I Want to Be a Font Designer — What’s Next?

If you want to get into fonts, first of all, remember: only a few font designers earn exclusively by this.

Most have a job in addition to fonts, or at least lettering and custom work, not always interesting.

Secondly, immediately decide why you need it.

The vast majority of those who learn font design only because they are interested in it, do not move beyond the first font.

Third, if you have not yet tried to open a font editor and start working, please note: a font is not only (and not so much) drawing letters, there is still a huge number of seemingly boring non-alphabetic characters, a lot of work to regulate the distances between characters (including non-alphabetic), and other non-obvious, but require time and attention.

For example, the minimum possible encoding includes 224 characters, the minimum decent encoding is about twice as big, and the font usually has more than one character.

To learn font design, as a rule, you need at least basic knowledge of English, even if you are going to learn a profession, not on your own, and go to study.

It is worth learning font design on your own from different angles.

As everywhere else, you can distinguish between history, theory, and practice.

History and historical classification of fonts are probably the least interesting for a beginner designer.

However, for the sake of general development, the “historical” chapter is included in most books, and it will not be superfluous to read it.

It is also quite useful to imagine the history of font technology.

The history and introduction to the material can be found, for example, in “Type and Typography” by Phil Baines, in “Letters of Credit” by Walter Tracy.

“Decide immediately why you need it.

The vast majority of those who learn font design just because they are interested in it do not move beyond the first font”.

The font theory assumes studying the calligraphic basis, sign arrangement, the influence of their parameters (proportions, contrast, shape) on the font’s impression, etc.

Gerrit Nordsey (Letterletter and The stroke), Karen Chen (Designing type), and Fred Smeyers (Counterpunch) are useful to read on this topic.

And at the same time it is very important to study practical issues: to track trends in large font stores (e.g.

myfonts.com, fontshop.com), to understand what fonts are for what, and to look, to see good samples.

Hoefler and Frere-Jones, Underware, House Industries, HVD fonts, Parachute are some of the many dictionaries worth watching.

The TDC2 contest, the ATypI, TYPO and TypeCon conferences, the Typophile forum – and after a while you may not learn how to make fonts, but you will learn to understand the situation and understand exactly what you want to do.

You can (and should) show what you are doing to all professionals within reach (use box mockup).

The easiest way to do this is at font and paraphrase events – exhibitions, conferences, etc.

You can write letters, but many of the things that are useful to a beginner are easier to say and show live.

You can sell your fonts privately, looking into the eyes of every customer (for example, the Letterhead studio has been coming for quite a long time), or through large shops like Myfonts or font libraries and studios (FontFont, Linotype, Monotype).

In any case, no matter what you plan to do with a ready font, you should be able to submit it.

It’s useful to look at PDF files, posted on the sites of relatively small fashionable dictionaries, pictures from contests like TDC, there are successful examples of how to submit them on myfonts.com.