Updated: Jan 17, 2019
At the start of 2014, I launched my little Etsy shop offering logos and branding packages to small businesses. I started out using the standard typefaces included with Mac/Windows and free ones available online. As my business grew, I purchased more fonts, built up a huge collection and my quality of work improved vastly. Hand drawn fonts were becoming hugely popular and I spent hours scouring the internet for new ones to purchase. My clients went berserk for the hand-drawn fonts used in my designs, the orders were flying in! However, last year it all became a little too much for me to handle by myself. The overwhelming amounts of orders meant endless work hours, very little social interaction and so many sleepless nights. I was offering unlimited amounts of alterations and always found it difficult to say no to clients. I had no time to create fresh designs and I wasn't enjoying everything I had worked so hard on anymore. I wanted so badly to create something new without the excessive workload.
I always wondered how fonts were made and hoped to make my own one day, but due to the lack of resources online it seemed impossible. Why was font designing such a huge secret and why was nobody talking about it?
One day whilst browsing Youtube, a video by Teela Cunningham popped up in my suggestions, Learn Font Making!
I enrolled in August of 2017 and by the end of the month, I had successfully created my first ever font, Hello Lovely. I was terrified of getting it out there, thinking it wasn't good enough and nobody would buy it. I took my chances and uploaded it to FontBundles.net and within an hour I was picked to be included in their latest bundle which turned out to be their best seller! I was also accepted onto Creative Market shortly after and earlier this year I noticed I was earning enough between the two websites to take a well-deserved break from client work.
I would seriously recommend the course to anyone who is interested in font design. Teela explains everything so thoroughly and includes several selling strategies which helped a lot. She’s a wonderful teacher and enrolling was the best decision I ever made. The trailer above lists everything you need to get started so make sure to give it a watch. The course has just reopened to anyone who may be interested, I promise you won't be disappointed! https://every-tuesday.com.
What I've learned so far:
Font making takes time and requires a lot of patience, you definitely won’t have it finished in a day. I was so eager to complete my first font that I didn't spend enough time on testing, kerning, language support and ligatures and had to make big changes to the files further down the line. I've found that writing a checklist once the characters are complete helps a lot, making sure to include any ligatures I have in mind, alternate characters etc. Another thing to keep in mind is that sales may not come flooding in overnight, just continue to make great content and you'll see results eventually.
Previews of your font are so important, especially the hero image. I’ve noticed a big difference from last year when I would spend around 20 minutes on a couple of previews rather than now. I make sure to work on at least 10-15 previews per font, using beautiful images from Unsplash and Pexels. I use Adobe Stock and Shutterstock every now and then if I can’t find what I’m looking for on the free sites.
Mockups are a great way to showcase your work. There are hundreds to browse through on Creative Market and lots of free ones around the web; just make sure to always check the licensing. I’ve recently discovered artboard.studio, an awesome tool to create product mockups. They regularly upload new items the items and you have the ability to choose from front and top view scenes.
I’m 50/50 about taking part in bundles. While it’s a great way to gain exposure and boost sales, your fonts are at risk of being uploaded to third party websites for people to download for free. It’s incredibly frustrating and such a pain dealing with DMCA takedowns.
Don’t undercharge! If you’ve worked on a high-quality product font for months on end, selling it for $3 just screams low quality. Enticing buyers with low priced items doesn’t always result in tons of sales. Work out a fair price based on the quality of the font, how many ligatures are included, alternative characters, language support etc.
Once you’ve got into the swing of things, the quality of your work will improve and you may notice that your first couple of fonts may not be at the standard that you’re at now. Consider offering a free font on Behance or your website; this is a great way to gain exposure and may lead to sales on your other products.
I really hope this helped in some way and inspires you to give font making a try.
Happy creating! :)