John Roshell discusses strategies for ensuring the clarity of fonts on screen, based on his experience creating fonts to replicate comic book pen lettering styles developed for readability on absorbent newsprint. He explains how the counters, x-height, corners, and gaps between strokes can be finessed and fine-tuned without sacrificing the personality of the font.
- [Instructor] When I first started working in comic books,…part of my job was creating fonts on the computer…designed specifically for lettering comics.…And this was a while back, so most comics…were still cheaply printed on newsprint…and that paper really absorbs the ink.…Take a look at this panel from Spiderman back in the 1960s.…You can see that the ink,…once it hits that absorbent newsprint,…starts to fill in and certain letters…become almost unreadable.…In fact, the reason most comic books…and comic strips were traditionally lettered…in all uppercase is because so many lowercase letters…like a, b, d, and, e have tinier counters…which tend to fill in with ink even more.…
Take a look, here I've simulated…what this panel from Spiderman might've looked…like if it has been lettered in lowercase.…See how the lowercase Es have become little black blobs.…Also, if the lines of text get too close together,…if you're trying to fit a lot of dialog…into a tight space, the ascenders and descenders…can collide right into each other.…
Join professional illustrator John Roshell as he shows how to design an alphabet of letters from scratch using Glyphs, a popular software for type designers. John familiarizes you with the qualities of a successful onscreen font, and explains how to design with pencil and paper—and then import those hand-drawn letters into Glyphs. He also demonstrates how to set up a Glyphs file and trace imported letters manually or with autotracing software, and then refine the letter shapes to maximize their readability and personality. To wrap up, he shows how to finalize and output your design, including how to efficiently create missing letters and numbers to complete your creation.
- Why create your own font?
- Designing with pencil and paper
- Setting up a new Glyphs file
- Tracing letters with the pen tool
- Auto tracing letters with Capture
- Cleaning up letter shapes
- Refining angled and round letters
- Setting spacing and kerning
- Fine-tuning for screen use