Personally, I started in Fontographer in the early 1990s and gradually built a little sideline of designing fonts. They were selling a little on Myfonts.When OpenType became viable with the release of InDesign I needed to find something else. My old version of Fontographer would not run in Mac OSX very well. Thomas Phinney, then of Adobe, told me I had no option but to go to FontLab. This transformed my career. I learned how to write OpenType features. I learned how to carefully and professionally hand space fonts. I learned an entirely new way of drawing that was necessitated by FontLab’s tools. It was eight years of hard work. I got a lot better because of it. I learned a lot. But it was a digression from my calling—sharing a word from the Lord with the sheep given me.
I wrote about what I learned in a book called Practical Font Design. It was and is still surprisingly popular. Earlier this year Ted Harrison, president of FontLab, contacted me to see if I was interested in bundling Practical Font Design with his software and possibly writing a version of Practical Font Design for Fontographer. I was and am grateful for the opportunity. Plus, I was really looking forward to relearning Fontographer, now in version 5.1.
What surprised me was the joy of drawing again
Font design had become work. I was doing it less and less because it was so much effort. My focus is writing and publishing books. I love being able to use my own fonts. But I have discovered that I do not want to do it full-time. It is an entertainingly amateur effort for me. Fontographer has made it is a source of joy to me again. This is amateur in the British sense from decades and centuries ago. I love type and typography, but it is not the focus of my life.
When I started writing in the early 1990s, the fonts I had available for my books at that time could not do what I needed to be done, so I made fonts that worked for me. Fonts are beautiful tools to be used to communicate. I needed a tool that could do this for me without getting in the way of my writing and book production. Fontographer was, and is again, that tool. Now, I am sure the pros can safely disregard my work. After all, FontLab is the font design tool for pros. I’ve been told that throughout this new millennium. But who cares whether I am considered a pro font designer or not? I don’t.
I tried the full-time font designer route. I find that it is not for me. I love it, but I am not focused upon it. That makes me an amateur in the same sense as John Baskerville was considered an amateur when he revolutionized publishing in England in the mid-18th century. But what difference does that make? That’s not even the proper area of interest. The question is simple.
Can the readers more easily comprehend my content using my fonts?
This is my hope. The truth is probably closer to the idea that I like their beauty and it helps me communicate from within. For me, a book is a thing of beauty expressing the joy of creation as I use the gifts the Lord gave me to share what He has taught me. As Radiqx Press has become reality with me as a full-time on-demand writer/publisher, I find my joy and satisfaction in writing about things which help my readers. My books are creations just like my paintings and drawings used to be. It’s so much more fun for me to do a book than a painting. I can’t tell you how much joy they give me. My only hope is that you enjoy them and that they help you in your life as we work toward the prize of the upward calling.
- Fontographer or Fontlab? (hackberry-fonts.com)