Type Design Resources

A growing, public, collaborative collection of type design resources. Everything from learning the basics to running your own foundry.


To contribute, post an issue or make a pull request on the Github repo, or email


Learning type design

Beginners guides to type design

Books

Workshops

Tip: follow your favourite type conferences – some of them present workshops and other events throughout the year.

Courses

  • I Love Typography Academy

    ILT academy exists to promote expert teaching of type design, font production, and typography. Courses cover various script systems and are taught in a number of languages.

  • Ohno Type School Courses

    A series of free courses for RoboFont users.

  • Practica Program

    A two-part, 6 week + 18 week part-time program for learning type design.

  • Tipo-g

    A type design school in Barcelona, Spain. Currently teaching a 21-week part-time program with an emphasis on variable fonts.

  • Type Design Class

    Self-guided courses by Viktor Baltus for learning type design and typography.

  • Type Electives

    An online school with a range of type design and typography courses.

  • TypeParis

    A 6-week intensive type design programme held each summer in Paris (in English).

  • Variable Font Course

    An on-demand video course by Arthur Reinders Folmer on creating variable fonts, and variable colour fonts.

Full-time programs

  • ANRT

    at ENSAD (Nancy, France)

  • ECAL

    A two-year master’s degree program in Switzerland.

  • EsadType

    at Esad Amiens (Amiens, France)

  • MATD

    at University of Reading (Reading, UK)

  • Type & Media

    MA in Type Design at the KABK (The Hague, Netherlands)

  • Type West

    at Letterform Archive (San Francisco, USA)

  • Type@Cooper

    at Cooper Union (New York City, USA)

Software

Discounted student licenses are available with many of these applications.

Commercial font editors

  • Drop & Type

    An application that generates Japanese or Latin fonts from Adobe Illustrator files.

    • ¥4,000 JPY
    • Windows
    • Mac
  • FontArk

    A browser-based font editor that’s currently in open beta.

    • Free (while in beta)
  • FontLab

    An all-in-one font editor for Mac and Windows – first released in 1992.

    • $499 USD
    • Windows
    • Mac
  • Fontself

    Plugins for Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop for creating fonts within Creative Suite. Also available as an iPad app.

    • $39–59 USD
    • Windows
    • Mac
    • iPad
  • Glyphs

    A fully-featured, Mac-based font editor with an active community.

    • €299
    • Mac
  • Glyphs Mini

    A paired down version of the full Glyphs app, meant for beginners. Limited to designing single-style fonts (no multiple masters or variable fonts).

    • €49
    • Mac
  • High Logic Font Creator

    A Windows-native font editor.

    • $49–199 USD
    • Windows
  • RoboFont

    A Python-based font editor that puts an emphasis on scripting and extendability.

    • €400
    • Mac
  • TypeTool

    A simpler font editor for beginners, from the makers of FontLab.

    • $49 USD
    • Windows

Free and open source (FOSS) font editors

  • Birdfont

    A cross-platform, pay-what-you-want font editor written in the Vala programming language. Paid “Plus” version can export Color fonts, OpenType-CFF fonts, and single stroke fonts for CNC.

    • Windows
    • Mac
    • Linux
    • BSD
  • FontForge

    A cross-platform, FOSS font editor written in C. Can export many formats. First released in 1994.

    • Free
    • Windows
    • Mac
    • GNU+Linux.
  • Fontra

    A browser-based FOSS font editor that allows distributed teams to work on a font together. Currently unfinished and in development (2023). Developed by Black[Foundry] and Google Fonts.

  • Gerb

    A FOSS font editor written in Rust. Currently unfinished and in development (2023).

  • Glyphr Studio

    A browser-based FOSS font editor.

  • Modular Font Editor K

    A modular, Rust-based, FOSS font editor. Currently unfinished and in development (2023).

  • Runebender

    A FOSS font editor, also written in Rust. Currently unfinished and in development (2023).

  • TruFont (discontinued)

    A cross-platform FOSS font editor, written in Python. Now discontinued (2023).

    • Windows
    • Mac
    • Linux

Community

Groups

  • Alphacrit

    Online event series of type critiques, by Alphabettes

  • Fonts r Magic

    an informal weekly Zoom meeting for type designers to chat and show their work, hosted on Friday afternoons by Mirko Velimirovic. Posting Zoom links publicly is probably asking for trouble, so I’d say just send Mirko a DM to join!

  • Type Crit Crew

    a free resource for type design students to meet 1–1 with experienced type designers for virtual critiques

  • Type Twitter

    a list of over 400 type foundries to follow on Twitter

  • TypeDrawers

    discussion forum for type designers

Conferences

  • ATypI

    A global type conference, hosted in a different country each year in September.

  • Dynamic Font Day

    A conference on digital typography and technology, presented by Typographische Gesellschaft München (Typographic Society of Munich).

  • Fontstand Conference

    Annual typography conference organized by Fontstand, the typeface discovery and rental app.

  • Future of Reading

    Conference about the future of reading and typography. Hosted by FH Münster, Germany.

  • Inscript

    A five-day online conference showcasing presentations at the overlap of typography and technology.

  • Kerning (discontinued)

    Kerning is the first international conference in Italy dedicated solely to typography and web typography. Last event was in 2019, but the organizers are keen to host future events if sponsors come forward.

  • Leipziger Typotage

    The Leipziger Typotage is an annual event on type design and typography organised by the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Druckkunst Leipzig e.V. since 1995 hosted at Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig, Germany.

  • Multilingüe

    Online conference on writing and typography for native languages from Latin America. Hosted by the Type Directors Club.

  • Now24

    A one-day conference (in English) held in Paris each year by TypeParis.

  • Robothon

    Triennial conference on font software & technology. Hosted in-person in The Hague, Netherlands.

  • Signs of the times

    A two-day hybrid conference organized by Granshan, an organization that celebrates non-Latin typefaces and typography.

  • TypeCon

    Annual conference presented by S{o}TA. Hosted in-person in Portland, Oregon.

  • TypeWknd

    An online-only type conference

  • Typographics

    Annually in June at The Cooper Union in New York City. Typographics hosts in-person and streaming events, plus workshops, a book fair, and TypeLab, an informal, multi-day, global typographic hackathon.

Events & Lectures

Events that occur regularly (except Conferences), or organizations that host regular events on type design and typography.

  • Future Fonts HyperTalks

    A new online event series, featuring lightning talks from designers, which may or may not be related to fonts.

  • Letterform Archive

    Letterform Archive in San Francisco hosts many lectures and events, both online and in-person.

  • St. Bride Foundation

    St. Bride Foundation in London hosts many lectures and events on printing, design, and typography.

  • Type Electives

    Type Electives hosts lectures and events that go beyond traditional type design topics.

Associations

  • ATypI

    A global organization representing type designers and foundries. Holds an annual conference, hosted in a different country each year in September.

  • Granshan

    An organization that promotes and celebrates non-Latin type design and typography. Holds an annual or biannual type design competition, followed by a conference and exhibition.

  • SoTA

    “An open community dedicated to supporting and advancing the typographic arts and design education.” Organizer of TypeCon.

  • Type Directors Club

    Type Directors Club is an international organization promoting typography and type design. Since 1946 they’ve hosted events, conferences, and competitions in New York City and around the world. Each year they produce Typography Annual, recognizing the year’s best typographers and type designers.

Media

Social media, multimedia, type news media

Podcasts

  • Creative Characters

    by Monotype — Bill Connolly interviews type designers and other creative characters

  • Designed This Way

    conversations with designers and other creative folks, including several type designers

  • Ohno Radio

    James Edmondson chats with up-and-coming and well-established type designers

  • The Interrogang Podcast

    “A weekly briefing and discussion of type, design, and creativity.” by Proof&Co.

  • The Tiny Typecast

    Glenn Fleishman talks with type designers, calligraphers, letterpress printers, historians, and more. RSS link

  • The Weekly Typographic

    from The League of Moveable Type

  • Type Radio

    the oldest and most beloved podcast for type designers – interviews at conferences from 2005–2020

Publications

  • Design Regression

    An academic mini journal publishing texts that are about design for reading and reading-related research

  • Font Review Journal

    Deep-dive reviews of fonts, by Bethany Heck.

  • Footnotes

    A print-only periodical dedicated to type design.

  • Type Magazine

    Print and online magazine on type and typography.

  • TYPE01

    News and articles from the world of type design. Online and print.

  • Typographica

    Typeface reviews, articles on type design and typography.

  • Typography papers

    An academic journal published by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading and the Hyphen Press. Free PDFs available.

Blogs

Type foundry and type designer blogs, or blogs that frequently feature articles on type design.

Streamers

Watch a type designer!

Character design

Latin

Cyrillic

Greek

Hebrew

Canadian Syllabics

  • Lava Syllabics type specimen [PDF]

    A well-researched and invaluable look at the process behind designing a Canadian Syllabics typeface, which includes many special features to support a wide range of local preferences for languages that use this script.

Vietnamese

  • Vietnamese Typography

    by Donny Trương, comprehensive resource typographic features and diacritics in Vietnamese

Diacritics

Italics & Obliques

Math symbols

Box drawing characters

  • boxDrawing.py

    Script for generating box drawing characters and block elements

OpenType feature programming

Language support

Determining the true language support of a font is a complex problem that has not yet been completely solved. Most of these tools will simply report which languages a font seems to support, based solely on its character set, but some tools like Hyperglot and Shaperglot will also check OpenType features for some languages that require the use of them.

  • CharSet Checker

    and CharSet Builder by Alphabet Type

  • FontDrop

  • Hyperglot

    by Rosetta Type. This is by far the most well-researched tool for checking language support. Hyperglot is available as a command line tool and a web interface. The command-line tool also checks OpenType support for some languages that require the use of OpenType features.

  • Pyfontaine

    by Google Fonts

  • Shaperglot

    A Python library by Simon Cozens for testing a font’s language support. It also checks the behaviour of a font’s OpenType features in order to confirm support for languages that require the use of OpenType features.

  • Validate

    by Underware

  • Wakamai Fondue

Standardized character sets

Encoding borders and ornaments

Python and coding

Learn Python with DrawBot

DrawBot is a free macOS app that allows you to draw graphics and typography with Python. It’s one of the best ways for a type designer or graphic designer to start learning Python.

Python scripting in Glyphs

Learn from Glyphs’ official tutorials, and from open-source scripts developed by other type designers.

Python scripting and extensions in RoboFont

Learn from RoboFont’s official tutorials, and from open-source scripts developed by other type designers.

Git and version control

Hinting

Kerning tools

Proofing tools

Font proofing software

  • Font Goggles

    by Just van Rossum, a macOS desktop font viewer for testing fonts, specifically text shaping and variation behavior.

  • Font Proofer

    A commercial app for proofing fonts, by Peter Nowell. Integrates with Glyphs and RoboFont, allowing you to re-generate proofs anytime with a single click.

Printer recommendations

Discussions by type designers on printers they use for proofing type.

Web-based proofing and testing

There are a wide range of browser-based tools that you can drop your work-in-progress font into to test it. Most of these tools process your font using a client-side library like OpenType.js, which means your font is not uploaded to any server.

Proofing texts

Font engineering

Font engineering is the technical side of making font files that work as intended on a wide range of systems.

What is font engineering?

Tools for font engineering

  • DTL OTMaster

    A dedicated app for font engineering that allows you to perform a wide range of proof tests, QA checks, and edits to your font files.

  • Font engineering tools

    A collection of font engineering utilities by Simon Cozens

  • Fontbakery

    A quality-assurance tool for fonts, developed by Google but used by many foundries. Primarily a command-line tool, a web interface was recently added.

  • FontTableViewer

    A simple app to view and compare the OpenType tables inside of your font files.

  • fontTools (& ttx)

    An indispensible toolkit for editing fonts via Python. Also includes ttx, a command line tool that quickly converts binary font files to human-readable XML, which can also be edited and converted back to binary.

  • Microsoft Typography Docs

    A collection of resources for font engineering, including the OpenType specification, and various other articles and tools.

Type specimens

Type specimens are the original marketing tool for type foundries, going back hundreds of years. Today, many type foundries still design a PDF specimen (and sometimes printed copies) for each typeface release, to complement the web specimen.

See also: Web specimen tools

Historic type specimens

Naming your font

  • Typeface name check

    Use this tool by Lars Schwarz to check if your font name might already be taken.

  • WoLiBaFoNaGen

    WordListBasedFontNameGenerator, an app by Jens Kutilek.

    • macOS
    • Windows

Open-source your fonts

  • Google Fonts

    Used by millions of websites, it’s the world’s largest repository of high-quality open-source fonts. Google Fonts has also funded the development of many open-source fonts.

  • SIL Open Font License

    The most common open-source license used for fonts. Required if you want to add your fonts to the Google Fonts library.

Open source type foundries

Foundries that primarily release open-source fonts

Selling your fonts

Marketplaces & distributors

  • Adobe Fonts

    Anyone with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription can use your fonts, and you get paid based on usage.

  • Creative Market

    A marketplace for all types of creative assets, including fonts. Seems to be geared more toward hobbyists and freelancers rather than companies. Royalty rate 50%.

  • Fontspring

    Formerly known as the world’s largest independent font marketplace, Fontspring is now owned by Creative Market, and has since reduced royalty rates from 70% to 50%.

  • Fontstand

    Font rentals distributor. 50% royalty rate.

  • I Love Typography

    A new distributor with a large roster of some of the best indie type foundries.

  • Monotype

    Sell your fonts through MyFonts, FontShop, Linotype.com, Fonts.com, etc. Royalty rate 50%.

  • Type Network

    A network that distributes for many of the world’s best type designers.

  • YouWorkForThem

    Opened in 2001, it’s one of the longest-running marketplaces for fonts and stock assets.

Learn about licensing

Criticising the status quo

Innovative licensing: pricing based on company size

Innovative licensing: all-in-one licenses

Desktop/web/ebook/app combined into a single license.

License enforcement

  • FontRadar

    Crawls the web to help you find and correct authorized and unauthorized usage of your fonts.

Starting a foundry

Thinking about starting a foundry, or setting up a website to support your shop? Here are some tools that might come in handy.

Running a type foundry

Type foundry directories

E-commerce platforms

Website platforms

Web specimen tools

Font tools for web development

  • FontFreeze

    A JavaScript tool by Mu-Tsun Tsai for freezing OpenType features into a font file. Runs entirely in the user’s browser without uploading font files to a server. This is accomplished by running fontTools in the user’s browser via Pyodide, a Python distribution built in WebAssembly.

  • fontkit

    A JavaScript library by Devon Govett for parsing fonts. Supports a wide range of font formats and OpenType features. Does not support variable fonts.

  • lib-font

    A JavaScript library by Pomax for inspecting fonts. Supports a wide range of font formats.

  • opentype (discontinued)

    A JavaScript library by Bram Stein for parsing fonts.

  • OpenType.js

    A popular JavaScript library by Frederik De Bleser for parsing glyph outlines from font binaries. Note that it does not support the complete range of OpenType tables and formats that its name would suggest.

Type testers

Custom foundry site design and/or development

See also…

More lists of type design resources.