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FontStruct is a free online truetype font-building tool.
April 12, 2008 9:43 PM   Subscribe

FontStruct lets you quickly and easily create fonts constructed out of geometrical shapes, which are arranged in a grid pattern, like tiles or bricks. Once you're done building, FontStruct generates high-quality TrueType fonts, ready to use in any Mac or Windows application.
posted by Dave Faris (21 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that's pretty neat!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:15 PM on April 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is a great service, very easy to use and with great community features. Although I'm slightly embarrassed to admit it, the first thing I used it for was to recreate a "code" letter-substitution font I devised when I was in middle school. You can view and download it here, though I can't imagine what utility it would have other than looking cryptic.

Also, I feel kind of bad for snagging the name "Rune" for such a silly purpose...
posted by Rhaomi at 10:25 PM on April 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


what a kickass idea.
posted by dismas at 12:13 AM on April 13, 2008


Clever: give amateurs a tools that produces, with a certain amount of effort, a halfway-decent free font. Display eight of these in a gallery, followed by a subtler and more lovely professionally produced font which can be bought.

Sort of like organizing a free community pot-luck, and sitting at the end of each table a waiter ready to take orders for a three-star restaurant. This may seriously be a marketing mainstay of the future: here's free stuff of middling quality, but look at what you could have if you were willing to pay.
posted by orthogonality at 12:24 AM on April 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Should I sign, so I can download one of these fonts and test it? nah.
posted by zouhair at 1:55 AM on April 13, 2008


Years ago, I remember buying a program called "Fontographer" that did essentially what this does, but as I recall, it cost about $600.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:00 AM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


zouhair, Bugmenot has a working login.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:06 AM on April 13, 2008


This is fun! Good find, Dave.
posted by sveskemus at 3:27 AM on April 13, 2008


orthogonality wrote: Clever: give amateurs a tools that produces, with a certain amount of effort, a halfway-decent free font. Display eight of these in a gallery, followed by a subtler and more lovely professionally produced font which can be bought.

That is a bit of a cheap trick.
posted by jack_mo at 5:10 AM on April 13, 2008


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave Faris. I was just hunting for something like this.
posted by yoga at 5:53 AM on April 13, 2008


That is a bit of a cheap trick.

YES. THIS CHICANERY WILL NOT BE BROOKED! HOW DARE SOMEONE CREATE A WEBSITE THAT OFFERS AN EXCELLENT FREE FUNCTIONALITY AND THEN ATTEMPTS TO MONETIZE IT.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:14 AM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's always FontForge, which is free.
posted by scruss at 6:14 AM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hi. As the type director at FontShop I'm a co-producer of FontStruct. Thanks for giving it a whirl. Please consider registering legitimately rather than using Bugmenot, as it helps us gauge interest in a free tool like this. We're not going to spam you. There are communication options when you register, so you don't have to receive a single piece of email beyond the confirmation.

Excited to see what Metafilterers create!
posted by Typographica at 10:06 AM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love orthogonality's analogy. We hope you don't see it so much as a cheap trick, but more of an entertaining tool that helps you learn a few things for free. The intention is not to entrap anyone. We just love type and love to build interesting stuff. Of course, building something this intensive comes at a cost, so informing folks about FontShop is part of the deal. But it won't interrupt your use of the tool.
posted by Typographica at 10:15 AM on April 13, 2008


beaucoupkevin writes 'YES. THIS CHICANERY WILL NOT BE BROOKED! HOW DARE SOMEONE CREATE A WEBSITE THAT OFFERS AN EXCELLENT FREE FUNCTIONALITY AND THEN ATTEMPTS TO MONETIZE IT.'

It's not the monetizing (monetization?) I object to, it's the way it's done. Scanning the gallery page, I thought 'Wow, people are making really good stuff with this!', clicked to see more of the best font in the gallery and found myself on FontShop.

It's like those 'advertising promotion' features you get in magazines, or the even more dubious advertorial pieces, which are laid out in the house style, and only reveal their true nature in tiny print at the end of the article. Literally a cheap trick - it costs the same as an ad, but fools the reader into absorbing information without the critical filter they usually apply to advertising.
posted by jack_mo at 10:59 AM on April 13, 2008


Typographica writes 'But it won't interrupt your use of the tool.'

Except that it did, in my case at least - could be that I'm unusually unobservant, and most folk will see the ads for what they are. (Don't get me wrong, I think FontStruct is a great tool, and as you say, you have to pay for it somehow, but 'hiding' the advertising seems a wee bit iffy.)
posted by jack_mo at 11:06 AM on April 13, 2008


I must admit, I was suckered into clicking on a particulary attractive font, only to find out I had to cough up $40 or something if I really wanted it. (I didn't.) But I wouldn't necessarily write off the amateur attempts using the free program so quickly. The site is still pretty new, and it might be only a matter of time before someone recreates the professional fonts and make them free.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:09 AM on April 13, 2008


it might be only a matter of time before someone recreates the professional fonts and make them free.
Unlikely. Besides the actual letter forms, a professional font has professional hinting and kerning.
posted by signal at 12:41 PM on April 13, 2008


This is totally sweet.
posted by klangklangston at 2:47 PM on April 13, 2008


Yeah, good quality type does cost money. I don't think you were suckered into anything, though; you saw something pretty and you clicked on it, and if you wanted to buy it, you could have; if you didn't, I guess I don't see the back button as an enormous effort.

I love this. I don't see the advertising as hidden, but rather that they carefully designed a useful tool and fit ads in attractively and unobtrusively. I don't feel like anyone is tricking me, and I will be first to admit that I am pretty easily tricked.

BTW, for many years, Fontographer (which I believe topped out at about $325) was - aside from proprietary tools used by URW and Adobe - the tool that many professional designers used to make an awful lot of good commercial type. I'm sure I have dozens of faces in my type library - faces which I've paid money for over the last 15 years - which were indeed made with Fontographer.

I'm not sure I'll use any of the Fontstruct faces commercially, but it sure is a lot of fun to play with. Thanks!
posted by luriete at 9:51 PM on April 13, 2008


signal: Besides the actual letter forms, a professional font has professional hinting and kerning.

And diagonals.

This is awfully nifty. The look of the 8-bit computers, or dot-matrix printers, could be recreated. (once again, possibly. but more openly, & as a community project.)

I'm in the middle of recreating a font, & I'm both relieved that this is unsuitable - I don't have to start over! - but sad that I don't have an excuse to noodle around with this. Yet.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:43 PM on April 14, 2008


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