Find out which font editor is right for you with our pros and cons rundown
There are thousands of paid-for and free fonts available these days. But sometimes, when you just can't find exactly what you're looking for, creating a your own typeface could be the way to go – imagine that in your design portfolio!
Making your own fonts can be some of the most inspiring work you ever do but finding the font editor that's right for you can be more than a little bit tricky. Here are five of the most popular font editors, complete with pros and cons.
01. FontLab is expensive but is it worth it?
At $649, FontLab Studio opens up the whole gamut of type design, from designing a single font to crafting a whole typeface library.
Imports and exports fonts with support for up to 65,535 glyphs in a wide range of font formatsOffers an extended toolsetCan be used for a wide range of tasks, from outline editing to TrueType manual instructingScriptableRuns on Mac as well as Windows
Steep learning curveUpdates come rarelyCan be buggyDocumentation is less than satisfactoryLimited OpenType (no support for Arabic features, for example)No native UFO file format supportExpensive02. FontCreator
Boasting over 4.5 million downloads to date, FontCreator is a popular font editor among creatives
Boasting over 4.5 million downloads to date, FontCreator is a popular font editor among creatives. Native to Windows, FontCreator's feature set makes it suitable for professionals, with a straightforward interface making it accessible to users at any skill level.
AffordableAdd up to 65,535 glyphs per fontCreate and edit TrueType and OpenType fontsCreate and edit Web Open Font Format (WOFF) fontsCreate and edit scalable color fontsRedesign existing characters
Windows only03. FontLab also created Fontographer for those with less of a budget
Coming in at $399, this is a cheaper option from the makers of FontLab, ideal for smaller projects.
Quite easy to useIntuitive interfaceAutomated processesImports and exports fonts with 32,000 glyphs in a wide range of font formatsRuns on Mac as well as Windows
OpenType features are not preserved upon opening a font and code cannot be edited in the app, only imported as a feature-fileNo native UFO support04. Glyphs
Glyphs is great for font editing beginners
For beginners and casual users right through to seasoned type designers, and a snip at $300.
Easy to learn, easy to useCombined text and drawing views, in which layers can be automatically generatedBasic OpenType features that can be previewedScriptable and expandableExtremely fast updatesAmazing supportComes in two versions
Mac only05. Another expensive option but could this be the one for you?
For those looking for a scalable tool, and prepared to spend €400 for the privilege.
Built in Python support and scalableLoads of extra functions already available from a dedicated communityFull scripting access to objects and interfacePerfect base on which to build additional tools
Mac onlyNot the tool for quick jobs
This article originally featured in Computer Arts issue 229.