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The popular font design program from Macromedia, now owned by FontLab

Fontographer is the font design program that most type designers used to make digital fonts throughout the 1990s.

First made by a company called Altsys, its drawing interface – based on PostScript-style Bézier curves – was so well designed that it was adopted by the same company’s general graphics application Freehand. Thousands of commercial fonts have been made using Fontographer.

By the late 1990s, a lack of focussed development on the product was evident: it was tricky to build fonts with more than a basic character set, the euro was tricky to add, TrueType fonts could not be well hinted, and bogus data was getting saved in some parts of the font file. However, its excellent drawing interface meant it lasted long in people’s affections, and it was only after 2000 that FontLab – whose drawing interface had been improving – really took over as the normal way to make fonts.

In May 2005 it was announced that the Fontographer product had been acquired by Fontlab Ltd. Updated versions will sit between that company’s low-end TypeTool and their high-end FontLab Studio. Fontlab president Ted Harrison said: ”With Fontographer, we now have a tool that fills the gap between those products - a font editor for graphic designers and desktop publishers, powerful enough for real-world typography but without all the bells and whistles of our high-end products.”

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