Designing a font

and the wonders of goals setting

Tools used for this project : Procreate & Calligraphr

In January, I tried something I never did before : setting my designer-self some goals. Nothing major really, just a few things I wanted to achieve during the year, like creating a Dribbble account and update it regularly or reading more books related to UX design… One of the most ambitious ones was designing my own font. Here’s my journey of creating my own font, and what I’ve learned in the process. 

Defining the style and number of characters

As it was my very first font, I decided to not make it too complicated, it had to be a handwritting type with no connections between each character. The style came naturally on Procreate, with the brush pen, and ended up in a round and bold design.

As a designer often working with different languages, a very important thing I wanted to take into account was the number of characters, so the font is as easy to use as possible. The font is composed of 150 characters in total, including capital letters, numbers, punctuation marks, currencies signs and special accented characters often used when writing in french, spanish or german.

Designing with Calligraphr & Procreate

Calligraphr is a really cool tool to design a font. First, you need to select the characters you want to be part of your type, and it will create a template you can save as a PDF or PNG. Then, all you need to do is to fill the template with your designs (I used Procreate, but you can fill it with a black pen and scan it). You can then upload the template back to Calligraphr and it will build the font. Calligraphr also gives the possibility to edit each characters to make it perfect ! A full tutorial can be found here.

Defining the name and the licence

The font is called Nekoto, a mix between the Google font "Roboto" and "Neko", the japanese name for cat. Nekoto is a free font under the Open Font Licence, meaning that you can use it freely for personnal and commercial use. I chose the Open Font Licence because I often struggle to find a font that I like and I can use for free. The goal was to make "Nekoto" as accessible as possible, with its design and also with the way I share it.

Setting goals

I've been wanting to design a font for a very long time. Setting goals at the beginning of the year was the key to achieve this project. I had a deadline - it had to be done by the end of 2018 - and it is really what helped me getting started. Realising this project, I've also learned to not set my goals too high: Nekoto is a very simple font, with no extra difficulty like connections or ligatures, succeeding in creating a simple font motivated me to create another one, probably with connections next time!

I hope you will enjoy using Nekoto as much as I did creating it!

Download Nekoto for free (.zip)