Join James Williamson for an in-depth discussion in this video Glyphs Mini overview, part of Creating Icon Fonts for the Web.
To create our icon font we are going to be using Glyphs Mini. Before we start using the program, I want to give you a brief introduction to it and show you where you can find it and some information on the software itself. So here we are at glyphsapp.com and there are two versions of Glyphs, there is the full featured version, the pro version. And then, there's Glyphs Mini. And since we're interested in Glyphs Mini, I'm going to click on the link for that right below their main navigation. And they've got a nice little summary here about the differences between the full version versus Glyphs Mini so that you kind of know what you're losing by grabbing this version of it. Just to summarize it, no layers or external scripts or plugins. Limits what you can import and export, although for the purposes of building icon fonts it has everything that we need. Not as much open type support. For example, it doesn't support ligatures, which could impact some icon fonts. But, for the most part, there really isn't any downside to it. It's also available only in the app store, so if you don't like installing programs from the app store or buying from them, then, you know, that might be a bit of a problem for you guys. But you can download a trial for it. Keep in mind it is Mac only. In just a moment I'm going to show you guys some, maybe some alternatives for Windows users. But Glyphs itself, currently is only Mac only. Now they do have a lot of really great tutorials. A nice forum that you can post to. Some other resources that you can work with here on the site. Most of these are written for the full version of Glyphs, but there are a lot of them that have been written not only for Glyphs Mini, but that apply to folks that are specifically drawing icon fonts. For example, I've pulled one of these up already. Here's a resource article on pixel perfection, where they talk about calculating the units per M, and how to make sure that you're drawing precise points and curves. What the symbol's going to look like at certain sizes versus others, and how to make sure that your icons are looking as crisp as they can at the sizes that you're targeting. So, there's a lot of information on this site, not just for people that are designing fonts, but also for those of you that are designing icon fonts as well. Now, for those of you that are on Windows machines and you don't have access to Glyphs Mini. Obviously, this next chapter, we're going to be working specifically in Glyphs Mini and using its features. But I want to point out a tool that you guys might find acceptable, and that is FontLab's TypeTool. This, again, is sort of a value-priced editor. I'm not sure exactly what the price of this is. I think it's definitely under $100, and it's sort of a lighter version of FontLab, of some of the bigger FontLab tools. I have not personally used this myself, but I've got some friends that use this and like it. The import/export features are a little bit, it's not quite as easy to get artwork into TypeTool as it is Glyphs Mini, but this is definitely a tool that can get the job done for you. So if you're on Windows and you're looking for a cheaper version of a professional tool that's a little bit easier to use than some of the open source tools, TypeTool might be the one that you want to explore. Okay, so now that we have a handle on the tool that we're going to be using and a place where you can go find that tool. And read on up on it and learn some more resources we're going to get into the process of actually building our font and we'll start that in the next exercise.
Note: Glyphs Mini is only available on the Mac.
- What is an icon font?
- Searching options for creating icon fonts
- Choosing existing icons from an online service
- Setting up your font-creation workspace
- Drawing curves
- Creating compound paths
- Exporting glyphs
- Setting glyph properties
- Simplifying paths
- Exporting your icon font
- Using Font Squirrel to generate web fonts
- Testing icon fonts