31 July 2009

[type] Exploring TypeMyType – Intriguing DIY Font Resources

2180.Via Twitterer Bram Pitoyo, I've stumbled on a site that looks like a typographers site for typographers, but if you're interested in font design, it's got a little something for everyone.

It's called TypeMyType.

Truth be told, I'm still in the middle of exploring it. It has an awful lot, but until you get to know it, you may find it a little inscrutable, but the layout is enjoyable and it's put type up as the star of the presentation, which is good and wonderful.

Some of the highpoints include a free, rather intuitively-interaced type design program that can save your work as a simple OTF file (with very little font metrics) or the so-called UFO format – the Unified Font Object format, which is supposed to be a cross-platform, cross-platform, human-readable format. This is a standalone Mac application, and it's called Font Constructor. The intuitive feature comes, as opposed to regular font creators which expect that you'll understand bearings and font metrics and such, you create bits and pieces of your fonts as building blocks which can then be drug-n-dropped into the glyph window. You can also, it's claimed, copy and paste wholesale from FontLab (I've not tried that yet). This is similar to FontStruct (an online editor of which I'm a fan) but Font Constructor uses Beziers and paths.

Another extremely intriguing thing found on the site is TypeCast. TypeCast claims to be two things; one, an online versioning system that supports a UFO workflow, and a light online UFO path editor. It seems to be under development; while the author (Frederik Berlaen) claims you can upload from FontLab directly into TypeCast, there are no obvious instructions on how to do so. Judging by the video on the site, some scripting in FontLab seems to be involved. I'm in the process of researching this now. The online editing does work like a song, though; choose the glyph and the item appears, big, bold and butch, with clearly visible Bezier handles all ready to go.

I suggest it's at least worth exploring to anyone who likes the idea of online type development.

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