Practical Font Design

( 2 )


Practical Font Design

The Revised and Expanded Third Edition

A rewritten, expanded 3rd edition including the second edition of part one and part two (on building book font families) plus new materials giving a practical walk through the process of designing a font and families. This is not about artistic considerations, but the practicalities of putting a font together. On the other hand, the design approach ...

See more details below
$10.72 price
(Save 17%)$12.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (6) from $9.42   
  • New (5) from $9.42   
  • Used (1) from $11.12   
Practical Font Design

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.99 price


Practical Font Design

The Revised and Expanded Third Edition

A rewritten, expanded 3rd edition including the second edition of part one and part two (on building book font families) plus new materials giving a practical walk through the process of designing a font and families. This is not about artistic considerations, but the practicalities of putting a font together. On the other hand, the design approach is fine art. David's training is as a fine art printmaker: etchings & stone lithography.

The basic procedure we use for font design is found in this book. It is a step by step following of new font designs with tips and comments along the way.

A book to help graphic designers design fonts

Here at the foundry we use FontLab 5 in the production of our fonts. Over the years we have developed over a hundred fonts. In the process we have picked up a lot of experience in the process of designing a font efficiently.

This is not a book for programmers and scripters. This is a book for graphic designers and typographers who love type and want to make their own fonts-either for themselves or to sell.

In the process of writing this book several things were developed that you might find useful in your design process. In general these are pieces of copy or FontLab files that will save you the time required to make your own. There are lists of composite glyphs to generate, and OpenType features file, and a text file to use when generating metrics and kerning tables. You can find them on this page.

Here's a condensed table of contents for you to see what is in the book

Why a 3rd edition? xv

Because I've learned so much since I wrote the first two xv

This is a small one-person low budget operation xvi

Welcome! To the 3rd edition of practical font design 1

Defining typography 2

A Practical Approach To Classifying Fonts 9

Type drawing tools 33

The creation of a font 47

A step by step procedure 47

A new unilateral serif font 49

Begin with a new or base font 50

Scan & trace 67

Letterspacing 109

Some definitions 109

The decisions needed for good letter fit 110

Basic methodology 110

FontLab's Metrics panel 111

Typical adjustments to spacing 115

Display or Text? 118

For Practical Font Design: Part Two I went much more traditional 118

Generating fonts for testing 123

Making composite glyphs 127

Generating the basic characters 127

Adding OpenType Features 133

What is an OpenType feature? 133

Writing an OpenType feature 134

How a feature works 135

Using classes 136

Adding features to our new font 138

Ligatures 146

Kerning your new font 151

The Metrics window 151

The need for a kerning text document 152

The kerning process 154

what to kern & by how much? 156

Using real words 159

Classes 160

Tracing drawings & artwork 163

Placing into Illustrator 164

Make sure the scan is clean 164

Live Trace in Illustrator 166

Designing font families 171

Let's start traditional 171

Book font family characteristics 175

Text versus display 175

The need for text and display versions 180

The need for a sans version 180

Kerning & Assembling the family 237

Generating the fonts 241

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450561518
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/20/2010
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,121,755
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

It started in the late 1960s when I was hand lettering psychedelic posters for my acid-rock group on the West Bank of Minneapolis. I started getting my fine art degree in printmaking in the Fall of 1969 after flailing about for a few years as a flower child (those people who were later called hippies).
When I graduated with my BFA degree in Printmaking & Drawing, I almost immediately became involved with publishing. In the late 1970s, when I was hired (in west Virginia) as a graphic artist under Pik, an art director from the last class at the University of Michigan to still be required to learn hand lettering. Many of the projects I did for him required hand-lettered headlines. If they weren't hand lettered, they were heavily modified photostats begun as presstype. During the 1980s, my main skill was modified type built off presstype from Letraset. They were the only company selling designs that impressed me.
In starting the research for my new booklet series on Type Design I have discovered that a major influence on my design taste is Colin Brignall, who was the Type Director of Letraset-the major supplier of presstype and new font designs in the 1980s. I started putting in alphabets from fonts I love and the first three I thought of were designed by Colin.
What really opened things up for me was FreeHand during the 1990s. Being able to tear type apart and play with the paths became my main source of creative fun. The direct control of paths that FreeHand had was amazing. The thing that finally moved me over the edge was the inclusion of Fontographer with the Graphic Studio Suite and FreeHand 7. I was forced into FontLab in the early years of the new millennium. At first I hated it. But I have come to rely on its path editing tools. They are far superior to FreeHand which in turn was far better than Illustrator
What led you to pursue designing fonts?
It was fun-simply entertainment. I was driven by the need for fonts that had characteristics that were not being sold for text fonts. Caslon had the expert sets and that was it. For example, I wanted true small caps and oldstyle figures in all my fonts and that was not possible or readily available in text fonts limited to 256 characters. I needed display fonts that had caps, lowercase, and small caps. I wanted ligatures. I needed the open ballot box. So I added them to all my fonts. I often had to make several version of each style to simply hold the various characters I used all the time in my designs.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Gantheri khgthin

    Gantheri khgthin

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 15, 2011

    From the author

    Contrary to what it says on the page: There is a NookBook version:
    EAN: 2940011829895
    Just search for it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)