Fontlab and font creation tutorial

fontlab font creationHow to create a font in Fontlab tutorial

Tutorial steps

  1. File menu and new in Fontlab

  2. Goto a glyph such as 'A' and double click to display glyph window

  3. Select the drawing tool in the tools bar

  4. Click in the glyph window

  5. Draw the design

  6. Goto to the first point with the drawing tool and click to close the path

  7. Use the scaling tool etc to transform the design as required

  8. Close Fontlab glyph window

  9. Goto B and repeat

If you prefer, you can also use tools such as Illustrator or Inkscape to create the vector designs and then paste into Fontlab. The only issue sometimes with using another vector application is that the result is pasted outside of the main glyph window such as below the origin and to solve this, just use the edit tool to select all the points and drag the position of the design into the correct position as displayed above.


fontlab toolsOK, assuming that you are just using Fontlab and in this tutorial I am using version 5.2 (there is a new version available). The key thing is to just go to the file new command then go to each of the glyphs in turn and double click them and add your design by using the selection of tools such as drawing, knife tool, add corner and so on. Just click anywhere in the glyph window with the drawing tool and then add your points using the bezier curves. The design can be re-edited once you have finished the design. Click the first point to close the path. Start with glyph A and then B and then C and then D and so on. Use the grid to create the design so the characters are the required relative size - you may want a very small A with a very large B, that is up to you and your design. You can also use the transform tools found in the tools panel to re-size all the points by selecting the scale tool


fontlab paint toolsOther options to creating your design is to use the right click in the application and select the 'paint' panel. Personally I prefer the paint panel as it gives access to a range of brush / pencil tools. Just select the pencil tool and then draw and finish on the first point as before. The design may not be as elegant as using the bezier curves but it does mean you can create all kinds of rough and distressed artwork for your characters. This panel also has the black color option (add to path) and white (subtract from path). If you add a path and want to remove part of the path then just click the white to erase part of the path such as using the brush tool.


Once you have your design, you can tweak it with the other tools You can use the edit tool to move the points. You can also use different modes such as contour menu and sketch mode. You can select parts of the design and drag and move the points as required. Sketch mode can be found via the contour menu. You may find the sketch of use but the edit tool is fine for many paths.


cleanup and simplify paths in fontlabThere are a number of basic commands that can be used with the current glyph such as contour menu and paths and expand as well as simplify as well as cleanup paths (a few more options). Setting the slider will improve (or not) as well as remove some points (or not).


fontlab macroThere are also a number of macros supplied with Fontlab and they can be found via the view menu and tools and macros. Once you have the macros, you can run them by selecting the macro and then clicking the run button. You can also find many additional macros on the web and they can be used to manipulate the points in all kinds of ways such as adding extrudes or lightening the design and so on. As well as macros, there is also a selection of actions that can be used and they can be found via the tools menu and actions and there you can apply all kinds of effects as well as transforms such as shadow and 3D extrude etc as well as setting the values for the extrude.


Once you have gone through all the glyphs such as 1 2 3 4 etc then you can set the various kernings (that is an immensely complex subject).


fontlab font infoNow the final stage is to go to the file menu and file info. Goto names and copyrights etc and give a font family name, weight, width, style name, created by, creation year, copyright, designer URL etc. Click OK.


file menu and generate font and select truetype TTF etc


twirl font designs to buy

tribal vector designs

interstellar font sets


you can find more about fontlab at Fontlab itself



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