How to Make Your Own TrueType Font for Free

Written by kyle fiechter
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How to Make Your Own TrueType Font for Free
Personalise your written words by creating fonts. (the letter z image by feisty from Fotolia.com)

The software required to create type can set you back well over a thousand dollars. Creating type, however, can be accomplished using open source, free software. Note that the word "font" is a specific word meaning type of one size and face, so the more general and accurate term "type" is applicable.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Write the alphabet on a piece of paper. The best pen to use is a black felt tip pen or marker, not a ballpoint. Use a template to minimise work later by creating straight letters of similar sizes.

  2. 2

    Scan the piece of paper with your handwritten alphabet. Scan in grayscale in the bitmap format, at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution. If you do not have a scanner, you can attempt to use a ditigal camera to produce the same results and import your font into your computer.

  3. 3

    Import your scanned image into a paint program, such as Gimp. Gimp is available for free under the GNU General Public License. Clean up the font and make alterations if desired.

  4. 4

    Vectorise your image. Type must be saved in a vector format. Open your bitmap in a vector graphics editor such as Inkscape, also freely available, trace your bitmap image (Path > Trace Bitmap) and save as an SVG file.

  5. 5

    Import your newly created SVG file into FontForge or a similarly free font-creating program (File > Import). Make corrections and generate your font. Go to File > Generate and save your file with a .ttf extension to create a TrueType font.

Tips and warnings

  • You can skip the first three steps by starting with Inkscape to create your vector graphic and import it into FontForge or use Fontforge alone to complete all steps.
  • Explore FontForge tutorials to learn how to kern and create font families or variants of your font, such as italics and bold.

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