FontLab 7 has the largest set of available features you can find, so simple font creator features, (like a preview window, bitmap and vector file import and basic drawing tools like pencil, eraser and ruler) are all there. It also boasts more advanced drawing tools, like a polygon, circle or rectangle shape maker, round and calligraphic brushes and multiple brush styles. And of course, most of the drawing tools in FontLab Studio are vector-based, not bitmap-based, for a higher-quality result.
You can apply one of many font effects or even further glyph customization. You do this through drawing tools, OpenType specifications, action scripts or a combination of the three. You can easily create a bold, outline or college (double outline) appearance, or create an italic with the skew action. The shift, scale, mirror and rotate actions also come in handy. And you can easily add a drop shadow, 3D extrusion or rotation or gradient. And that’s just a few of the many effects that FontLab Studio has to offer!
Creating Arabic and Hebrew characters is easy, thanks to the OpenType features and the ability to create text that reads right-to-left, rather than the standard left-to-right.
FontLab offers a wonderfully simple approach to batch transformations. You simply turn on the “batch mode” in FontLab, and you’re ready to make mass edits with ease.
Want to blend two fonts into one new design? FontLab makes it easy to make your own font based on ones that already exist, whether you’re blending two together or just tweaking a single font.
Guidelines can be found everywhere, from the individual glyph editor to the kerning and metrics screen, and they are quite useful for making sure your glyphs are uniformly sized and spaced. Spacing options include automatic metrics or kerning, or you can make individual tweaks to both.
Worried about your font displaying incorrectly at lower resolutions? FontLab’s hinting functions solve your problems. If you are less tech-savvy, you can turn on automatic hinting so you won’t have to define parameters yourself.
Want to make your own font from handwriting? Simply import scanned images of the glyphs and trace them with the bitmap background tool to create an outline font with ease.
FontLab goes above and beyond in that it allows for a wide range of conversion possibilities. It will open any type of font (including bitmaps) and it can save a font as any type of outline format, including Adobe Illustrator-compatible EPS files.
FontLab’s “Test Font” feature allows you to preview the font as it will appear once it’s been installed on your computer. You can apply edits to an entire font family – incredibly useful when creating a bold or italic version of a font that doesn’t already have those formats. It’s also useful for applying OpenType features, hinting or metrics to an entire font at once, rather than going in to each of the hundreds or thousands of glyphs and applying these effects individually.
Windows and panels within the main screen are customizable and you can detach certain panels from their windows and move them around as your workflow demands for maximum convenience.
Other options are no less impressive. You can contact the support team via an online email form, and they’re quite responsive. There are also FAQs and a user forum online, as well as a place to report bugs in the software (if there are any in the first place). We love the tutorials page as well. It has numerous video tutorials and text- and graphic-based instructions to help you get started. You’ll also find several external links related to font design as a whole that aren’t specific to this particular font creator.
“the effects and changes you can apply to the glyphs you create are, simply put, phenomenal. When added to a comparatively easy-to-use interface and a stellar array of help and support options, FontLab Studio definitely takes the cake.” —Top Ten Reviews
- In-context glyph design with Neighbors and Shape groups, true tangent points, color-customized and streamlined glyph window
- Revolutionary new metrics and kerning editing multiline preview, better class kerning, smart auto-generation of classes
- Pixelfont support import BDF files and make pixelfonts, built-in auto-tracing
- Unicode 4.1 support SMP codepoints, auto-generate over 2,500 accented characters from built-in definitions, new Unicode glyph template images (from Monotype Imaging)
- Improved OpenType support with better VOLT integration, roundtrip editing of complex-script fonts, font merging, glyph suffix renaming
- Opens Mac fonts on Windows (Mac Type 1, TrueType GX/AAT) and Ikarus files
- Five new printing modes, Quick Test fonts with system rendering
- Open installed fonts, generate multiple fonts in one step
- Redesigned preferences save, open and exchange preference profiles and UI workspaces
- Better auto-hinting with Flex Type 1 hints, Python 2.4 support