Typography Tuesday: Design Your Own Typeface With Prototypo, an Open-Source Online Typeface Editor

If you are a lover of typography like we are you are going to love Prototypo. Prototype is an open-source online typeface editor that allows you to shape a complete typeface by using sliders, then refine spacing and outlines like never before. The project was recently launched on the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter and quickly passed their original goal of £12,000. “No matter how experienced you are at designing types, getting from the idea of a new design to a usable font is a tedious and repetitive process. Prototypo offers a new approach of type design that integrates historical, mathematical and visual rules of this discipline to automate repetitive tasks and let you focus on shape design” Prototypo states. Watch the video below for a detailed overview of this brilliant project.


Current State of Prototypo

Prototypo says, “We spent five months working full-time on creating a useful font prototyping tool. The application already allows to quickly experiment and play with glyph shapes, regardless of a user’s knowledge or experience in type design. Prototypo exports “a-Z” characters in .svg font files that can be converted online or in FontForge to .otf files, then refined using classical type design softwares before being used like any other font.”

Current state of the application as of May 2014.

Current state of the application as of May 2014.


The Future of Prototypo

According to their Kickstart page, the primary goal of this campaign is to “allow refining type designs right inside Prototypo and export ready-to-use font files. This implies adding the following features to the application:

  • manual modification of glyph outline,
  • manual modification of spacing and kerning,
  • extended glyph set and alternates,
  • independent variations of glyphs and serifs,
  • export to auto-hinted binary font files (.otf, .eot, .woff).

The foundations of Prototypo are solid, and many of the above features are already in the pipes, we’ve illustrated below how they could work. We estimate it would take us five more months to get there.”





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Author: James Peacock

James Peacock is a Digital Marketing Specialist at FIDM in Los Angeles, California. He received his A.A. in Graphic Design from FIDM and was hired as Social Media Assistant in 2013 by his alma mater in order to help grow the institution’s social media marketing efforts. James now combines two of his passions, telling stories and solving problems by managing data-driven marketing campaigns across multiple channels that ultimately result in a positive return on investment.

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