Creating Custom Fonts

Fonts can be saved in different file formats: OTF, TTF and SVG (and some more).

With Inkscape, you can create SVG fonts. These fonts can later be converted to another font file format, and be used in a text editor or graphics program. There are also a few programs that support SVG fonts directly (Inkscape 0.92.x is not one of them. This is planned for version 1.0, though).

The letters, numbers and special characters a font consists of are called glyphs.

To create a custom SVG font:

  1. Open the typography template with File ‣ New from Template ‣ Typography Canvas.
  2. Open the Font Editor dialog from Text ‣ SVG Font Editor.
  3. In the column labelled Font, click on New to create a font. You can double-click on the generic name of the font to change it.
  4. Open the Layers dialog from Layer ‣ Layers.

Repeat the following for each glyph that you want to add to your font:

  1. In the Layers dialog, add a new layer by clicking on the ‘+’ icon. Name it after your letter. Select the layer in the dialog.
  2. Now, in the Font Editor, in the tab Glyphs, click on Add Glyph. Double-click on the Glyph name field to name your glyph, e.g. call it ‘Capital A’ or ‘Space’. In the Matching String field, enter the letter that it corresponds to.
  3. Draw the path for your glyph on the canvas.
  4. When you’re happy with your glyph, select it, and also select the corresponding row in the dialog, then click on Get curves from selection.

Tip

You can always test your font by typing a text into the field at the bottom of the SVG Font Editor dialog and looking at the preview above it.

Hint

You can use the little ‘eye’ icons in the Layers dialog to hide the layers with the glyphs that you have already finished. To protect the completed glyph layers from accidental changes, use the ‘lock’ icons.

When you are done, save the file as an Inkscape SVG (this is Inkscape’s standard file format).

Although this functionality is meant for typographers, amateurs, too, can quickly get a working result and test their work as they go.

When your font is finished, you can use a software like FontForge where you import your SVG font and can export it into different formats to be able to use it with other software.

Typography canvas

The typography template has just the right size for a single letter. It comes with a set of useful guides. On the right side, the letter ‘a’ has already been added to the SVG font.