Create Your Own Font on the iPad | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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Create Your Own Font on the iPad

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What You'll Need


    • 3.

      Anatomy of Typeface


    • 4.

      Begin Building Your Font


    • 5.

      Numbers & Symbols


    • 6.

      Extended Alphabet (Accented Letters)


    • 7.

      Spacing Between Letters (Kerning)


    • 8.

      Make It Official


    • 9.

      Start Using Your New Font


    • 10.

      Adding Light and Heavy Versions


    • 11.



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About This Class

Have you ever wanted to create your very own font, but feel overwhelmed by the process and not knowing where to start? Maybe you don't have the money to spend on the computer programs needed or the time to invest in learning how they work, let alone the aspects of font building itself.

I'm pleased to bring you a class of modern technology at its finest and easiest: You will now be able to create a complete font using nothing but your iPad and a $5 app. Keep the hundreds of dollars you would have spent on computer programs and treat yourself to a fancy dinner once your font takes off as the new "must have" blogger font, or the go-to font for flyers, or when a big company adopts it as a part of their branding!

This class covers:

  1. What you'll need to begin
  2. Basic anatomy of typeface
  3. An in depth guided walk through to introduce you to an easy software (app) that you will build your font on

You're about to see how easy it is to export it and download it to your desktop to begin typing right away!

Creativity can really unleash as you learn how to manipulate letters to give off a certain impression. Dive into this class prepared to learn, because in no time flat, you'll be whipping out fonts like you wouldn't believe. 

Side note- It's SO MUCH EASIER to create a font with the Apple Pencil than with a computer mouse or trackpad. Like Whoa. Can't wait to see you in the class!


More classes you'll love:

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher


 Snag your free 50-page workbook right here!


Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

<... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I'm Peggy, I'm also known as the pigeon letters. In this class I am going to show you how to easily create your own font only using your iPad, the iPad Pro. It's very simple and I'm going to walk you through the entire process to make it super easy. You don't need Illustrator, you don't need any font programs on your computer. I'm really excited to show you guys because I've had so much fun creating fonts because I promise you you're going to be sucked into this for at least the next few days because it's so fun. I look forward to getting started, and I will see you in the next video. 2. What You'll Need: The tools that you need for this class are very simple. You will need your iPad Pro, you will need your apple pencil. I'm not sure if this program works with other stylists? I don't see why it wouldn't. I prefer the apple pencil it has the most sensitivity for strokes, in general, with the iPad. Then the last thing that you will need is this app called iFontMaker. It's I-F-O-N-T-M-A-K-E-R you can get this in the app store. Go to your app store, go to search, type in iFontMaker. It's little symbol looks just like this. You'll want to purchase this, download it, and then open it up, and we will get to fonts in just a moment. 3. Anatomy of Typeface: Before we jump into creating a font, I want to go over some basic anatomy typeface with you so that you are understanding different types of aspects that you can add into your letters to build them to create something that is very characteristic and unique to you, knowing these terms. Ends with you that's going to help with the character terms. The bottom here where your letters are going to sit is called your baseline. The next line is your x-height, which is the top of your lowercase x and most of your lowercase letters will sit into that area as well. Then you have your cap height, which is the height of your capital letters, and then we have your ascending line which can be just higher than your cap height. That's where the top of your D will come up to and what not. This can also be at your cap height. You also have your descending line which dips below the baseline. That's a quick reference to your guidelines, and there's a cheat sheet in the class resources, which from a desktop or laptop you can access by going to the tab your project, and then you'll see them on the right-hand side there. Moving into character anatomy, the first one that I want to go over is weight. You've probably seen this and other fonts where it will say, let's just call it font-style, so you'll see font-style light, font style, font style heavy. This is the same idea as pressing the B for bold, the only difference is it's in separate files, which is what this program will create for you. Unfortunately, you're not able to upload one font and then press B for bold, but it's really easy to extend the width of your line work to create a second file for like that heavy version. That's the bolder version. You can also do a lite version, so weight is something to keep in mind. There's also letter spacing and you've probably seen this also where you'll see font style condensed, font-style extended, and then just the basic. Luckily, most font programs now we'll do this for you. There's usually a setting on your computer to where you can do that and extend the spacing in between each letter, but on this program you can also choose what your default will be so that you can get them closer together, move them far apart, and we will get into that. The character anatomy to each individual letter. I'm just going to go over some common terms with you that you may or may not have heard of, but this way it will give you an introduction to what this will look like. The first one we'll look at is the ascender, which is the part of a lowercase letter that rises above the x-height. We have our descender, which is the stroke that descends below the baseline, so we have our g, j, and p, and then we have our arm. The arm is a horizontal stroke that doesn't connect to a stroke or stem on one or both ends so like the T, F, and E here. Then we have our leg, which is the lower down sloping stroke like on a K, or an R, sometimes even the Q,. We have the bar, which is also known as the crossbar, which is a horizontal stroke. It's different from the arm and across stroke because each end connects to a stem or a stroke, and whereas the cross stroke is a horizontal line that's intersecting the stem, like the dash on the t and the f. The stem is considered as that vertical stroke. A bowl is a fully closed rounded area. You'll see this on the o, you'll see it on the d, and b. These can also be known as counters and the open space and a partly or fully closed area, so the difference with a bowl is that the bowl is fully closed whereas a counter can either be fully enclosed or partly closed. Like the m or the n or the h, these have those curved, rounded areas, but they do have that open space, that negative space inside the letter. The shoulder is that curved stroke that's aiming downwards so on the h, or the m, the n. Then we have the serif, which you've probably heard of. The serif is a projection off of the main stroke which is added as a stop to the beginning and end of the main stem. You can a serif into a bracketed serifs, which the bracket is a wedge connection between the stem and the serif and this just adds a softness to the serif. It also adds more of a complete look, whereas the unbracketed serif is more sharp, which can add a lot of personality depending. Play with those elements. Then we have obviously serif off, which means that there is no serif at all, which leads us to the terminal, which is the end of a stroke that does not contain a serif. Then we have the ball terminal, which is the circular form at the end of an arm. Those are the terms I'm going to give you guys. I'm not going to go into too many more. I just want you to have those as point of reference and as a cheat sheet in the class resources, so please feel free to reference that. We will move into actually building our font. 4. Begin Building Your Font: You can see when I open my program up, I've got a few fonts that are in process of being built. Some of them are finished, but I have my regular font and then my heavy version. You can see that this is the regular heavy version. I'll show you how to do that so that you have the different varieties so that you can apply a bold look to the font as well. Go ahead and select new. This is the page that will open up and you will see the capital A is selected under Latin alphabet. If you scroll through here, you can see all the different symbols that you have the opportunity to add. It's going into Japanese, Tai, we have lots of alphabet varieties. You don't really need to use all of these, I would stick with the Latin, you can add as many of these as you'd like. Anything that you don't add into the system will be typed in just a very standard font when you're using the computer. If you leave it blank, don't worry, it will still register on using the computer just as a normal font rather than the style that you put in. When you're using the program, you can zoom in and out, you can move things around, you have to use two fingers, if you use one, it's going to apply the stroke. To press undo, it's this arrow down here in the corner, to press redo the arrow just to the right of that, you're going to undo that, and then we can also change the size of our stroke tray here along this slider. If you go thinner, it's going to be a lot smaller. Go larger, a lot thicker. Depending on the style that you want to use, the fonts that are presented for us as we go through here, is based off of a standard font. If you press this T button down here, you will see some different types of fonts that you can use as a base, which is helpful. Let's say you want something on a slant, you're not sure how far that letter's going to reach into the next area, you can select an italic font, then you can see, where that's going to be based, and then you can create your own letter at that same angle, knowing that you're going to stick to that angle throughout your alphabet. Hopefully that makes sense and so that's super helpful if you want your font to be italicized. For now, I'm just going to use a very basic font, I'm going to go a little larger and I'm going to do my capital A. You can see that it's basically going off of that same standard. When we make cross here is just going to be something loose toward the top. You can also apply weight to your down stroke, similar to faux calligraphy, like so, and then you can make this a lot larger to round out and make sure that this is rounded out at the bottom. Another thing that you can do for strokes is select your arrow, you can see the strokes that you just put in, and you see this little lip right here that's making that edge not so smooth. I'm going to select that one, so if I move that up or down, you can see how it smooths that out and then it's a lot smoother. Any area that needs to be filled in, you can do that. I feel fine about that A and so we will move into B. You can either select the B up here, or I can select the button for next here, or go back down here. Going into B, I'm going to add my down stroke here to make that thicker, get some weight right here and then gets some weight right here. You can see how that looks a little bit choppy here, so I can pull out and press the arrow, press this and drag that, see where the red areas line in the middle and you can see that it puts that right in the middle of that stroke. It's nice and smooth. I'm going to do the same thing to this area here. I select my arrow, I select the stroke. This one I just want to change the angle so it's more seamless. I'm going to pull this and that changes the direction of that stroke and then it's going to be a lot smoother, like so, but it looks like I couldn't move that in just a bit, and that's it. I'm going to go to my C, add my weight line, that's it. Go in and adjust, pull this over, probably pull it down like that and then you see that there's this guy that I just exposed by doing that, so you want to watch out for that, pull that in so that's not exposed anymore and then do the same thing to the bottom. Pulling this down, you can see that there's still a bump, so we will change that angle and then we can pull it to the middle, and that will be a lot smoother. To the D, add my weight line. Just like the B, I have this hanging off on purpose. I'm going to do the same thing here, add my weight line. You want to make sure to occasionally go back and check, your other letters to make sure that they look consistent like my A looks a little small in comparison to my E. I'm going to go back and you can actually enlarge these by pressing this plus with the arrows, it looks like a compass and then pulling it in and out like this. You can actually move where it is on the guideline also. I'm going to do that slightly, that looks good to me and then I'll make sure that my B everything else looks like that. Make sure that those are consistent as you're moving along. We'll go into F. I think I want this to be a little bit longer. If I press the arrow to select the path that I want to change, I can pull it out like this. Going to my G, hold my weight line through. You can see that that's sticking out on the bottom here. I'm going to select that path, pull it to that red part to the center of the next stroke, and that looks a lot better. I'm going to my H. Notice that for me, I'm choosing a specific style to stick with and all of my crosses are up pretty high. This is going to help build your font as a whole so that you have consistency throughout and creating your own style. My I, I'm going to go down here and adjust this line, pull it down and then there. My J, K, L, M, N and I'll just keep doing this throughout the whole alphabet. If you see something like this, like I don't know where that came from, I didn't put that there must have been a mistake. Press your arrow key, select it, delete. If you had a letter and you want to keep the exact same stroke as like your O, you can come to your O, press these scissors, say copy all. Go to your Q, go to your scissors, say paste, it's going to put that same symbol there. You can just add the leg. 5. Numbers & Symbols: When you're done with your lowercase, you will see that you're moving into numbers. You'll want to do the same thing. You just going to go through numbers and then you'll see some symbols. Get creative with these as well. [MUSIC] 6. Extended Alphabet (Accented Letters): When you're done with the majority of your assembles, you will come across some accented letters and the easiest way to go about creating these is to go back to your capital "A" and go to your "Scissors", go to "Copy All" and then you can return to that accent, go to scissors and press, "Paste". It also will give you the option to paste from A, so you don't even have to do that so that you can go just to any A and paste from A and then all you have to do is add the symbol N. So here to the scissors, paste from A, paste from A. But then you have that consistent capital A and so on. So if you go to your E, same thing, paste from E and then you just add your symbol. So that's how that will work and then you just continue to go through as many as you'd like to do. But the more you play with it, the more you learn. But that is how you will structure your letters. We will go over spacing and how to get everything to flow as you're typing to create actual words. 7. Spacing Between Letters (Kerning): When you're ready to piece your alphabet together and make sure that everything is cohesive, just go up to this Preview Bar and then you're going to click on Kernings. Here, you will see everything laid out together. Now, if there's anything on here that you don't like that you want to make adjustments to, for instance this guy, all you need to do is drag it exactly where you want it to be, and then it will scoot everything behind it along with it if it's in that grouping. Like the spacing between these two will stay the same. Now anywhere, if I have my zero followed by a comma, it will all remember those exact spacing. If I have any YU, it now has this spacing. YO now has this spacing. So you can change this anywhere that you see you might want to make an adjustment. My suggestion to you is to start from the beginning and go through each and every area that you might want to change. Then if you press Select up here, these are the different samples to go through, and I do recommend going through all of these samples because it's going to make it the most fluid. You can also enter your own sample and then see, but we'll do that at the end. So my next one, you actually have words that are built, and you can adjust exactly the way that you will want. So like all I'm doing right here is changing the YO so that it looks consistent. ES, I'm now pushing to be tighter here. EV, EA, now it's as condensed as the rest of it. X, just push it a little closer together. My N, maybe a little further away from the I. You can do this as much or as little as you want to for spacing. I'm at 70, you can even do this where you space it out quite a bit, have it nice and tight. As far as keeping it the same across the board, you'll want to go through and make sure everything looks nice and grouped together. This is also a good area to find out if there's a particular letter that you think you want to adjust because it just doesn't look right with the rest of them. So if you see that all, you have to do is return to that letter. So press Done, return to the letter, change what you want to change on that, and then go back to Kernings, go back to where you were just at, and then you can revisit and see suddenly, my O makes more sad. I don't know if you guys noticed before, but it bothered me. So now, that has changed and it looks like it makes more sense. Then I'll go to Select, I'll go to the next one, and then go through and do the same thing. The further in the list that you get, that you'll notice the less edits that you'll want to make. But like this one will give you options where you see AQ, AR, AS, AT, and goes down the list. So you really get a thorough idea of exactly what that's going to look like. Notice that these are grayed out. That means I haven't entered those letters in my actual alphabet yet. So once I do, I'll see those. Otherwise, if I were to leave it blank again, that's just going to type in a standard font on the computer. You might see some letters where like my F, everything next to it, I had to move over, and all that is is where I placed my F on the actual grid of the guidelines. There's nothing you have to return to fix. If the full F is showing up, just drag those letters closer so that you don't have any issues with it when you're typing your words. One that you'll really want to do is the very last one where it goes through each letter with the letter next to it. You can see how the spacing looks throughout the entire thing. Make sure there's nothing you want to adjust. I'm going a little bit fast. I would recommend really looking and making sure that you love the way that the layout is. So when you're done with that part, go ahead and preview something that you want to say. I'm just going to write the pigeon letters, and then that is how that ends up looking. So you see how that creates a very consistent-looking alphabet based off of your design. Here is where you can change the word spacing as well. Word spacing, letter spacing, so that can look really cool. Then once you have that, you can go into Kernings and see how that affects everything, how different it makes it. You can save different versions. You can save a condensed version, save it, extended version, save a bold and a normal or a light version. So I'll show you how to do that in the next video. 8. Make It Official: When you're ready to export your fonts and begin to use it on your computer. This is very simple to do. What you'll do is go to this top right corner and you'll see this box with an arrow that is pointed upwards. So select that and then you'll say, "Configure and build font." Then here you will title it. You can choose private, so where you only use it, can choose view only, where somebody can see it online, or you can choose public where other people can actually use it. You could click the I it'll show you what that means. You would just select, Build online. Then it may take a little bit. So you let that sit for a minute and then once it has finished your font will be ready. Then I'll show you how to import it onto your computer. 9. Start Using Your New Font: Once you've sent it to your Mac, you're just going to go to your downloads. I have my downloads doc right here, or you can go to your finder and go to your downloads. This is how to do it on a Mac and there is a specific way to do it on Windows that's pretty simple. I'm so sorry I don't have that to show you, but it is pretty simple if you just reference online and then it'll show you, but then you'll just double click it and say install font. Then it will install right here and you'll see it right here. Then your font is ready to use. Just open up a Word document and then go to your font, go to your brand. You'll see your font listed here. Then you can just type. In the next video, I'm going to show you how to change the width of your characters so that you can save it in a lighter version or a bolder version. 10. Adding Light and Heavy Versions: When you want to change the width, I'm going to do a light version of what I did because my letters are pretty bold anyway. But either way, whether you go up or down, this is going to show you how to do different widths. Before you change your weight, you're going to want to go back to documents and you'll see that your new font is right here. You're going to want to hold that down and then, you'll see a duplicate export and delete. Duplicate that. The reason why is because when you change the weight of your glyphs as a whole, you can't undo it. You want to make sure that you have the font you just worked on and it's good to go and you're not going to ruin it. Click the new copy, and then to change the weight, you're going to go to this percentage and then you're just going to drag this up or down depending on if you want to go thinner or thicker, you won't see this in a live preview. I would go down and then say apply to current glyph. So you can see how that looks. Notice that I have some empty spaces, so you might have to go through and adjust that, but I like this thickness. What I'm going to do is say applied to all glyphs. This is where it tells you you can't undo it, apply to all. Now all of them are much thinner. I'm going to go through and make sure that there's no white space that I need to take care of. When that's done, you can say Download Desktop font. Then I'm going to Air Drop it to my iMac. 11. Project: That's it, you guys. That's all I'm going to show you in this class. For your class project, I would like to see a 250 word essay. I'm just kidding. You don't have to do that. But I would love to see a screenshot of your new font, you can write whatever you want, just make it something fun, preferably a couple sentences. I'd love to see the structure. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the discussions. But do upload your projects, I'm really excited to see what you guys create. This is a very unique and fun way to create a font, makes it really easy. Again, thanks so much and I will see you next time.