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Software to create a font?

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#1
Kate Leroux

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At work, we're using a very old TrueType font package, created in house, for a set of map glyphs. It's so old we're worried it will stop working soon, and would like to recreate it. Designers: what software would you recommend for creating a font? I've seen Calligraphr but it seems more targeted at people who want to create a font of their handwriting. We're open to free tools as well as paid tools (and have enterprise Adobe licenses available if needed). 

 

Thank you!



#2
David Medeiros

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I don't have a font tool recommendation, but I do have some questions!

 

Are the "map glyphs" basically point symbols in font form? Or actual alpha/numeric characters? If just symbols, I'm wondering why you wouldn't recreate them as vector symbols in AI instead?


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#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Macromedia used to have a product called Fontographer, which now seems to be owned by a company called FontLab

 

But I agree with David, rather than use a Truetype font to hold your map glyphs (I assume you mean symbols) you might be better off recreating them in a vector package. If you save them as EMF or WMF files I know both ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator will be able to open them. SVG can be used in both Illustrator and QGIS.


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#4
David Medeiros

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I agree with Hans' agreement with me! Convert your font symbols to an AI doc and you won't have to deal with font deprecation issues. Plus it's much easier to work with symbol placement, replacement, and customization (in AI at least) if you have a real symbol library to work from.


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#5
Kate Leroux

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We use a font so that we have a way to easily distribute the set of glyphs to our end users (of ArcMap). I know we could create vector symbols for our own use, but we have a bunch of end users who need them too. Is there an easy way to do that which doesn't use a font? 



#6
David Medeiros

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I think ArcMap can import PNG and EMF files as point symbols. Must be a way to make a library of Arc symbols from the AI master files?


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#7
hasecbinusr

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Take a look at FontForge (https://fontforge.github.io/).  It's free / open source and may work for you.



#8
Luca

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Glyph (https://glyphsapp.com/) is also a possibility... but I never used it :)


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#9
Kate Leroux

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Thanks, everyone. I'll look into those font tools. If anyone comes up with another way to distribute a set of glyphs, do let me know. 



#10
Matthew Hampton

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Hey Kate - I just bumped into Glyphdesigner by 71squared and it looks really intriguing - partially for it's creative functionality but also for the company's Deep Dreamer app which leveraged Google's neural network to produce this brain melt.

 

I think using fonts to share symbol libraries in an esri-based enterprise sounds efficient, but updating becomes problematic. Is there such a thing as network-linked font references? (typing out loud) I wonder if you could build a library of net-linked KML glyphs?


co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#11
Kate Leroux

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My brain is truly melted after that. Thanks Matthew!

 

We rarely need to update this set of glyphs, so that's not a concern. I'll check out Glyphdesigner. 



#12
Adam Wilbert

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I'll throw out another option. Since your glyphs are already made, you can export each one to .svg through Illustrator and then drop them into https://glyphter.com. That will allow you to use a (possibly) more familiar vector editor for sprucing the glyphs up or making changes, rather than relying on the tools / learning curve of a traditional "font editor."


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#13
Kate Leroux

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Adam, I haven't seen Glyphter before, and it looks promising. Thank you!



#14
Matthew Hampton

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Say Hello Glyphter! I wish I had a business case to check this out - it looks really cool.

 

Their mascot isn't half bad either.

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 10.44.19 PM.png


co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com






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