Junk Drawer Fonts continued

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.20.47 AM

Today we're going to continue working with our junk-drawer fonts, prepping our Illustrator files and making them ready for export to an actual font file. 

First, however, let's look towards refining the typeface in Illustrator by trying to create a word:
CHAMPION – or – champion
Champion, like HandglovesHamburgevons, and Hamburgefonstiv, is known as a 'control word' or 'test word' because it contains all the fundamental strokes, stems, diagonals, and rounded strokes used in the Latin alphabet. Try to perfect your typeface spacing and overall shaping by using one of these control words. The remaining letters of your alphabet will follow, as they will contain many of the same strokes, diagonals, stems, etc. 
Second, we need to use Illustrator's Pathfinder tool to combine or flatten our vector shapes into single paths.
Third, Illustrator doesn't actually do typeface exporting. And, unless you're editing existing text using an pre-installed typeface file in Illustrator's type engine, it won't allow for letterform spacing, kerning, or any other typographical concerns that go into making a good typeface. For that we will need a type design application.  There are many solid type design applications on the market, many or which are used professionally. Here a just a few of the big ones:
  1. FontLab Studio, $673.00
  2. Glyphs, $300
  3. Fontographer, $400

I could go on an on, because there are many excellent applications out there in the wild that can be used to design a typeface. However, we don't have that kind of money, so we're going to be using a free, open source font editor called Birdfont.  It's fairly limited, but it will allow us to modify spacing and kerning, as well as export an actually font file. Another plus? We can paste vector information from Illustrator directly into Birdfont, thereby combining the excellent vector editing attributes of Illustrator with the typeface creation tools of Birdfont.