reaaally good font design software

Chriggystardust's picture

hey, i know this question must be number one superbore, just for the alleged regularity of its appearance and the lack of any depth. but, the software changes quite quickly and since i guess it's a cakewalk for you i'm asking...

i'm looking for a software (win) that helps me create or alter new or existing fonts. Is there any (good) freeware? any demo versions?

thanks in advance, and enjoy your day!


dan_reynolds's picture

FontLab Studio 5 is really great software, and you can download a demo of it for Windows (or Mac) at

spiral's picture

If price is your concern (as I imagine from you asking for freeware), there's a few budget options:
- Typelight is a super simple freeware font editor, that will let you do all the basics.
-FontForge is an open source font editor, from what I understand, has quite a lot of features, but is also not straightforward to install on windows.
-Type 2.2 is typelight older brother, with loads more features. You can buy it for €46.00 EUR (approx US $65)
-FontCreator is another shareware editor, you can buy a home/professional licence for $79/$149
-And finally, Typetool is Fontlab's younger brother, with less features but still a quite robust font editor. It's $99

gohebrew's picture

It's too bad that the FontLab people don't make a demo of Fontographer 4.7 for Mac.

It's really a much cleaner, and intuitive (easy to understand) interface. I used it professionally for over two decades, and do not see the great advantage of FontLab, besides the fact the industry now expects it to be ones primary tool.

I really hope the FontLab people develop it into a 5th version (Fontographer 5) and add basic OpenType support and better integration with Adobe Illustrator (one used to simply option-cut and option-paste from each other).

Even if they jacked up the price to FontLab's level, I'd pay it, like thousands of others who prefer Fontographer to FontLab.

(Don't get me wrong: FontLab has some really great sophisticated features, so the pros would need both.)

gohebrew's picture


Thanks for the link.

Even though the Fontographer versus FontLab discussion was three years ago, things really haven't changed on the higher end. FontLab bought Fontographer (their biggest threat), and made it run under System 10. Wow. Great. Will they dare to take it further?

If the FontLab people addressed all the concerns people expressed are lacking currently in Fog (as it's known), it would be their flagship, and FontLab would be reserved for us type geeks.

If they sat with their Excel speadsheet, they would see that with a higher priced Fog 5, they'd have their cake and eat it too. And Adam would have twice as much to do!

gohebrew's picture

Thomas Pinney

Why did Adobe let it go? A super-charged Fontographer could make mincemeat outa FontLab?

Chriggystardust's picture

thanks a lot to all of you! price is not my concern though as anyone else i don't mind saving money and spending it otherwise (ice cream, bubble gum & salt coated liquorice).

but overall i like seeing & testing the product before i buy, so a demo is always welcome! thanks again.... Chriggy

blank's picture

Why did Adobe let it go?

The same reason Macromedia stopped working on it: the market for pro font software is minuscule. It’s not easy to turn a profit on font software—especially when your coders are in NorCal and Seattle. Leaving it to smaller, more agile firms is really better for all involved.

Tim Ahrens's picture

Israel (gohebrew),

What exactly is it you prefer in Fontographer? Is it just the general feel or is it something that can be described in words? I'd be curious to hear specific details.

twardoch's picture

> FontLab bought Fontographer
> (their biggest threat)

I never considered Fontographer being a threat for FontLab simply because Macromedia stopped doing any work on it (including marketing) in 1996. When I was looking for my first tool for type design in 1997, I had some experience with Fontographer but I felt it was on its dying verge, so I decided to buy FontLab (version 3.0 at that point). I ended up being hired by the company seven years later, and all that time I did not see much movement on Fontographer, and I actually gave up on it.

It was Macromedia that approached FontLab with the idea that we should buy Fontographer off them before they merge with Adobe. In fact, we were quite surprised by this. I think Macromedia felt that within Adobe Fontographer will follow the fate of FontStudio and FontChameleon (all tools thaken over by Adobe and removed from the market). Font editors is just too small a market for a giant for Adobe, and was also too small for Macromedia when the company grew rapidly due to the enormous success of Flash.

So please be assured that we did not consider Fontographer a "threat". But of course we did see a value in acquiring it: we wanted to learn from the best practices of the application, have access to some of the best algorithms, and reconnect with the existing customers.

And yes, we do have plans to continue Fontographer, but it's too early for me to talk about it publicly.

Adam Twardoch
product and marketing manager
Fontlab Ltd.

gohebrew's picture


>What exactly is it you prefer in Fontographer?

Fontographer's interface is intuitive and easy to use.

The menu structure is logical. Advanced features can be ignored.

FontLab's interface is cluttered in detail. It is not easy to use.

The menu structure is too complicated. Advanced feature can not easily be used.

The justification for the higher price is it advanced features, but they can not easily be used.

gohebrew's picture


I would bring Fontographer back to life by not only making it Mac System X compatible and Windows Vista compatible (some day soon), but making it adopt some of FontLab's advanced features within its easy to learn and use, intuitive interface.

If you like FontLab's massive feature list and complex interface, buy it.

If you prefer Fontographer's interface, and would enjoy some of FontLab' features, buy it (now for almost the same price as FontLab) instead. :)

Buy both for a discount.

Just give Fontographer the features to be a good front end for MS Volt.

That's my wish list.

gohebrew's picture

Also, the user can simply go frpm character window to the next character window with typing a short-cut code.

Why can't FontLab Studio do something so simple.

Also, non-contigious copying and pasting.

If FL Studio costs more, should it hae these basic features in the less expensive product?

How about edit a character's shape not by moving its BCP points but simply adjusting the curve between the points. All that happens in that the curve controls are moved, and not the BCP. Isn't that what a curve is really all about?

paul d hunt's picture

Also, the user can simply go frpm character window to the next character window with typing a short-cut code.

Why can’t FontLab Studio do something so simple.

it can, use , and .

gohebrew's picture


one down.

(I'd stick it in the Window menu, paul - but then again, you would not have the chance then to tell me :) )

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