John Roshell defines four qualities that make for successful fonts for apps and fonts for games—readability, simplicity, versatility, and personality. He states that the goal of the course is to create a font that is exciting and full of personality, but clean and simple enough to be read at small sizes.
- [Instructor] Creating your own fonts is a fun and rewarding process, but creating fonts for apps and video games presents a set of unique challenges. Fonts designed for print use can be really forgiving in terms of readability and technical complexity. Letters with a lot of detail and texture may look fantastic blown up on a large poster, but nearly impossible to read or simply full of a lot of unnecessary information when shrunk down on a tiny smartphone screen. So our goal in this course will be to create a font that's exciting and full of personality at large sizes, but also clean and simple enough to be read at small sizes, all while taking up the minimum amount of storage space and processing power in your app.
Our four priorities will be readability, this is the bottom line. If your users can't read the text, they'll probably become frustrated. Each time they have to stop to figure out what a word says, it takes them out of the environment you've carefully created and if it happens too often, they may quit playing or using your app entirely. Simplicity, fewer points and curves equals a smaller file size. A small file will be quick to render and take up the minimal possible footprint in your download. We will attempt to include only the points that are absolutely necessary for conveying the shape of each letter. Versatility, if constructed right, a single font can work at many sizes.
It's easy to read at smaller sizes, with careful attention to details that make it look sharp at larger sizes. Personality, when creating an app or game, you're creating a unique little world for the user to disappear into. Why not use a built-in or open source font? Because you want something distinctive that captures the mood and feel of the unique world or environment you're creating. The right font can draw the user into that world. And this is your font, so don't be afraid to try unusual off-the-wall choices that maybe only you would make. Just remember, the first three priorities take precedence.
As you move through this course, remember RSVP, readability, simplicity, versatility, and personality. So whenever you get stuck on a decision while creating or editing your font, these priorities can be your guide.
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