Making a Font From Color Vector Graphics»

You can draw color vector images right in FontLab or draw them in another application, like Adobe Illustrator, and bring them to FontLab and generate a full color vector font from it. Here is how you can make a font from color vector graphics drawn in another application:

I. Prepare Drawings in AI»

First, draw your color vectors in a vector application such that they consist of only filled contours without strokes. To illustrate this article, we have used a stock typeface called GraphixMania.

Each letter in this typeface consists of small color triangles, and the triangles have been grouped into glyphs:

Note that triangles have fill and do not have strokes.

If you are in Adobe Illustrator, go to Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard and make sure the Clipboard options are set to Include SVG Code:

Select all your drawings in AI and choose Edit > Copy to have images on the Clipboard.

II. Bring to FontLab»

Run FontLab, and open the Sketchboard Window > Open Sketchboard if it is closed. In FontLab, choose Edit > Paste. The Clipboard contents will be pasted as one element group.

III. Separate Drawings»

Now you need to separate the pasted image so that each “letter” becomes a discreet element. The easiest way to do this is to use FontLab OCR module – select Optically Separate in the Element menu. Once you run this operation, each letter should become a separate element. If element frames are turned on View > Element Frame, you will see a frame surrounding each element.

IV. Place to Font»

Turn on Rulers View > Rulers and drag a guideline down from the top ruler bar. Position the guideline below the row of characters to designate the baseline, Shift-drag the same guideline up to add thickness to it. Position it so that the guideline thickness corresponds to the height of the letters. Click on the guideline name and type “c1” for caps height. Press Alt and copy this guideline to another line of characters. Repeat this operation for all lines.

Create a new font File > New Font, switch back to the Sketchboard, select the Element tool (V), marque-select all images you want to place in the font and choose Element > Place As Glyphs > Selected Elements.

V. Font Info»

Go to the Font window, select and drag color glyphs to the cells where they should belong. Add the space glyph.

Open the File > Font Info dialog and name your font. Fill in other relevant font attributes like designer’s name, copyright string, version etc.

VI. Save and Test»

Choose File > Save Font to save the font in the native FontLab format VFC. You can use the Sketchboard for the first test of your new font. Select the Text tool, click in the Sketchboard and type some text to see how glyphs are rendered. Adjust spacing and kerning, if needed, and test again.

VII. Export»

To export your color font, select File > Export Font As and choose OpenType-TT profile in the list. Select destination folder and click on Export.