How to Create A Font In Adobe Illustrator

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How to Create A Font In Adobe Illustrator

In the ever-evolving world of graphic design, one of the most intriguing and creative tasks is the creation of custom fonts. The ability to design a unique typeface opens up a world of possibilities for branding, personal projects, and various design tasks. In this tutorial, we'll dive into the fascinating process of creating custom handwritten fonts using Adobe Illustrator, a leading vector graphics editor used by design professionals worldwide.

Handwritten fonts carry a certain charm and personal touch that can make your designs stand out. They can convey a sense of personality, authenticity, and warmth that standard fonts often lack. Whether you're looking to create a font that reflects your handwriting or you're aiming to design something that brings a distinct feel to a project, this tutorial will guide you through the necessary steps.

We'll be using Adobe Illustrator for the creation of our font, leveraging its powerful suite of tools to craft our design. To enhance the process, we'll also be using AstroPad on an iPad as a graphics tablet and an Apple Pencil for more precise drawing. While these additional tools aren't strictly necessary, they can significantly streamline the process and give you more control over your drawings.


Before we delve into the process, it's important to understand the tools that we'll be using throughout this tutorial. Our primary tool will be Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics software widely used in the design industry. Its powerful and versatile toolset makes it an ideal choice for creating custom fonts. If you haven't already, you'll need to download and install Adobe Illustrator on your computer.

Another crucial tool we'll be using is the Fontself Maker extension for Adobe Illustrator. Fontself Maker is a powerful tool that simplifies the process of creating fonts, making it much more accessible, especially for beginners. You'll need to download and install Fontself Maker into your Adobe Illustrator program prior to following this tutorial.

In addition to Adobe Illustrator, we'll also be using AstroPad and an iPad as a graphics tablet. This combination allows us to draw directly onto the tablet, providing a natural and intuitive drawing experience. It's particularly useful when creating handwritten fonts, as it allows you to draw as you would on paper. If you have an iPad and want to use it as a drawing tablet, you can download AstroPad from the App Store.

Finally, we'll be using an Apple Pencil for more precise drawing. The Apple Pencil offers a high level of precision, pressure sensitivity, and tilt functionality, making it a powerful tool for digital drawing and handwriting. However, if you don't have an Apple Pencil, you can still follow along using your finger or a stylus.

It's important to note that while these additional tools can significantly streamline the process and give you more control over your drawings, they're not mandatory. You can create a custom font using just Adobe Illustrator with Fontself Maker using your mouse or another type of graphics tablet. The process might be a bit different, but the core principles remain the same.

Now that we've covered our tools, let's dive into the exciting process of creating our custom handwritten font!

Getting Started

The first step in creating a custom handwritten font is setting up your workspace. To do this, we'll start by creating a template in Adobe Illustrator. This template serves as a guide for drawing our characters, ensuring that they are proportionate and well-aligned. You can create your template by drawing out lines to represent the top, bottom, and middle of your characters. If you prefer, you can also download and use a pre-made template.

With our template in place, we're ready to start drawing our characters. For this, we'll be using the Blob Brush tool in Adobe Illustrator. This tool is perfect for creating handwritten fonts because it allows us to create shapes, not just paths. When we draw with the Blob Brush, we're essentially painting with a brush that creates closed vector shapes. This means that every stroke we make is its own individual shape, which is particularly helpful when creating complex characters.

To begin, select the Blob Brush tool from the toolbar (or press Shift + B). Then, using your Apple Pencil (or your mouse or trackpad), start to draw your characters onto your template. If you're using an iPad and AstroPad, you can draw directly onto your iPad screen as if you were drawing on paper.

Remember, the beauty of a handwritten font lies in its imperfections. Don't worry about making your characters too perfect. Instead, focus on giving them a natural, hand-drawn feel. This is your font, so let your personal style shine through!

Next up, we'll dive into some tips and techniques to help you maintain consistency and efficiency in your font creation process. Let's keep going!

Drawing the Font

Drawing your own font can be an exciting and creative process. I love using the Apple Pencil along with my iPad, it really brings your unique handwriting style to life on the digital canvas. As you trace over the template you've created for your font, remember that the aim here is not perfection. Rather, you're going for a more natural, handwritten look.

Take your time as you trace over the font template. The pace at which you draw can influence the style of your font. Whether you draw quickly to create a more casual look or take your time for a more deliberate style is entirely up to you. As you draw, make adjustments as needed to achieve the look you're going for.

Tips for Consistency and Efficiency

Creating a custom font can be a time-consuming process, especially if you're creating a large number of characters. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks that can help speed up the process and ensure a consistent look across your font.

One such tip is to use the 'alt' key to copy similar shapes. This means that instead of having to redraw the same shape multiple times, you can simply copy and paste it. This not only saves time but also helps to maintain consistency across similar characters.

Even though you're aiming for a handwritten look, it's still important to maintain some level of consistency in your font. This doesn't mean every character has to look identical. Instead, aim for a cohesive look where each character looks like it belongs in the same font family.

One useful technique for maintaining consistency is to transform and reflect your drawn elements to create copies. For example, once you've drawn one bracket, you can simply copy it, reflect it, and you have the other bracket.

Creating All Necessary Characters

Once you've mastered the basics of drawing your characters, it's time to move on to creating a full set of characters for your font. This typically includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Depending on how extensive you want your font to be, you could also include special characters and symbols.

The template used in this tutorial includes a total of 918 characters, which covers pretty much every character you might need in a font. However, for the purpose of this tutorial, we'll focus on creating the most basic characters and symbols. This includes the 26 uppercase and 26 lowercase letters of the English alphabet, the numbers 0-9, and common punctuation marks.

Introduction to Fontself Maker

As you work on your characters, it's a good time to introduce the tool that will bring your font to life: Fontself Maker. Fontself Maker is a fantastic extension for Adobe Illustrator that makes the process of creating fonts straightforward and intuitive. This extension allows you to simply drag and drop your characters into the Fontself Maker window to create your font. You can easily adjust the spacing and kerning of your characters, and even create color fonts. Fontself Maker is an additional purchase and does not come included with Adobe Illustrator. It's a one-time purchase that you can use either with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Grouping Characters

Once you've drawn all your characters, the next step is to group any characters that consist of more than one shape. For example, characters like the exclamation mark and question mark are usually made up of two shapes that need to be grouped together. By grouping these shapes together, you ensure that they move and remain together as one unit when importing into Fontself Maker to create your font.

Creating the Font in Fontself Maker

With your characters drawn and ready to go, it's time to start creating your font in Fontself Maker. This part of the process is where you'll see your individual characters come together to form a cohesive font.

To begin, create a new font in Fontself Maker. Then, select all of your numbers and drag and drop them onto the corresponding space in the Fontself Maker window. Repeat this process with your lowercase and uppercase letters, ensuring each character is dropped onto its matching space.

This process is intuitive and straightforward. By dragging and dropping your characters into Fontself Maker, you'll quickly see your font taking shape.

Adding Symbols to the Font

Next, it's time to add symbols to your font. Symbols are an integral part of any font, as they allow you to add punctuation and special characters to your text.

To add symbols to your font, use the batch creation feature in Fontself Maker. This feature allows you to add multiple symbols to your font at once, saving you time and effort.

To do this, you can use a program like Notepad to replace the space between each symbol with a comma. Then, paste in the symbols separated by a comma into the text box, making sure that you have them selected on your artboard and press 'Create' in Fontself Maker. Repeat this step for all the symbols you want to include in your font.

Saving the Font

With all your characters and symbols created, the final step in Fontself Maker is to save your font. By saving your font, you're creating a file that can be installed and used on your computer, just like any other font.

To save your font, simply select 'Save' in Fontself Maker and choose a location on your computer to save the file. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll save the font to the downloads folder but you can save it wherever you want your fonts to be located.

Installing the Font

You've done the hard work of creating your font, and now it's time to bring it to life on your computer. Installing your font is a straightforward process and once completed, your font will be available for use in all your applications just like any other font.

To install your font, navigate to the location where you saved your font file. The file will have a .otf or .ttf extension, depending on the format you chose when saving your font in Fontself Maker. Right-click the file and select 'Install'. Your computer will automatically install the font and it will become available in all your applications' font menus.

If you're using an iPad, you can also install your font directly onto your device using an app like ifont. This allows you to use your font in compatible applications, adding a personal touch to your documents and designs.

Using the Font

With your font installed, you're now ready to start using it to type in your unique handwritten style. Open up any application that uses fonts, such as Word, Photoshop, or Illustrator, and you'll find your font listed in the font menu. Select your font, and start typing.

The beauty of creating your own font is that you can use it in any situation where you would use a standard font. From designing logos to creating invitations, the possibilities are endless. Your font is a reflection of your personal style and creativity, and it can add a unique touch to your projects.


Congratulations! You've successfully created a custom handwritten font using Adobe Illustrator and Fontself Maker. This process may seem complex at first, but with practice, you'll find that it becomes more intuitive. Remember, the key to a great handwritten font is to let your personal style shine through. Don't strive for perfection, but rather embrace the unique quirks and characteristics of your handwriting.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful in creating your own handwritten font. If you have any questions or need further clarification on any of the steps, please feel free to use the chat box to reach out. Thank you so much for joining us on this creative journey, and we can't wait to see the unique fonts you create!