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soudesune's picture
Joined: 2009 Dec 19
Typography for beginners

My 12-year-old daughter has expressed an interest in typography. I played around with Fontographer 3 back in the mid-nineties and while it is fun to play with, maybe there is a friendlier programme to start out with.

Does anybody have good recommendations of either software to start out with, websites or books to read or both? It mustn't necessarily be for the Mac or be old (We also have Windows and Linus at home). German or English are also both OK.

Other than that, if anyone has any advice, I'd be happy.


MikeTomTom's picture
Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Typography which is a field concerned with the page layout and use of type, whereas Fontographer belongs under a category of Font & Type Design, a related but different field of font creation to be used in typographical situations.

If typography is her interest, then she could participate in school newspaper or magazine production, to gain her 1st steps in hands-on experience with page layout and use of typefaces. She is possibly nearing an an age where she could gain part-time work during her holidays or out of school hours. If she were to find work in some printing field, this would also be valuable experience.

Wikipedia is also a good starting point for concise breakdowns of what typography is all about and has great internal and external links to further reading.

If Type Design is her interest, then most software for this does have a high learning curve and Fontographer is still one of the best tools there is. FontLab now owns Fontographer (last updated 6 years ago). FontLab also has a product called "TypeTool3", supposedly a font editor for students & hobbyists. I haven't seen or tried it, so cannot comment on it's use, but it may be worth investigating further. On the free software front there is the FOSS "FontForge". And like a lot of open sourced software, this one has everything thrown-in bar the kitchen sink and comes with a steep learning curve. Not that that should put a bright mind off, FontForge is pretty good stuff with a lot of online help.

soudesune's picture
Joined: 2009 Dec 19

Thanks for the clarification. I used to know all of this, back in the 1990s.
It is indeed type design that interests her at the moment (rather than page layout). I'll have a look at TypeTool3 and FontForge. As with Fontographer, I'll have to try it myself first so that I'll be able to answer her questions.

Gary's picture
Joined: 2011 Jul 21

MG has 2 newer versions of Fontographer available. You may find the newer ones a bit easier to use.


Duality's picture
Joined: 2014 Mar 1

If Fontographer is not to your liking, Glyphs has largely taken over as the designer-friendly font editor for Mac OS X from when it was in public beta around 2010.

It started as a 64-bit Snow Leopard app, which you can still download from the official website today. There's also a light "Glyphs Mini" that covers the essentials well for almost 50 euros. That might be ideal.