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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Free/Freeware Font Alternatives to Staple Commercial Fonts & Typefaces

@TheFuturIsHere did us a great favor by listing a lot of great free/freeware alternative fonts for commercial fonts... on the graphic image to see the list at full size in the Gallery (or at least as large as your browser window will allow).

I would add my preference for Futura font family stand-in: Jost*

This resource was from a post on Twitter:

Font / Typeface Creation & Editing Software

I run a Google+ Community group on fonts ( and I wrote this a while earlier.  I just decided to update it, and because I don't know how to get the individual URLs for Google Community posts, I thought I would post it here...

Font Creation/Editing Solutions & Options

This started as a response to +ouggy vee about creating fonts. I had already mentioned about how sketching on paper with a pencil was a brilliant move to start, no matter the editor of choice. That said, there is a lot of places to go from there...

Now please understand that almost all of this is off the top of my head, though I did add links to a few resources I had handy...

Online Solutions

At one time I downloaded a web app called font utility that would supposedly do the font scanning and converting, but I think it was so old that it wouldn't work with the server installed version of php. There have been free apps out there that created some nice fonts based on PDF sheets you filled in, but all the ones that I used were free and now a paid subscription app stands in their place.

Some of the fonts I created there are my favorite, but I don't like any subscription services (never, ever).

As far as an online solution goes, I like FontStruct because it's free and always available online, but it has its limits. I also created a few fonts off scans of fonts I sketched. I scanned them in and uploaded them to a utility website that would make a font, but those services are no longer free and I am just not good with any subscription model (at all, ever, no way).

Even though this is a great learning tool and makes bonafide vector based modular fonts, the brick building system is extremely limited. It is used for teaching typography, but lacks bezier curves, or even a good assorted set of curved bricks to faux them in. You are reduced then, to angled fonts (and only has limited angles from which to choose). But it can be the start of many great fonts that you edit in a vector font editor, later.

Another huge drawback is that FontStruct inserts the "f" part of its logo in all unused characters, so you have to use another program to wipe out that instruction and your own version number and Copyright notice, though it does support the font Description.

First, let me say that most paid or even subscription software usually has a deep discount for students, teachers, and educator staff. Usually about 50% (sometimes more, somethimes less). Have your student/staff school ID when you go shopping. Best news is that one of the best font editors is free...

If you need professional typography creation, editing and converting software on a budget, you can't get much more professional than FontForge, and it is FREE OpenSource Software.

If you have a spare PC, like me, I would download and install an older Linux distribution that would run FontForge because its open source and free. FontForge is probably one of the best font editing programs available, and it is free, so make use of that spare PC you upgraded from and create a dedicated font editing system.

Don't try to run it on a Windows machine through emulation, though. What a waste of my time (in my experience on all previous Windows versions)!

However, if you have a Mac, they are based on BSD (NetBSD, I think), which is just another branch of Unix, like Linux is. So I think that the MacOS has an easier time running FontForge.

FontForge really was the king of editors at one time. Fontlab may have taken the crown since, but FontForge is still updated regularly and supports modern type formats.

Fontlab now owns the 'Altsys', then 'Macromedia' Fontographer. I always wanted to get Fontographer, but unless you can find a bonafide used copy (most you buy on ebay are fake and include spyware & malware) or buy from the source ($400 USD) at Fontlab ( for Windows or for Macs). Ray Larabie (Typodermic Fonts) told me a year or so ago that Fontographer was the UI that the new FontLab Studio would be based on, which is an even more in-depth font creation software suite ( for Windows or for Macs), but that one hasn't been updated for a long time now, and costs $600.00 USD.

Out of the Fontlab products I could only afford TypeTool ( bundled with the ScanFont plugin (

Glyphs is a Macintosh only pro font creator/editor. It's biggest plus is that it is wildly easy to use. It supports all modern font standards I know of, including colorfonts.

Another big plus about Glyphs is that you can use it for enhancing your FontStruct creations. And in that way, FontStruct can actually be a great wire-framing tool, though you would obviously worry about getting curves just right in Glyphs.

There is a trial, a striped down version, and the full-on pro version. Glyphs is 249.90 €, while Glyphs Mini is 49.90 €.

I am seeing more and more commercial fonts made with Fontself, which is an extraordinary plugin for either Photoshop or Illustrator (or get the bundle of both plugins for only about $79). These fonts I see made with fontself are usually offering OpenType Features, which is a real big plus for designers.

$49.00 for one plugin (Illustrator or Photoshop), and $79.00 to get them both as a plugin bundle. However, these only work on the Creative Cloud models of these Adobe products (and I don't do subscriptions), versions from 2015 & 1/2 and later.

There is one more that is not real expensive, but is a paid app, "Font Creator" (starts at $79.00) by High-Logic. This is the font creation program that freeware font creator Vic Fieger used long ago, and has been updated very regularly since.

FontCreator is still available, but everytime I open it after installing it on a new computer, it is already out of the trial period. Heck, it takes me a month to install and configure software on a new PC, much longer to get comfortable and relax with it, so I wish I wouldn't always install that package so I could see it.

Microsoft Font Maker
(see last post for the Twitter posted link)
I also just posted about the Microsoft WindowsInk post I saw that says if you are a "WindowsInsider" (whatever that is), you can download the Microsoft Font Maker for free. It has a limited character set, but I think it covered Latin Basic.

Mobile Apps

Fonty is a free app on the Google Play store for Android tablets (and phones, too) with a limited character set that only supports image programs by that same company (I could, though, make the font on my tablet, save & share it, and then use it on my Android smartphone with their app after logging in there). It's extremely limited, but both apps are free (the image app shows ads, I think). But all you can do is use the font in their apps, though I think they also have a word processor you can use it with. The resulting font will NOT work like any other TTF font on a Windows machine, though, and that is a shame.

iPad Apps...
(My iPad is Unsecure and won't run a thing)
iPad has a paid app for creating fonts, but it doesn't have the features of FontStruct and has many more limits.

Do What Is Right For You

It's obviously not just preference, there is that, but it really has to do with what works for you. At certain times I miss doing hand lettering fonts, at other times I am working on FontStruct projects so that I forget I need to install Linux and FontForge on the extra desk PC. So, I am guilty of shorting myself there, but I will get it done since FontForge does not run on any of my Windows machines (through their emulation package) reliably even one iotta.

I just find FontStruct so easy to access, and I already have so many projects going there. But it produces moldular fonts, and although those are optimized for Flash, no one uses Flash anymore (except maybe for animation/video production & video-titling), but that would be using older software they learned on and are clinging to.

But there are no bezier curves in Fontstruct (and a pretty poor curved block selection). That is extremely limiting. I try to find ways around that, but I usually take the wrong approach, there aren't curves big enough for me in Fontstruct and no matter how many times I request a set of 8 and (12 or 16) block curves over the years, my requests fall to deaf ears, and that REALLY limits the options there. Stupidly, I ignore them and try stuff anyway. But truthfully, because of that limitation, Fonstruct is only really good for producing straight block and angled fonts that don't rely on curves, only offering the rounded corners of your choice.

Glyphs is a Macintosh only program that does allow you to use FontStruct as sort of a prepublishing, wire-frame font editor, an it is easy to realize a vision there. Then you export a Glyphs file from FontStruct and you can edit with bezier curves and vectors. Right now, if you grab that from the fontstruct ( blog or live community page link, you get 10% off and it's not real expensive. You need a Mac, though.

I wish Adobe made a font editor. They seem to be too late for that game, now.

There are the commercial Plugins for Illustrator and Photoshop, and I understand they work well, but remember that they only work on the newest Creative Cloud series of Adobe subscription model products, not my Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Edition. And, that sucks (for me).

There are some new fonts, SVG fonts and ColorFonts. Fontlab can produce those, and I think the plugins for Photoshop or Illustrator do, too. You can download the free program Fontlab Pad ( to see the colorfonts, but creating them is a different story I am not familiar with, though I understand FontForge, Fontlab, Glyphs & FontSelf all tackle them. I am not yet sure how in-depth FontCreator is.

There should be other things coming. I am really impressed with variable fonts. I think only FontLab Studio accommodates them? Anyone know of anything else?

But look at how Blender is a trove of 3D vectors. Why not a plugin for 3D programd to make variable width fonts, or start a new standard of 3D fonts that could not only offer variable widths, but also allow the user to tilt and turn the fonts within a document according to preference? Maybe even a transitory effect, where they tilt so much at the start, then so much at the end... of the word, sentence, paragraph or page? It just seems so obviously overlooked.

But like I said, it has to do with more than preference, it has a lot to do with convenience. FontStruct is extremely convenient for me, so I use it a lot. P{robably too much. But I do want to get a Mac and Glyphs one day, too.

It isn't convenient for me to use my other desk, so I don't access the old PC much. I don't have $400 or $600 to blow on font editing software, so I don't, and therefore have no experience with it (I am just looking at it with lustful eyes). I will be trying out TypeTool & ScanFont more, as I have finally figured out a place to set my scanner, and I am running out of things to attempt in FontStruct (and I don't have a Mac to run Glyphs and really tweak what is created in FontStruct).

I use Photoshop and Illustrator all the time because I'm a graphic artist/designer & marketer. Maybe that would be the best for me, just install the plugin... I have to raise the plugin cost and be able to cover my bills too, so giving out free novelty fonts as freeware software probably doesn't help my ability to buy the stuff I need and should have. I always hope people will link to me, or use my business services, but my work, even at the price of free, isn't drawing any crowds to it because they are novelty fonts or intended as logotype, because I design logos and market brands.

I want to try everything, heck, I would buy it all, but I have a business to run and strange expenses I have to account for that pop-up all the time without warning (which is why I don't like the software subscription model). But as soon as a new battery for my older laptop that I installed Linux and FontForge gets here (along with a new office chair), I'll stick the battery in and stop worrying about all the flashing lights (that is, I hope they go away).

You're just going to have to try everything you can and then settle down to what you like.

Oh, and there is a free course on how to design fonts at The League of Moveable Type:

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Limited Time Commercial Font Freebies

For this week only (the week of the 19th through the 25th of August, 2018), the following fonts featured here are high quality commercial fonts (with commercial and personal use licenses), that are offered for free as incentives to get you to visit their websites and check out all the fonts (& designs) these font/design oriented stores offer...

Striped King

Striped King by Creatype Studio Co.
#Free (for a limited time) #Modern #Lettering #Script #Commercial #Font

This version of Striped King bundle is Free for Commercial Use, too (and personal use, of course). But, this font will only be offered for a while (maybe just this week, I don't know for sure, but it is a free 'incentive' download as of Monday).

Now, just because this is a new license doesn't mean you can use the personal use Striped King font you may have already downloaded. You actually DO have to download the commercial use allowed version from Creative Market.

If you don't remember Striped King, it is actually quite a vintage inspired, well lettered modern script typeface with all sorts of goodies; a regular and a clean version of the font; each with a complementing swashes font, in a variety of font formats, with versions for PC/Mac support...

Striped King (OTF/TTF/WOFF)
Striped King Swashes (OTF/TTF/WOFF)
Striped King Clean (OTF/TTF/WOFF)
Striped King Clean Swashes (OTF/TTF/WOFF)
More than 500 of glyphs
Ligature & Stylistic alternates
PUA Encoded Characters - Fully accessible without additional design software

Multilingual support for; Afrikaans, Albanian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norweigen, Polish, Turkish, Indonesian, Zulu

Since this will likely be a limited time freebie offer, I am still keeping the other stripedking link active to the older 'personal use' version on Pixelify. This version uses a capitalized words link (StripedKing)...

Pruistine Script

Pruistine Script by SUPOTYPE STUDIO
#Free #Freebie #Commercial #Cursive #Script #Font
Free for 6 & 1/2 days, a cute, well done commercial connected lowercase letter, cursive script font (with a commercial license for commercial or personal use).

OpenType & TrueType versions, Commercial Font from Creative Fabrica...

Enjoy and God bless!