creating a font from handwriting

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How do I make a font from my handwriting? Also would this font be something that could potentially be marketed?

thank you,
#1 - 2008-08-03, 16:47

You write out all the letters and punctuation marks you want in the font and then you scan them into your computer, creating a large graphics file.  With Fontographer, you would cut and paste each letter from the graphics image (displayed on screen in your graphics editing program of choice) into FOG, using FOG's Auto Trace feature.  Then, you clean up each of the letters.

Would this be marketable?  Probably only if you're a celebrity, and everyone wants a font of your handwriting.  But it's cool to send people letters printed from your computer that look like they've been handwritten.
#2 - 2008-08-04, 15:49

These rules generally apply to other products as well...

#12311: Creating Handwriting Fonts in Fontographer for Windows
This tutorial is designed to illustrate the easiest method of creating a handwriting font. Handwriting
samples should be fairly large, 3 inches is ideal. If the sample handwriting is too small, make a
photocopy and enlarge it. Keep in mind that your characters must be properly proportioned in order to
appear correct in Fontographer.
1. Open a new font using File > Open Font.
2. Name your font under Element > Font info > General using the Family Name field.
3. Scan the handwriting example at no more than 300 dpi.
4. Using your scanner software, save it as a .BMP file. The Logitech PageScan Color Scanner will
scan images directly into Fontographer€™s Template Layer as described in the Fontographer
Readme.txt file in your Fontographer folder.
– 112 –
5. In Paint/Paintbrush:
Open the BMP file in Paint or Paintbrush.
6. Draw a rectangle which appears to be about twice the height of the capital letter M, and half
again as wide. This will establish the tallest and widest character in your font (hence the term em
square) and all your characters will be uniformly scaled on this rectangle when they are brought
into Fontographer. Make sure the rectangle never touches the character and use the same
rectangle for all of your characters. Positioning your characters in Fontographer will be easier if
you create a hash mark, on the lower left edge of this rectangle, to represent the baseline.
7. Using the Select tool, drag a marquee around a character and select Copy.
8. Select Paste. This will place a copy of the character in the upper left corner of your document.
9. The cursor will change to a four-pointed arrow. Position this over the newly pasted character.
Click and hold the mouse button, and drag (while holding down the mouse button) the pasted
character to the inside of your drawn rectangle. Position it so that the bottom of the character is
about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the rectangle. Then let go of the mouse button.
10. Use Edit > Select All then select Edit > Copy.
11. In Fontographer:
Open the character window for the character you are copying, such as M.
12. Select Edit > Paste.
13. If you need to reposition the character, go to Fontographer€™s Layer palette, and click on the
WORD Template. This does not mean the check box! The checkboxes only display/hide the
contents of a layer. Clicking on the NAME of a layer will move you to that layer.
14. You may move the box and its contents with the arrow cursor or the arrow keys on your
15. When you are satisfied with the position of the character, go back to the Fontographer Layer
palette and click on the WORD Outline. This will move you to the Outline, or drawing, layer of
16. Choose Element > Autotrace. A dialog box will appear. For the purposes of this tutorial, use the
default settings.
17. Position the character on the baseline. Then, delete the rectangle which surrounds the character
by double-clicking on one of its points (which will highlight ONLY the path of the rectangle) and
pressing delete.

Jimmy G.
#3 - 2008-08-07, 07:25
Jim Gallagher
Fontlab Ltd.

I am currently in the process of creating a typeface in my father's handwriting. I mailed him a number of sheets to complete from the simplest a-z, A-Z with punctuation to several sentences to get the kerning correctly matching the stroke of his handwriting.

I started this project several years ago in my "part" time, so it is taking quite a while. I also started with Fontographer on a pc, and I just received a MacBook Pro for my birthday (woo! hoo!), so I am interested if Fontlab has a cross-upgrade program available, so I may either "upgrade" Fontographer to the Mac version, or "upgrade" to a new tool on the Mac such as TypeTool or Fontlab Studio.

It all depends on how detailed you wish to be with the letterforms, kerning, etc. as to how you might take on this type of task. I would like to be as true to my father's handwriting as possible, so I went to extra lengths creating the forms for him to complete. It takes additional scanning and outline creation in Illustrator (that was another switch from Freehand to Illustrator about 25% into the process); however, with the bezier curves and vector tools available, it also gives me back up characters outside of the font creation tool in case I ever need any backups.

I wish you the best and happy I found this forum. I read Typophile and Typographica on occasion, and it is nice to have other views specifically directed to the tools at hand to see how other designer are using them.

#4 - 2008-08-17, 19:22
Wynne Hunkler | Principal
Wynnefields Creative
Visual Communications


Yep -this a crossgrade policy -email for details.

Jimmy G.
#5 - 2008-08-19, 11:50
Jim Gallagher
Fontlab Ltd.


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