Shelley Bassett



BirdFont Interface

3 Quick Ways to Make a Font

July 6, 2018

It's really easy to make a font. Here are 3 different ways to make a customised font, without breaking the budget.

It can’t be said enough, I love fonts and typography. I love using them, I love making them… I just really like letters. If you want to make a font, but aren’t sure where to start, this is a quick guide for choosing the right program for you. It covers the quick, the free and even creation for those with a bit more experience looking to branch out.

The hardest part of designing a new font is getting started with an idea. If you’re a bit stuck for creativity, check out my favourite places to get inspired. But once you have an idea… Then what? You’ve sketched out your alphabet, looked at the different symbols you want, and now… Just how do you get it in the computer to be typed?

3 Ways to Make a Font


What used to be is now Calligraphr, but it still has the same super simple application. Fill out a template with your letters, then take a photo or scan it in and let their algorithm do the work for you. You’ll be typing in your own handwriting in no time! Although this site has both free and paid options, I recommend sticking to free. It’s where I got my start, and by the time you’re ready to be paying for software, you’re probably needing another program from this list. This is the easiest and cheapest way to make a font; but it has limitations.

The Calligraphr workflow

The Calligraphr workflow

Because of it’s super-simple, user friendly interface, some of the nuances of text design have been compromised. It might not be appropriate for technical designs, but it’s a lot of fun to be able to type in your handwriting!


For a long time, BirdFont was my favourite way to make a font. It also has free and paid options, allowing you to choose how your font is copyrighted. Unlike the draw and scan idea behind Calligraphr, Birdfont requires a vector input. If you’re not familiar with this, it might be best to follow a tutorial the first time. You can either copy and past your vectors from a program like Adobe Illustrator or SketchApp, or create them directly in the BirdFont program.

BirdFont Interface

The main interface of the BirdFont application

This is a stand alone program, that runs well on both Mac and PC, and with a wide variety of pricing options, BirdFont is a great solution for those looking to take the next step in their type design. And if you’re into colour fonts, the paid version includes full functionality there too.


I recently reviewed FontSelf, and I still love it. At US$49, it’s a little more pricey than the other options on this list, but still affordable and well worth it for the functionality it provides. And if you use my link, you can save 10% off the purchase. As a plugin to Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, it allows any vector shape to become a letter, and used batch uploading to determine the alphabet, cutting down on the time wasted in manually entering characters.

Fontself example Gilbert

Fontself’s flagship colour font, Gilbert

Once a file is setup correctly, the font conversion is simple. A quick guide provided by FontSelf is probably enough to get you started on your way. It can also create both standard and colour fonts, giving great flexibility and creativity to your typography.

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