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TypographyHow to

Design an intricate display font

HypeForType's Dawn Lewandowski explains how to convert an illustrated alphabet into a quality display font.

t's all very well creating beautiful, intricate illustrated letterforms, but how do you convert them into a usable display font without sacrificing the detail or quality?

As a type production specialist at HypeForType, one of my toughest assignments was the production of Alex Trochut's D&AD award-winning Neo Deco, featured here. This beautiful face is built from sections of fine lines and, while they were drawn with mathematical precision, converting them into a usable font posed some problems.

Most fonts use the default UPM (Units per eM) value of 1,000. However, pasting these particular outlines into the glyph cells in FontLab using that value resulted in literally thousands of font audit violations. It can be tempting to overlook these warnings and generate your fonts out anyway, and many amateur producers do. But there are very valid reasons for these flags, and ignoring them will either lead to a mushy-looking mass or an occasional broken fine line - not a good result. Using Trochut's Neo Deco display font, available here, this project will guide you through the process of creating a detailed and eye-catching font from your vector creations, without sacrificing quality.

Click here to download the tutorial for free

Check out this fantastic selection of free fonts

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