Watercolor Alphabet Font

Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font Texture Pack

Say hello to our Watercolor Alphabet Font Texture Pack

This handcrafted, handpainted pack isn’t your typical font. Saved out as PNG files, the Watercolor Font Texture Pack is to be used like a texture, giving your piece an individually-crafted quality.

Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font

Saved out, as shown above, the letters can easily be individually changed to any color of the rainbow using the swatches included in this pack. The possibilities are endless.

Shop Watercolor Alphabet

Here’s what you get with the Watercolor Font Pack:

  • Watercolor Alphabet (Letters A thru Z, plus numbers 0 thru 9) – PNG Files
  • 12 Swatches (Jpeg Files)
  • Text file (This explains how to apply our swatches to the alphabet)

  Please note: All files are stored in PNG format with transparent background and therefore, are not your typical font.

Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font
We’re hooking you up with all the letters of the alphabet, as well as numbers 0 to 9

Shop Watercolor Alphabet

How to Create a Handwritten Font

How to Create Your Own Handwritten Font (in 30 minutes or less)

You’re going to want to gobble up this new font: Vendor Handwritten

30+ Quirky, Free Fonts We’re Shouting Out

Type That’s Good Enough to Eat: An Interview with Danielle Evans

Cleveland graphics firm, Go Media presents An Interview with Danielle Evans

in-process
THE WONDER JAM

Tell us a little bit about your life growing up, creatively speaking. Did you always play with your food?

I had a very happy early childhood, and both of my parents encouraged me to try my little hands at everything. I had a wide variety of interests, but I was very keen on drawing and coloring. I knew I loved putting pencil to paper, and this manifested in many ways; I would draw the weather report and pretend to be a news anchor, I wrote stories for a fake newspaper but only ever finished the supporting photos/drawings, I made award certificates for my soccer teammates when we won the championship. My dad started college as an artist, and helped me paint a cheetah shaped car for the Pinewood Derby; it won best of show but got stuck halfway down the track. Neither of us were engineers.

As a small child, I only desecrated family dinner once- I had just seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind and was investigating the merit of the mashed potato mountain before my mom put a hard stop on my dinner table creation. However, I had several school projects where the two of us made food based social studies maps, such as the island of Japan out of cake or a local fort out of cookies and candy. These were always popular with my classmates for obvious, diabetes inducing reasons.

THEGUARDIAN
THEGUARDIAN

Who has been most supportive of your journey and how have they supported you?

I’ve heard it said that many people don’t wish to owe anyone else for their successes, but I honestly owe so many people. So many people have supported me in this journey that naming one person solely would be remiss. I’ve had great discussions with Tim Frame, Jeremy Slagle, Ron Mazellan, and other professional creatives when trying to decide if I wanted to freelance. My husband, Jarrod, has been the most constant contributor; he has dutifully served as a therapist, art director, unwelcome-but-correct art director, accountant, sidekick, fan, caretaker, and support. Several artists from the community have had a profound impact on my business model and sense of creative self; Allan Peters for my first big break, Jessica Hische on creative enterprise, Clark Orr for kickstarting my train of thought on multi-sensory design, These are Things for playful professionalism. Without the constant emotional support of various creative friends- Claire Coullon, Joseph Alessio, Mikey Burton, Scott Hull, Heidi and Asim Ahmed, Jonathan Vair– I don’t think I would have made much of myself. If anything, I’ve learned artistic endeavors are rarely made alone.

TARGET "FOOD FOR THOUGHT"
TARGET “FOOD FOR THOUGHT”

Did you have a moment when you realized that design was your calling?

I had always struggled with finding my calling, in part due to my moderate success at most of my hobbies. Passion was always a frustrating word as well because I never felt particularly inclined towards any of these endeavors, save illustration, but I wasn’t particularly gifted. School had broken me of my perceived skill, and in design I found shape based, typographic solace from messy strokes and the human form. However, I felt design could be soulless and longed to marry the two. When I discovered lettering, the world suddenly opened up and swallowed me. Handwriting had always been important to me, and this convinced both my husband and myself that this was a narrative and design-y way to focus myself and my portfolio. The calling came in a series of small epiphanies, really. I realized I could be happy for those finding success and not be consumed by jealousy because I had my own path to trod; I decided I would love doing this if I never became well known or published; I determined I wasn’t my business and therefore wasn’t a failure if I never made any money back. Once I became easy in my own skin, I found solace in my work and made confident strides.

GET CRACKIN
GET CRACKIN

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days vary wildly; sometimes I’m doing office related work- writing/responding to emails, filling out interviews, posting work to my site(s), etc. These days are occasionally spent in my underpants and are why I describe myself as “low maintenance”. Shoot days are far more exciting and vary based on location, but consistently I am wearing pants for these. I arrive early, around 8- 8:30am, and gather with the creative team to determine a shoot schedule and assess supplies. If the shoot is a still vs. video day, I’ll immediately begin working on the first piece. I usually request a specific item and brand that I’ve tested and a couple back ups, should we run into issues. I may be asked to do a test on the intended surface for lighting and camera placement, which allows me to warm up to the substance. The creation portion of the day is the most basic but often magical to others; I put my head down and make whatever I’ve set out to do without stencils or grids, and occasionally without sketches until the piece is finished. This part of the process can be most intensive, as the agency and client are usually present and wish to offer feedback during production. Once I’ve arrived in a finished place and everyone is satisfied with the lettering, I’ll begin propping and styling the final frame and ask the photographer to pop a couple of shots. These days can last between 9-16 hours, dependent on the number of pieces and amount of revisions; the marathon of my jobs is exhausting, but having a finished product(s) at the end of the day is extremely satisfying. Usually I’ll come home and stretch, as I’m often bent over a board for most of the day, occasionally balancing on a table top or kneeling on concrete.

What is your biggest fear as a working artist?

The real answer to this question is somewhat illogical but legitimately concerning: becoming commoditized. I’ve struggled to find my place in the creative community and develop my style, eventually succeeding after several years of anxiety and error. I’ve cobbled my job to include my favorite interests, strongest skill sets, and wildest dreams (ie. travel). The internet has aided me in achieving a small measure of success in spreading my unusual brand of work beyond my furthest circles, which is wonderful. Eventually my design reaches those with no knowledge of my personhood, process, or my struggle, becoming a trend. This is surreal, as I’ve lost jobs to other “food typographers,” a title and misnomer I created for myself. As my work becomes further removed from me, the sensibilities and techniques I use are deconstructed and reused without rhyme or reason by others, becoming part of a movement. This is both flattering and terrifying; if I want to remain ahead, I need to continue to evolve.

Secondarily, stagnation scares me, as it’s the slow, hospital bed death of creatives. I always want to better myself with each project, so either my type styles have to advance, or my substances have to evolve. I want to ensure I’m racing myself and topping my own accomplishments. If I continue to make strides with each piece, rather than padding a portfolio with repetitive work, I’ll always receive interesting inquiries and opportunities.

What is one risk that you’ve taken in your career that has paid off?

My greatest personal risks involve becoming courageous enough to test my own limits. I’ve learned to ask myself “Is this possible?” when brainstorming a new piece. The risk is so small, as the the answer is merely for my own satisfaction. To pad myself from expectation, I don’t broadcast what I’m working on online or in person until I know for certain the piece is working; if I screwed up and ruined everything, I’d either scrap the project entirely or start over from scratch. Once I became confident in the portfolio I had amassed, I felt comfortable asking others if it was possible to work together. My biggest break came from answering a call for freelancers tweet from Allan Peters simply because I asked to be considered. Asking others for a chance became so much easier once I proved to myself that I was worthy.

WORLD CUP
WORLD CUP

What is your favorite food to work with and why?

I love working with food, but I’ve had such amazing experiences with other materials. Various ropes/strings have proven a fun challenge as they require twisting and monolinear treatments, fabrics look elegant in their own right, plants unfold in my hands and have a timetable before they wilt; the world is full of potential materials. Whatever I utilize, I like to suggest rather than dictate how the material works for me. I like my substances to remain true to themselves. My greatest satisfaction is walking up to a tree and plucking the bowl of a 5 out of a bough, spotting the perfect curve in the wild. I could reason this branch had grown for years at a perfect curve, waiting for me to pluck it off its tree, which blows my mind.

More Danielle:  Dribbble | Instagram | TwitterPinterest

50 Totally Free Fonts for Designers 2014

Free Fonts for Designers 2014

Well hi there everyone!

One thing the fine designers at Cleveland based graphics firm Go Media knows is how important fonts are. And who doesn’t love free fonts! This post, 50 Totally Free Fonts for Designers, gives graphic and web designers a variety of new fonts. Grab these free fonts for designers 2014 now!

fonts

40 Fresh, Free Fonts for Graphic Designers

They’re super fun to download, play around with and use when appropriate. Here are some free fonts for designers 2014 that I’ve recently added to my collection. Enjoy!

Intro Condensed by Font Fabric
f8ac3ec168c00177fcc411878b16d21a

Farray by Adrien Coquet
f75cf4a5b060ccdb90a49a945079c89e

Margot by Adrià Gómez
margot

Tamoro Script on Dafont.com
tamoro_script

Bebas Neue by Font Fabric
bebas_dribbble_1x

Nord by Alex FruktaVladimir Tomin & Nord Collective
nord

Peyo by Shannon Lim
peyo

Simplifica by KAIWA
cc7a5e4e3c6cf6192759cb2375af9065

47 by Hendrick Rolandez
47---typeface-dribbble

Adam.CC Pro by Shrenik Ganatra
5f05696882b98636dd2a9d61ed230c86

Kánkin© by MRfrukta
kankin_dribbble

Glide by TypeDepot (sketch free)
glide

Gravo by Illario Strazzullo
gravo

Building by Leonardo Gubbioni
building

Archive Typeface by Fontfabric
ddd_archive

Streetwear by Artimasa
4a89b5f198da48d9c381f8aa961c4e29

Adamas Regular by Octavian Belintan
4560c02a8649ff9147f0519df02da3a0

Kaiju by Anthony James
57a28cd61bc46c7c39a302f1dce217b0

Rex by Fontfabric
rex_dribbble

Komoda by Fontm.com
Komoda-font

Hagin Serif by Fontfabric
a783945dce6ded20c55674862b5e9820

Glamour by Hendrick Rolandez
a458651312d46c8cb471a636b2426cac

California by Noe Araujo
california_1x

Nooa  by Antoine Pilette
4209e18a4eee81cef20ff13eb7f35e09

Facunda by Bu!
facunda_dribble

Lovelo Inline by Renzler Design
7e767effadef525f596dca01ccf49b9a

Jokal by Sean McCabe
jokal-dribbble

Prosto by Pavel Emelyanov and Ivan Gladkikh
629690f51ae92b15721d6bf0e4f6a749

Weston byPavel Pavlov
dd (1)

Hans Kendrick by Alfredo Marco Pradil
hans

Braxton by Fontfabric
braxton_dribbble2_1x

Barnstormer by Jonathan Heter
534604e124070f04fb6a217592d22d6c

Amende by Ike Ku
font_1x

Cube by Font Fabric
cubic_04

Nauman Regular by The Northern Block and Jonathan Hill
1df2cb2847dceee0a5fa20aeb2ae109b

Lev Serif bu Leon Hulst
Opmaak 1 kopie

New Theory by Noe Araujo
99d14fd9932b0ecd30c57aa40b9f8cef

Mathlete by Mattox Shuler
mathletedribble_1x

Muse by Nassef Khalaf
e7cbed2104e76ac47333ffa8e6496328

Zwodrei by Lukas Bischoff
b4e5003b7fbeaf99e21e7f2809d464a1

Tetra© by MRfrukta
tetra

Boomtown Deco by Chris Skillern
boomtown_display-01_1x

Corduroy Slab by Ryan Welch
cord_10_1x

Mocha Script by Thomas Ramey
mocha-script-dribble

Ostrich Sans – Heavy by Tyler Finck
os_1x

Hero by Font Fabric
hero

Native by Lori Novak
e15b03b4e2588334fa259e1fcda4515b

Drop Type by Filiz Sahin
952746a6e6953a6e9f2ecd43ded49ca8

Tiny Tim by Andrew Hochradel
TinyTim

Belmondo by TypeDepot
belmondo

Looking for more fonts are you? Go Media’s Arsenal has the perfect solution for your font addiction. Head here to grab the best of the best, including:

gma-diffraction-01-hero-shot-1270x770
Diffraction:  an experiment as to how light and type may interact with each other.

gma-bunker-01-hero-shot-1270x770
Bunker: a fusion of modern styling with a classic serif, Bunker is the culmination of form and function!

and Affliction, to name a few…!
gma-affliction-01-hero-shot-1270x770
Affliction: a vintage style font that has been put through hell. Grungy, dirty, and distressed. My heart aches just looking at it.

Become a Master Typographer: How to Choose the Perfect Typeface

Choosing the Right Type: 10 Considerations

A critical question we often ask ourselves and know other designers contemplate when working on any given design is, “How do I choose the right font?”

So many factors go into this decision, however thanks to the help of some friends, including Creative Director Michael Prewitt as well as Art Directors Craig Weiland and Harley Peddie, we’re here to share with you ways you can choose the perfect typeface for every project.

Use this tool from inspirationlab.wordpress.com, Pinned on Go Media's Pinterest
Use this tool from inspirationlab.wordpress.com, Pinned on Go Media’s Pinterest

How to Choose a Font

1. Ask yourself:Is the typeface appropriate for the subject?”

Before venturing into your design, investigate the mood, personality, and attitude of the project.

Then, as Michael Prewitt notes, ask yourself, ‘Is the typeface appropriate for the subject?’

“This question,” he finds, “is the king. Every typeface conveys certain ideas, emotions, and associations — even fonts that are not display faces, designed for body copy. Typefaces may be strong, graceful, elegant, brash, businesslike, quirky, playful, traditional, understated, fierce, etc. They may convey a certain period or historical/geographic context, such as Old West, Roman era, Victorian, Art Deco, 1950s, Art Nouveau, High-Tech/Sci-fi, etc. They may be designed to look very geometric/precise, flowing and curvy, hand-written or calligraphic, distressed or grungy, or traditional serif or sans serif type for copy. So it’s important to ask what you want the font to say, and what do you not want it to say. Think clearly and fully about this point, because you don’t want to be one of those designers who picks a font because it’s informal, but fails to consider that the job calls for ‘elegant and informal,’ not ‘drawn while smoking weed informal’ — or maybe the other way around.”

Adds Craig Weiland, “A designer has to be aware of the basics of type usage. Serifed type is often used for long copy, like books and magazines. This is because the serifs make the characters more recognizable, and the text easy to read in bulk at small sizes. Serif body copy usually pairs well with sans-serif display type. There are mountains of exceptions, but you have to understand the rules before you can effectively break them.”

Does this logo's typeface communicate the kind of things you'd go to a massage parlor for? I'd expect to walk out of there bruised and bloody. Is Agatha even a woman? - Craig Weiland
Does this logo’s typeface communicate the kind of things you’d go to a massage parlor for? I’d expect to walk out of there bruised and bloody. Is Agatha even a woman? – Craig Weiland

The process of choosing the perfect typeface not only comes from experience and education, but also through trial and error.

Weiland continues, “I test a lot of fonts when I design a logo. I’ll sometimes go through 20-30 different faces looking at how the characters relate to each other, the overall mood presented by the forms, readability at large and small sizes, how I might use color, how the letterforms create negative spaces and how I might use them, and so forth. I have to have a solid understanding of the attitude I want to project. For instance in the massage logo example above, the attitude communicated is strength, confidence, power, pride. A massage parlor should be welcoming, warm, relaxing and soothing. The typeface chosen must broadcast these attributes, or at least not be in conflict with them.”

2. And…Is the typeface technically appropriate?

Another aspect of being appropriate is technical, Prewitt points out.

“Some typefaces are too thin for the size at which they will be used, or maybe too heavy for the ink level on a medium that could allow bleed-through. Thin fonts will tend to choke (plug up) when printed reversed out of a dark background. For web fonts, readability on screens and devices is important. A font that will be screened onto a small object like a pen needs to have enough thickness that it won’t quickly deteriorate when the item is used.”

3.  Be aware of trends and clichés in type.

As with any other design, trends and clichés should factor into the design decision making process. Great designers can stay up to date by hungrily consuming the world of type around them, following fellow artists, social media sources, inspirational blogs, etc.

Prewitt notes, “Every decade, there are fonts and type styles that become popular and that become passé. There are trends in type that are affected by many things, including styles of clothing, popular movies, cultural movements, and more. The more you are in touch with trends in society, the better you will be at choosing typefaces that will resonate with current thoughts and feelings. This does not mean you should focus only on the fonts everyone else is using; but if you understand why those fonts are popular, it can help you find new typefaces that will stand out and still look contemporary. In the same way, you can avoid typefaces that have become synonymous with past fads.”

“In the 1990s, a font called Officina Sans was quite popular,” Craig Weiland recalls. “It was used everywhere someone wanted to project ‘contemporary office chic’. Today, I can’t use it at all. It’s worn out… it only projects ‘we think it’s still the 90s.’ You can’t pick up things like that if you aren’t paying attention to the design world around you. As a designer, you are (or should be) always paying attention to design in your environment and media. If you notice a cool typeface in something, like a movie poster or a billboard, see if you can track it down later using Google searches or WhatTheFont, so you can add it to your arsenal for future use.”

4. Look for a typeface that excels in the small details.

Prewitt begs designers to ask themselves, “How well do the letters flow together? Is there some little flourish, or ligature, or other detail that would give this typeface some extra class, without going too far? If you are designing something like a company logo where you are using just a few letters, a font that has a really nice letterform for one or more of the letters you are using could really make the design. Look at the punctuation and non-Latin characters. A well-designed font will include many glyphs besides the Latin alphabet, and they will be well-designed and not generic-looking (the punctuation will be in the same style as the letters, etc.).”

He notes, “People without a background in design will sometimes say that every roman typeface ‘looks like Times New Roman,’ or every sans serif font ‘looks like Arial.’ But the more you study typefaces and become familiar with them, the more you will see that even the most basic typefaces can be great designs or poor designs. The details make all the difference.”

5. Think about how different typefaces will work together.

When marrying typefaces, designers should tread carefully. Like coupling two people (or more) together, typefaces have personalities, and these must mesh well together in order to live in perfect harmony.

Prewitt agress. “Most designs involve two or more different typefaces. Some fonts work really well together, others are too similar and clash, or too wildly different. The fonts should complement each other, and they should all support the message of the piece.”

Found on Quora, Pinned on Go Media's Pinterest
Found on Quora, Pinned on Go Media’s Pinterest

6. Make use of your options.

“On my work computer I have over 3,500 fonts,” reports Prewitt. “I have my favorites, and there are some I have never used and probably never will use. But it’s great to have a diversity. Many designers, especially beginners, tend to use a lot of the fonts that came with their system — such as the fonts that come with Adobe products. There is nothing wrong with many of those fonts, except that they are sometimes overused. When a font is overused, people may connect your design with other designs that are completely unrelated, or they may see your design as clichéd. Besides that, when you use default fonts, you have to realize that lots of amateurs are also using the same fonts, and that can give an amateur feel to your work.

Even though I have lots of fonts, they are all sorted into groups and styles, so it is fairly easy for me to find just the font I want, without perusing the whole collection.

It is also helpful to collect pictures of good fonts for future reference. Probably you don’t have the budget to purchase every font that catches your eye. But if you save it to Evernote, or Pinterest, or some other place, you can refer back to it later when you have a hot project that needs a great typeface.”

7.  Consider the cost

Designers should considers clients pocketbooks when choosing an appropriate font, as Harley Peddie reminds. “Unfortunately, clients still squirm paying $100 to license a typeface when they’re so used to getting this stuff for free, especially with webfonts from our good friends at Google.”

8. But…avoid freeware fonts.

Per Prewitt, “Although professionally designed fonts can be pricey, they can also be exceptionally well designed. With commercial fonts, you usually get better kerning pairs (very important), more alternates, more ligatures, and more styles/weights that pair well together. With freeware fonts, you often get very bad kerning and sometimes even font errors such as overlapping paths that can cause problems in production. Also, many freeware fonts come with usage restrictions that will prevent you from legally using them in some projects. This is not to say that all free fonts are bad. But you have to be careful about which ones you use. Also be aware that there are often deals where you can get pro fonts for cheap or even free. Some free fonts are designed by professional designers or foundries, and so you could expect them to be high quality.”

9. Time
Time, too, can be an issue in choosing the perfect typeface. Peddie adds, “Sometimes you just gotta get it out the door, so instead of spending hours lost in the wonders of independent foundry sites, you dust off Univers one last time.”

10. Pick something (appropriate) from your arsenal.

What exactly to start with?

Prewitt comments, “The ‘starter fonts’ question is difficult, because everyone has their own taste in fonts, and different styles of projects that they do. Personally, I like Minion and Myriad quite a lot, although these fall into the category of somewhat overused. They are neutral enough that I find they are good base fonts to start a new project with, and I might replace them with other typefaces later in the design process. Besides those, I would recommend any of the following: Adobe Garamond (or the Premier Pro version), Arno Pro, Chaparral Pro, Chronos Pro, Didot, Encore Sans Pro, FF Absara, FF Acanthus, FF Milo, Gloriola, Helvetica Neue, Rayuela, Ronnia, Vista Sans and Vista Slab, and Warnock Pro as good starting points. None of these are display fonts and are not particularly exciting; but they are good sturdy fonts with a wide range of supporting roles.”

He adds, “I would recommend against using any typefaces that have been heavily overused in desktop publishing: Algerian,  Avant Garde, Benguiat, Bank Gothic, Bradley Hand, Brush Script, Cooper,  Copperplate Gothic, Curlz, Impact, Kristen, Mistral, Souvenir, Times New  Roman, Papyrus, Vivaldi, Zapf Chancery, Zapf Dingbats, etc. Always use Helvetica (or Helvetica Neue) instead of Arial.”

And last but not least:

“Don’t ever use Comic Sans.”

Cover Photo credit: Brenda Gottsabend | Flickr

How do you find the perfect typeface? Add your thoughts in the comments below!

For further reading:
100 Top Resources for Typography and Hand-Lettering

The Lost Type Co-op

Lost Type Co-op logo

This is NOT simply another type foundry

Hello dear readers. Today, I want to talk about the Lost Type Co-op.

If you want to be cynical about it, you could say it’s just another type foundry. Well, you’d be wrong. The cool thing about the LTC is its model:

The Lost Type Co-Op is a Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of it’s kind.

— From the LTC about page

Other than meaning that you can get fonts for $0, it also means that its sales model is based on trusting the customer to understand the value of the product. It’s more or less the honor system: you want it, you love, you know what to do, right? Some of the artists that use Bandcamp distribute their music in the same manner, The Dresden Dolls being a good example. It also allows the buyer to attach a value that could go beyond what the creator attaches to his/her font.

The project in their own words

While the success of the project depends a lot of its contributors, it also rests on the concept developed by its creators: Tyler Galpin (@TylerGalpin) and Riley Cran (@RileyCran). I had the chance to chat with them about the Co-op via email. We talked about who they are and how the project came to life.

Could you guys introduce yourselves to the readers of the GoMediaZine?

I’m Riley Cran, I’m a Freelance Graphic Designer/Illustrator.

I’m Tyler Galpin, a entrepreneur and Web/UI designer running my own shop.

Could you guys give me some background on the project itself, how it came to life and how it works?

Riley : I proposed the idea of a pay what you want foundry to Tyler sometime in December, but nothing really came of it until we had a chat one night about vintage script type logos. I posted the vintage Ball Jars logo, which I had remembered admiring. And on the old 1940’s print ad was some subtitle text that read ‘Glass Jars’ in some really peculiar and gorgeous custom lettering.

Ball - Glass jars - Vintage ad

Tyler : I remember having a design geek-out about how incredible the type was, and how it would be killer to have that . Over the next 24 hours, inspired by that initial set of letters, Riley designed the whole typeface, while bouncing ideas off me. I was in charge of designing and building the website that we would use to distribute it.

Riley : I think the original copy read something like ‘we did this to test the boundaries of sleep depravation‘, which couldn’t be more true. We were blown away by the overwhelmingly positive response to this initial offering, and immediately began to take the concept more seriously.

The Lost Type Co-op website v1

Can you talk a bit about the great people that already submitted stuff?

Shortly after the release of Muncie, we started contacting our design buddies in the community, and talking to them about designing fonts for Lost Type. Andy Mangold had already begun distributing Pompadour Numerals for free through his site, so he was one of our first stops. Ryan Clark had been selling Liberator through his own site.

A big part of this initial push, was to assemble a lot of our friends’ fonts that were already completed, or nearing completion, and create a single venue for them to be distributed in. Many of the fonts were designed specifically for Lost Type, which was a real honor. Folks like Alonzo Felix and Dan Gneiding worked over the following months to create their entries.

We ended up scouring the web, everywhere from Dribbble, all the way to professional font designers, to create the fonts we currently offer and the many more entries coming down the pipe.

The whole thing really was a team effort. We had some of our close friends like Jay Schaul, Rick Murphy, and Tim Boelaars design and develop specific additions to the site, and they did an amazing job. With Riley and myself at the helm, it was just a matter of putting together the pieces in a way that would appeal to our target audience: type lovers, the world over.

Lost Type Co-op grand opening announcement by Jay Schaul

Do you have a favorite font out of the ones that are already in the roster?

We kind of encourage a lack of competition in the site and our model, so we can’t say we really prefer any font over another.

Riley: Personally, I’m pretty fond of Deming, it’s very charming. Ryan Clark’s Liberator seems to be very popular, we’re already seeing it in use around the net, quite a bit.

Tyler: I’d have to say that Tightrope is one of my favorites – quirky but totally reminiscent of the incredibly colorful circus posters of old. Though I’d have to say that all the fonts are my favorite (I’m such a sell-out). As for the ones we’re currently cooking up – we can’t say anything except that there are some great additions coming very soon.

What does it take to have a font one designed to be made available through the Co-op?

We prefer to distribute fonts that are ‘untreated’ (no pre-fab grunge, no pre-made type treatment trickery), are readable, and have somewhat of a vintage/classical background or inspiration. There is a really rich history of typography, we’re really standing on the shoulders of giants, and designing around hundreds of years of innovation in readability and style. A lot of free fonts seem to experiment with a departure from these traits, and tend to take it too far.

If you’re interested in distributing a font, you’re welcome to contact us: we like to think we’re pretty friendly.

Ever heard of Weapons of Mass Creation Fest? Will we see you there this year? In the future?

Tyler: I have definitely given it a serious look, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out for either of us this year. There is a great lineup of folks and friends both attending and participating – we’d love to make plans for next year’s, for sure.

How is the Co-op launch and maintenance influencing your own work as designers?

It’s been distracting, but in the best possible way. Most of our post-launch energy is put into additions to the site itself, and upcoming font submissions, which you should see shortly. We really had to start setting time aside before launch to sit down and toss ideas around. This was especially crucial for getting some sort of unified game plan in place. We find that it is a great breakaway from our client work, and we’re having a blast the whole time.

A goodbye note for the readers?

We have been so pleased and humbled by the community’s reception to our little pet project. Everyone has been super supportive of the whole thing and that is something we’d love to thank you all for. It is inspiring motivation to keep pushing forward with great new type releases, exciting features, and some goodies along the way. Thanks for having us, Simon.

These guys are very welcome.

The typefaces

As I’m writing this article, the Co-op offers 12 fonts.

Highlands, designed by Tyler Galpin/The Lost Type Co-op — Ministry of Art

Highland font

Highlands is a charming slab-serif that draws inspiration from National Park posters of old. Versatile in its character, it makes for great headlines.

Check out the dedicated page for info about the charset and such.

Pompadour Numerals – A Rockabilly Numeral Set, designed by Andy Mangold

Pompadour font

Pompadour is a chunky, display numeral set inspired by the 1950s Rockabilly Hairdo. The numbers, which each fit perfectly inside of a square, are best used a large sizes.

More info on the font page.

Onramp, designed by Michael Spitz

Onramp font

A Bold addition to any project, this ultra readable sans serif radiates ‘badass’. Font includes an extensive set of accent characters, and symbols not found in most faces.

Additional information is this way.

Canaveral, designed by Riley Cran

Canaveral font

A squat serifed font for maximum clarity in tight spots. Released on the same day as Space Shuttle Endeavor launches for the last time!

Extra things about Canaveral.

Tightrope, designed by Alonzo Felix

Tightrope font

Featuring heavy serifs and subtle curves, it recalls old-fashioned print styles found on posters and broadsides promoting traveling circus troupes. Prior to WWI and talking pictures, circuses were a national pastime crossing the country coast to coast by train.

More info about Tightrope.

Deming EP, designed by Mike Fortress

Deming EP font

Deming is a great display face that can be used in sizes both big and small.

Further data about the font can be found over here.

Liberator, designed by Ryan Clark

Liberator font

Liberator is from a bygone era, when our grandparents fought for the freedom we enjoy today. Its bomber-inspired face provides a masculine punch to any project or design.

View more about the typeface on its page.

Nelma, designed by Missy Austin

Nelma font

A delicately crafted display font with a lot of character, Nelma is perfect for setting beautiful type with an impact.

Extra info available on the font page.

Pigeon, designed by Dai Foldes

Pigeon font

The typeface follows the humanist model of Ludovico Arrighi’s italic type from Renaissance Italy, but its calligraphic details have been simplified to create a friendly voice. Pigeon also incorporates some of the “sparkle” that gives drama to the Dutch Baroque types of Johannes Fleischmann, referencing the nobility of letter-writing.

Find more about Pigeon on its page.

Ribbon numerals, designed by Dan Gneiding

Ribbon font

Great for strong visual representation of any number you can imagine. Includes many alternates, as well as special punctuation. This number set is a must-have for those who want to stand out.

More information about Ribbon on its own page.

Saturn V, designed by Eric Mortensen

Saturn V font

A heavy-duty, lowercase slab-serif inspired by the monumental Saturn V rocket that carried men from the earth to the moon.

More info is available on the font page.

Muncie 2.0, designed by Riley Cran

Muncie 2.0 font

The font that kicked this whole thing off, originally designed in 24 hours, and now back (new and improved).

Extra information is on the font page.

Final words

I have yet to use all of these typefaces but I’m pretty sure that if you were browsing Dribbble these last days, you could certainly spot some of these…

I’m curious to hear what you think about the typefaces of course, but also about the Co-op’s business model. Do you think it’s a model that should be considered more by the creative industry? Or what about a “minimum price” model?

And obviously, head over to the Lost Type Co-op’s website, browse through their font collection and reward the talented people that created these gorgeous typefaces!

Fave Font: Knockout

We all have our favorite bunch of typefaces we use on a regular basis. When I first started out I was a font-a-holic downloading every free font that I could get my hands on.

Over time, perhaps I’ve become less adventurous, but I’ve limited my pool to just a handful that I often use. Right now, my current favorite typefaces are Knockout, Gotham, Plantin, and Minister.

I’ve been using Knockout for my Weapons of Mass Creation branding and Parachute Journalists posters. It’s so versatile and has condensed and extended versions. Plantin and Minister are my serif typefaces of choice because of their subtle vintage flair and personality to their characters.

Knockout is versatile because it’s a “sweeping collection of 32 sans serifs.” It’s got 9 widths and 4 different weights.  It can be used for headlines and copy.

The sheer volume and variety here is what makes it so usable.  It was also designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones who are masters at their craft.

The reason why I like Knockout, aside from its versatility, is mostly because I’m a fan of tall and condensed sans serif typefaces. I like the subtle details like how the “R” flares out at the bottom.

I used these the tall condensed styles because I like the bold and powerful statement that it creates. It’s definitely geared more towards poster art headlines or credits on a film poster. I like the way they stack up and fill a space.

So what is your favorite typeface? Can you show us examples of how you used it?

Adobe Font Finder

Fonts. What designer doesn’t have too many? And we are always on the hunt for more.

The internet is a goldmine for fonts, but it’s not always easy to find just the font you’re looking for. It’s always good to have another font tool in your arsenal, and with that in mind we’re giving you a heads up on the Adobe Font Finder.

Adobe’s Font Finder works in a similar fashion to many online font tools, but in this case it’s wrapped into a slick Flash presentation that works fast and looks sharp.

Enter a bit of text for the samples to display in, check a few of the many font options to narrow down your search — and voila!

The fonts I checked out from my initial review of the site all seemed to lead to paid fonts, and clicking on any of the search results will take you to Adobe’s online font store.

Of course, you may want/need to purchase on of these fonts, but it’s also easy enough to use the tool to get some inspiration, or even find a font you may already have buried in your own type collection already.

I’ve included some screenshots below to give you an idea of the range of font attributes you have the ability to search by. They are pretty extensive compared to many of the free font sites I’ve used, but then again they do want you to buy something from them.

Have a great font resource of your own? Please share it with us in the comments section below.

Font Sleuth: Find Fonts Fast

gomedia-font-sleuth-header

Font Sleuth is an interesting new font browser application for Mac OS X. The first thing I noticed about this app—pretty darn fast. No font manager I have ever used is lightning fast when it comes to previewing fonts. Font Sleuth however was close. Give it a few seconds to load the fonts on screen and you’re scrolling.

Font Sleuth has a very spartan interface, focusing pretty much on the previews of the fonts. There is a slide-out drawer for creating groups where you can store collections of fonts in your desired groupings.

fontsleuth2

There’s no auto-activation plugins, no metadata sorting. This is purely a font browser. What I like most about it is the size of the previews in both the main window as well as the Groups drawer. If Font Sleuth fits your needs, $12 seems a more than reasonable price for this utility software.

Here’s an overview of the main features offered in Font Sleuth:

View And Activate Uninstalled Fonts

Select any folder of fonts and view them in their font faces. Font Sleuth can optionally display fonts contained in folders nested within the selected folder. Activate uninstalled fonts with a single click.

Create Font Groups

Create font groups visually by dragging fonts from Font Sleuth Viewer to the Groups Drawer. Group fonts according to your own criteria to make font finding even faster.

Browse Fonts Quickly

Use Font Sleuth’s display window to go through your fonts. Try different combinations of display attributes such as text color, size, alignment, and style.

Run Font Slideshows

Run slide shows of installed fonts, uninstalled fonts, and your custom font groups. Adjust duration, text color, size, alignment, style, sample text phrase, and background color even while the slideshow is in progress.

Save Favorites

Keep a list of sample text favorites and access them from any font display window.

Save and Print

WYSIWYG Font Lists

Save and/or print WYSIWYG list of installed fonts, uninstalled fonts, or your custionfontfontfoKeep a list of sample text favorites and access them from any font display window.

You can download a 20-day trial of Font Sleuth here.

How to Design a Font: {Part 4} Finishing Touches


Well this is it – the final part in my series “How to Design a Font”! Be sure to catch up with the previous articles in the series:
Part 1: Get inspired
Part 2: Draw up a Storm! and
Part 3: Make it Digital

Great now we’re finally into fontlab. This is pretty much the easiest part of the entire process, so no worries. First thing you need to do is open a new font. Go to File, New and a window will pop up with a bunch of different characters: uppercase, lowercase, and various other characters. If you double click any of the windows with a character in them, you will be able to add in your own design. When the character is grayed out that means there isn’t any information there.


Now all you need to do is copy the character in Illustrator and paste it into Fontlab. Something to keep in mind is you may have to look around for your letter after you’ve pasted it into the window. Usually it won’t perfectly paste near the grid lines. You may need to move around the canvas and grab the letter and move it to the grid area. Just make sure that you are selecting all the nodes.

When the nodes are selected they will be red. Just click and drag to select all of the nodes at the same time. If you’d like to select only one node than all you need to do is click one at a time, pretty simple right!

Something that I love so much about fontlab is that each node is given x and y coordinates, so it’s easy to move around the nodes perfectly into place. You can move the nodes using the arrow tools on your keyboard. If you hold down the shift and arrow key together you can move an object much faster. If you’d like to work on another letter you just close out of the character window you’re working in and double click on another one. Continue copying and pasting your letters into each of the windows until you have imported your entire font.


Wow, you’re so close to finishing up this font it’s scary! You’ll notice that there are dashed lines on each side of a letter; these are to help with kerning. The red line is used to tell you the measure the distance between the stroke and the dashed line, I use this all the time. So how exactly do you figure out the right spacing for your letters? I have to admit that I am not a kerning pro but I have a little recipe that I’ve gotten from my book, Designing Type, that I’ve found really helpful. It really helps you to understand how letters work together and breaks down pretty much every letter’s characteristics. I would really recommend buying the book because there are lots of useful tid bits on how to make a kick ass font. Below is the formula that I follow whenever I am working on the kerning for a font.

Spacing Capital Letters

1- Set the left and right sidebearings of the H. Each sidebearing is 25-50 percent of the width between the inside of the strokes. Sans serifs have tighter spacing than serif fonts.
2- Test the sidebearings of the H by setting the word ‘HHHH’. The letters should be harmonious – not too open or cramped.
3- Set the left and right sidebearings of the O. These sidebearings are slightly less than the sidebearings of the H.
4- Test the O by setting the word ‘HOH’. The O should appear balanced between the two H forms, and the color of the word should be even. If not, revise the sidebearings of the O.
5- Re-test the O by setting the word ‘HHOOHH’. Again, all six letters should be harmonious, and the color of the word should be even. If not, revise the sidebearings of the O. The initial H may also require readjustment.
6- Once the H and O are satisfactory, the other upper case sidebearings can be set as follows:

Diagonal and open letters with minimum space:

4-A-4 4-V-4 4-W-4
4-X-4 4-Y-4 4-T-4 4-J-1
Straight sided letters with heavy verticals:
1-D-5 1-P-5 1-R-4 1-L-4 1-K-4
1-B-3 1-E-3 1-F-3 1-U-2 1-I-1
Straight sided letters with light verticles:
2-N-2 2-M-1
Letters with round sides:
5-Q-5 5-C-3 5-G-2
Letters with a central spine:
3-Z-3 *-S-*

1 Equal to the sidebearing of the H
2 Slightly less than the sidebearing of the H
3 Half of the sidebearing of the H
4 Minimum sidebearing
5 Equal to the sidebearing of the O
*Must be adjusted visually

Spacing Lower Case Letters

1- Set the left and right sidebearings of the n. The right sidebearing will be slightly thinner than the left, since the arched corner is lighter than the vertical stem. The left sidebearing is 25-50% of the n counter.
2- Test the sidebearings of the n by setting the word ‘nnnn’. The word should be even in color, and neither tight nor loose.
3- Set the left and right sidebearings of the o. The sidebearings of the o are smaller than those of the n.
4- Test the o by setting the word ‘non’. The o should appear balanced between the n forms, and the color of the word should be even. If not, revise the sidebearings of the o.
5- Re-test the o by setting the following words: ‘nnonn’ ‘nnonon’ ‘nnoonn’
Adjust sidebearings of the o and/or n as necessary.
6- Once the n and o are satisfactory, the other lower case sidebearings can be set as follows:

Diagonal letters with minimum space:

4-v-4 4-w-4 4-x-4 4-y-4
Letters with short vertical stems:
1-r-4 1-m-2 1-j-1 2-u-2
Letters with tall vertical stems:
1-b-5 3-p-5 3-k-4 3-l-2 3-h-2 3-i-1
Letters with round sides:
5-c-6 5-e-6 5-q-1 5-d-1
Irregularly shaped letters:
*-g-* *-a-* *-s-* *-z-* *-f-* *-t-*

1 Equal to the left sidebearing of the n
2 Equal to the right sidebearing of the n
3 Slightly more than the left sidebearing of the n
4 Minimum sidebearing
5 Equal to the sidebearing of the o
6 Slightly less than the sidebearing of the o
* Must be adjusted visually.

Ok, now our kerning is complete! This is pretty tedious but it’s so important to get a nicely kerned font, I would say that it is equally as important as a nicely designed font. If your font is hard to read then who will want to use it? So to test out your kerning abilities open up quick test to see how the kerning looks. To open up quick test go to tools > quick test as > Open Type TT (.ttf). A window will pop up with how your font would look all typed out. You can highlight the text and add in your own. A good sentence to test out is: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. This will give you a good idea of how the characters will work in a sentence. You can also grab some Lorem Ipsum online to test out whole paragraphs. Print out a variety of sizes so you can see how the letters work large and small. REALLY scrutinize the font at this point. You want to make sure that it’s easy to read. If it burns out your eyeballs you should probably keep working on the kerning.




Once you get something you feel proud of, you’re done. My test is that if I want to show the project to everyone I know, that means I did a sweet job. Fonts aren’t as easy to make as some people may think, it has taken me weeks to finish a font. You should be really proud of yourself for kicking butt and making something awesome. After reading these tutorials if you have questions please feel free to email me. If I’m not too slammed with design projects I’d be happy to help critique fonts or answer any questions. Thanks for sticking it out and getting through this marathon of a tutorial!

How to Design a Font: {Part 3} Make it Digital!

The Grid

Now that you have your font pretty well figured out it’s time to get into the computer. First things first, setting up Illustrator. I like to first turn on the grid. This is the easiest way to transfer your font from the grid paper to the computer. To turn on the grid go to “view” under the menu bar, then “show grid”. Once you have the grid on you should turn on the rulers (also under “view”). Make sure to adjust your rulers to points instead of inches or whatever your default is. Just right click on the ruler and select “points”. The reason you want to be working in points is because that is the measurement system that fontlab uses too. Now what I do next is to figure out the height of my cap height, ascender height, median, baseline, and decender.


Now as a little refresher from our last tutorial remember that the cap height is just under the ascender height. The median is about 60 percent the total height between the baseline and ascender height. Might need to use a little math here; take your total height and times that by .6 and that is going to be your median. This isn’t an exact rule but traditionally that is where the median is placed. The height of your characters should be about 700 points high. I’ve noticed that sometimes when you import a character very small fontlab doesn’t perfectly paste the character’s nodes. If you have a character with lots of rounded areas sometimes fontlab will paste nodes weird. There is only a slight difference but it can be a bit annoying. Make sure you NEVER scale up your font once you get into fontlab.

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The Font Toolbox

Alright, now that you are all set up it’s time to get crackin’. How I start out is making a font “toolbox”. What I usually do is make a variety of different forms that I’ll use for the rest of the font. This way you make sure that all the forms are completely the same. Here is an example of a font “toolbox” that I use to make Usonia. Amazingly you don’t need that many pieces to create a font. If you are making a script font a toolbox probably isn’t going to work well. What you might want to do is simply scan in the grid paper and trace directly into Illustrator.

Every font is different with different accents you may want to add to the characters. The best thing to do is to figure out what pieces you’d like to use pretty regularly and make the shape. The key here is usability, try and make the shape as usable for as many characters as possible. These are the types of shapes I make: stroke, serifs, shape that connects strokes, additional accent pieces. There isn’t a hard and fast rule to making certain shapes, just make pieces you see yourself using a lot. Cool, now we are good to go onto putting together the letters.

So what I do at this point is refer back to my drawn shapes I made before, this is basically like my blueprint for the characters. What I do is copy and paste the pieces out of the toolbox I think I’ll need to start arranging them into the characters. If you find that you need to make a stroke make sure that you expand the stroke so that it turns into a shape. To do that go to “object” then “expand”. A little window will pop up that asks if you want to expand the fills the strokes. Just click OK.

As I am working on a font these are some of the most common tools that I use:

Transform: Sometimes you want a shape to not change size, just orientation. Use “object” then select “transform” from the drop down menu. You’ll have all your options there to pick whatever you’d like to do. It’s a lot faster than trying to completely redraw your shape!

Direct Selection Tool (open arrow): I use this tool a lot if I want to delete or move particular nodes.

Pen tool: I use this a lot to make extra pieces. I like to make rounded parts of my letters a lot so I most often use the pen tool for those. If you want to make a rounded corner then click in one place on your canvas, then try and pick a place diagonally away from that point and hold down your shift key and drag and it will use only 90 and 45 degree angles to make the curve.

Zoom tool: Really zoom into your font to make sure that all your separate pieces are lining up right. I usually zoom into my font for fine tweaking whenever I am moving a piece into place.

Once you have assembled all your pieces together you’re almost done. Make sure that all your strokes are expanded and you’re ready to merge the shape together. If you don’t expand your strokes you will run into issues since fontlab doesn’t read strokes, only shapes. It will see a line but nothing filling in that line, so strokes in fontlab just look invisible. So now that all of our strokes are expanded we can merge the shape. Open up your pathfinder tool. There are several different options you have here. The one you will most commonly use is “merge”. This one takes all the shapes you have selected and merges them into one shape. To help avoid problems later on its best to just merge in Illustrator and get the font looking EXACTLY how you want now. I only like adjusting kerning (space between letters) in fontlab.

Now let’s say you want to make a grunge looking font. Grab one of our grunge vectors and you can overlay that on your letter. Now with both selected click in the pathfinder tool “minus front”. Generally this should work for you but honestly I’ve noticed this tool is a little funny. If this doesn’t work or subtracts pretty much your entire letter then try another tool or select only part of your letter with the direct selection tool and try it then. Sometimes a process of elimination works best.

Ok now that you have all of your shapes together it’s time to do a little cleaning. So what I’ve noticed with the merge tool is that it will add extra nodes sometimes to the shape. What you have to do is zoom way into your letter and, using your pen tool, delete these extra nodes. This may seem sort of tedious but sometimes fontlab can make your letters look jagged so getting rid of these extra nodes leaves you with a smooth curve. What we’re trying to do is make sure that the font is as PERFECT as possible before you get into fontlab. Once you get into fontlab, believe me it’s all downhill from there!

So once you have done all of these steps for every character you’re probably pretty tired! Making a new font is a LOT of work. So take a quick break, and grab yourself a little snack! Once you’re fueled up it’s time to make your characters huge! I’ve noticed that fontlab has a default size of 700 points tall. So you could start out at that size. Make sure you grab ALL of the letters and special characters and size them all at the same time. You spent all that time getting them perfect, the last thing you want to do is size them up individually and then they’re all different sizes. Amazingly you can really tell if some letters aren’t the exact same size. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you go outside the canvas area, since you’re not printing this it doesn’t matter if the characters are all inside of the live area. Usually when I size up my fonts they go pretty much to the end of the entire work space! What I usually do is turn on my rulers and put guides at 0 and 700 so I know exactly how large to make the letters. Well that is pretty much it for Illustrator.

Now we’re ready to get into fontlab so get ready for the fourth and final installment sometime next week!

How To Design a Font: {Part2} Draw Up A Storm!

Terminology

Before we get into the meat of this tutorial I want to give you a crash course in font terminology. I know it’s not exactly the most exciting thing but I seriously think it’s good for you to know this before we get too far.


Sans serif: A type of font that doesn’t have accents on the end of its strokes.


Serif: A font that has little accents on the end of its strokes.

Vocabulary to Know:
Baseline: The line that the letter sits on.
Median: the middle line where lowercase letters end.
X height: the distance between baseline and median, traditionally 60 percent of the total height of the cap height.
Cap height: the line where capital letters end.
Ascender height: The line where ascenders end, only slightly above the cap height.
Ascender: the part of a lower case letter that extends above the median.
Decender: the part of a lower case letter that goes below the baseline.

Sketching

Now that you have your inspiration and an idea for your font it’s time to put it into action. I think that some designers sort of forget about the sketching process. It’s honestly the MOST crucial. The beauty of sketching is there isn’t a sense of commitment. You can crank out loads of ideas very quickly since you aren’t worried about making the design look perfect. It’s a lot faster to do 10 loose sketches on paper than trying to do the same thing on the computer. I remember one of my professors once said that the computer is a tool, no different than a pencil or pen, don’t rely on it to design for you.


There are several different ways in which you can draw some ideas. I use a combination of ways to get my thoughts together. Usually I use a scroll that’s always on my desk for sketching. The reason I use a scroll instead of a piece of paper is because I like not being limited by how many sketches I can do. Plus, it’s all contained in that one roll so I never have to worry about losing a sketch.


In the sketching process I will draw a few characters that I think might help me figure out the characteristics of the rest. Here are the characters that I usually start out with first: a, e, g, n, d. You can also do a few capitals as well like: A, E, G, M. From these characters it will give you a good variety of forms that are pretty similar in other letters. Start out designing these letters and see what you think. If they’re working try some more, if not then you haven’t wasted your time designing an entire font that sucks.


Draw a variety of perspectives of the font as well. I usually like to draw a few pieces of the font to show how different pieces are going to connect. Don’t be afraid to draw really quickly at first. When you start seeing something you like, draw a few different versions of that idea to see what you like best. Never settle for your first idea. Sometimes I will also write notes on the side of my sketches just to remind myself of something when I do the final sketch.

This initial sketching time is sort of like a funneling process to get down to that one idea that you are really excited about.

Once you’ve got a pretty clear idea of where you see the font going, it’s time to get out the grid paper. This is when you are going to draw out ALL of your characters. I like to use grid paper just because I can get the proportions between letters right on. Keep in mind that all your letters aren’t going to take up the same width, but they should be the same height. Some letters like “M” and “W” are going to take up a lot of width but letters like “I” don’t take up much at all. At this point in your sketching you’re still not fully committed to one idea, so feel free to play around with different ideas. Sometimes I will do a few different versions of a letter if I’m still not satisfied.

Next Time: Going Digital

Now that you have all of your characters drawn it’s time to get digital. Sometimes I will scan in my grid paper drawings and just trace them in illustrator. You can also just look at the drawings to design the characters, whatever works best for you. If this is your first font maybe you should go from a scan.

How to Design A Font: {Part 1} Get Inspired!


I haven’t written a blog post in a while so I thought it was time I jumped right in and did a tutorial series about fonts. There will be three more tutorials that will follow this one. Their forces combined will account for pretty much everything I know of how to make a font. So grab yourself a red bull and your favorite salty snack and let’s get to it!

Whenever I sit down to make a new font the very first thing that I need is some inspiration. Ok, easier said than done. Sometimes I stare down a blank sheet of paper and my mind goes blank! So what to do. . . Well here is a list, in no particular order, of ways in which you might get some inspiration to create your own typeface. Everyone has their own methods that work best, these are just the ones I use.

1} Be aware of what other type designers are doing.

You always want to be trend setting in the design community, what’s the point of creating the same thing someone else has already? It’s very important to be designing something that nobody has seen before, that has your own style. What I’ve learned is that by looking at amazing work it motivates me to make something equally as amazing. I love checking up on some of my favorite designer’s latest pieces. I would HIGHLY recommend that if you haven’t already gotten hooked up into a social bookmarking site, do it now! It’s cool, I’ll wait. I use delicious as my bookmarking site of choice. Of course there are TONS of these types of sites so just find one that fits your taste. Here is a short list of some other bookmarking sites that I am aware of: blogmarks, digg, blinklist, feedmarker.

The benefit of having an account with one of these link posting sites is that you have access to your bookmarks at any computer in the world, if your computer crashes your bookmarks aren’t lost, you can share bookmarks with your friends, you can organize your bookmarks so they’re easy to find, do I really need to go on? Usually whenever I’m on one site I’ll follow some links and somehow find myself on a really sweet, random site. I have a horrible memory so I know the only way I can see the site again is by immediately bookmarking it.

So you may be wondering what websites I enjoy looking at to get some inspiration. Well, there isn’t a short and easy answer to that. Usually what I like to do is just get into my delicious account and poke around sites i’ve taged as “design” or “inspiration”. Sometimes I will have to go around to several different sites before I feel those creative juices flowing. I don’t think it’s necessarily good to only look at one website for ALL your inspiration. Look at a variety of work that might trigger new and exciting ideas.
Here are some of my favorite places to see what other designers are up to: behance (several of us at Go Media are on here), webcreme, ffffound, surfstation. From these websites you can find loads of obscure firms or designers that are doing some amazing work. This will at least get you started in the right direction; follow links around to different sites and see where they take you! It never ceases to amaze me the cool, random things I’ve discovered through these sites.

2} Research, research, RESEARCH!

When I was in school pretty much 75 percent of our energies were given to researching. Rationalizing EVERY line and color choice. Professors did not accept the answer “I just think it looks cool”. I still research before I start designing any font so they are more than a pretty face. Pun INTENDED! For example, while in school, we were given an assignment to create a typeface for the future. We were asked questions like: how will we communicate in the future, Will the alphabet still exist, and so on. From this I came up with a few different ideas. Three fonts were designed for this project. One was diffraction, one was celest and the final one was constellation. Diffraction and Celest are available in our arsenal but constellation is not because it isn’t a usable typeface for the computer. People would use this typeface by connecting stars using lights. Each letter is represented by a star, so words would be constellations.

So how/why do you research a font you may ask? Well think of a topic you are interested in: shopping, computers, food processing, abandoned buildings, the environment, ect. I usually use Wikipedia as a good starting point for research. Don’t use that as your ONLY form but it helps to get some basic information fast. From there you can check out a library book or ten (we pay taxes for a reason right?!). Try and learn everything you can about the subject matter, this will help give you visual cues as you’re researching. The more we know, the stronger our final solution will be. Keep that sketch book nearby! You may come across something while researching that will spark your imagination that never would have happened before. It gives your work a sense of depth and complexity that without research would be meaningless. I have found that the more research I do before a project, the better final solution I get.

3} Restrict yourself!

Ok, I know this sounds a little nuts but sometimes when you’re staring down a blank sheet of paper your mind can go blank too. Sometimes clients come to us and say “Just make a cool looking design”. We try and get more information from them but they really have no idea what they want, just “something cool”. This can be sort of tricky, so what I do in these cases is I try and think of a topic I’m interested in and work off of that.

For example, for Usonia, I thought it’d be fun to design a font based on Frank Lloyd Wright and one of my favorite buildings he designed, Fallingwater. I looked at all the pictures I took while visiting Fallingwater and found inspiration for forms based on the ways in which windows opened or thick and thins created by the stone.

Restrictions can be pretty much any sort of boundary that you want to make up for yourself. Like a dog placing his own invisible fence! You could limit yourself to designing a sans serif font with lots of thick and thin areas in the characters. This may seem a little crazy but it honestly does help sometimes when faced with infinite possibilities.

4} Keep a journal handy.

Let’s face it, sometimes you just can’t control when a great idea is going to come along. I always have a moleskine on me just in case I’m in line at panera bread and randomly think of a great new idea. Sometimes I’ll have days when I think of a million great ideas but others were I just can’t think of a design to save my life! That’s where the sketch book comes in. I just flip through that and see what ideas I had before and use that for a starting point on days I am not quite as inspired. Everyone has a different process for getting their ideas down. I will often write out my ideas instead of sketching them since I know a little drawing wouldn’t help me remember. Concepts inspire me more than visual form most of the time. Do whatever works for you. If it helps to jot down a picture do that, anything that will help you remember the idea.

5} Accept the fact that inspiration can come from anywhere.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I will be walking down the street and I’ll see an interesting crack in the concrete or look out my window and see an interesting pattern that sparks my imagination. Sometimes the stupidest/simplest things get me thinking of a new idea. I think it’s important to be always be looking out for these ideas.

One thing I’ve learned about being a designer is that it’s a lifestyle not a career. Surround yourself with inspiration; my apartment is filled with posters, pictures and objects that keep me thinking of new and exciting ideas. Surround yourself with things that get you inspired and before you know it you’ll be cranking out those stellar ideas.

Stay tuned for part 2 to come next week!

Become a Master Designer: Rule One: Limit your fonts

rules for font use

Part One of Seven Easy Principles to Becoming a Master Designer.

Rules about Using Fonts:

Ok, “master designer” might be a bit of a stretch – but you can at least become a “proficient designer” by following 7 easy principles. This will be the shortest, most informative series of blog posts you’ve ever read on how to become a better designer. Please note: these principles CAN be broken… these are not laws, they’re just general guides that all of us designers at Cleveland design firm, Go Media, typically follow when putting together a design.

Follow these simple design principles and you’ll be on your way to artistic excellence.

Principle One: Limit Your fonts. A big part of putting together a good design, as you’ll see, is making sure the over-all look is consistent. The best way to accomplish a consistent look to your design is limiting the number