resources

  • Ray Larabie
    Website: Typodermic Fonts
    Journaled Fonts: Fonts by Ray Larabie cataloged in the font-journal repository.
    Recommended: "The Ray Larabie Fonts Collection" at Typodermic Fonts.
    Ray Larabie has been an ardent supporter of the freeware font as well as a constant contributor to the freeware/shareware community. His catalog of freeware fonts continues to grow and the quality of his fonts is superior. Ray has been a icon in the business and we wish him great success with his Typodermic Fonts Studio commercial fonts enterprise.
  • Patrick Broderick
    Website: Rotodesign
    Journaled Fonts: Fonts by Patrick Broderick cataloged in the font-journal repository.
  • Anke Arnold
    Website: Anke-Art
    Journaled Fonts: Fonts by Anke Arnold cataloged in the font-journal repository.

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