FONT design How to design a FONT

From: The Ultimate Guide on How to Create a Font

By Jake Rocheleau – July 27, 2015 – In Design

Professional font design takes years to master, but this shouldn’t dissuade you from learning the process. Once you understand the steps needed to create a new font you may be surprised how easily they can be replicated.

Font Fundamentals

It’s imperative that you understand how typography is structured before you start designing characters. The design phase requires knowledge of terms like:

  • Baseline: Where all the letters sit. Think of this like a shelf where the bottom of each letter should rest.
  • Overhang: Rounded bottoms of letters like O and B which dip just below the baseline.
  • X-Height: A line delineating the height of most lowercase letters (notably the letter “x”).
  • Cap Height: A line delineating the height of most capital letters.
  • Ascender Height: Often resting above the cap height, the ascender height limits the very tip of lowercase letters such as “k”.
  • Descender Height: The length of descending marks from characters like “y” and “q”.

Letterform Sketching

  • Draw letters on a blank sheet of paper first. Don’t follow any particular grid – just doodle away to find shapes that you like. Then you can draw out the 26 characters in uppercase and/or lowercase following the grid to see how they should look.
Use the STEP-BY-STEP Lettering Guide for help!

From Paper to Vector

  • Once you have the letterforms sketched out it’s time to move into the digital realm. If you don’t have a scanner you can get by with photos from your phone, but a scanned copy of your work is the best way to go
  • You’ll need to trace these sketches in a font design program and you’ll want them to be as close to proportion as possible.
We will be using Adobe Illustrator for our finished fonts

There will be 3 projects for this Assignment

  2. Your INITIALS or NICKNAME with GRAPHIC - image or texture (PROJECT GRADE)
  3. Entire ALPHABET with NUMBERS - upper or lower case (PROJECT GRADE)


  • It might help to have GRID PAPER to sketch out your letters.
  • Your Letters and Graphic should be VECTORS so they must be created in Adobe ILLUSTRATOR
  • Your FONT should have continuity throughout so make sure you take your time to ensure that they all flow together and all are sized similarly
  • This is a challenge so take your time - work hard - and be creative!