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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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