A few years ago I had an idea for an online project that needed embedded fonts. After considering my options, I decided “I should just make my own! It can't be that hard!” In my ignorance, I greatly underestimated the magnitude of this endeavor. Although making fonts is not that “hard,” it is tediously time-consuming work. It is also addictive.
From the time I picked up a pencil and scribbled out a few optimistic doodles, to the time I saw my first font come to life in print, I traveled an amazing journey. Forming a glyph is not a thing to be taken lightly. These are characters with integrity and purpose. Their stories are long – hundreds, even thousands of years in the making. In becoming what they are today, they have suffered generations of indignity in the face of technological imperative. They have been forced into stone, scraped across parchment, sloshed onto paper, and now – pixeled and hinted unmercifully.
I, myself, have done this thing – dragging the helpless tummies of Bezier curves to my satisfaction, clamping the proud serifs of majuscules to my chosen metrics. In my defense I protest that I am not entirely insensitive to their plight. I want to do them justice. I spend countless hours perusing and tweaking in endless repetition. Then, magically, comes a moment when I look at the screen and see the rightness of being in a glyph. I want to reach out and touch, to pick it up off the screen and turn it over and over, feeling the fineness of its shapes with the tips of my fingers. Then, I am at the mercy of my addiction. All I can think is “Ooooh! I want to do that again!” (No wonder there are so many glyphs
in our modern fonts!)
Looking back to that moment when I decided I should just make my own, I am glad of my ignorance. In that moment I didn’t know what I now know: I am a font designer.