A Simple Web App That Makes Designing Your Own Font A Cinch

Think you’ve got what it takes to design the next Helvetica? Prove it with this app.

Designing a typeface is an equal mixture of art and science. But what if you take the art out of the equation, and just leave the (computer) science? Metaflop is a new online playground for font creation that lets you create your own custom fonts just by playing with a few sliders.


Created by Swiss designers Marco Müller and Alexis Reigel, Metaflop isn’t just an easy online tool for creating simple typefaces, it’s also a great tutorial on a lot of the terminology of type design. If you’ve ever read about typeface terms like ascenders, cap heights, overshoot, descenders, and contrasts, there’s no better way to figure out what these terms mean than by using a slider to change their variables and see how it changes a typeface in real time.

Once you’ve designed a typeface using Metaflop, you can easily download it to your computer as a standard .otf file, which you can use apps (like Photoshop) or on the web. If you don’t want to bother with making your own font, you can also just download preset ones from Metaflop’s library of so-called Metafonts.

There’s some interesting variations that can be created using Metaflop’s tool. Some of the fonts look so left field, you’d never think just looking at them that they had both been designed algorithmically from a base font. Never the less, chances are, no matter how you adjust Metaflop’s sliders, you’ll never end up with something as classic as Helvetica, Futura, or Zapfino: although Metaflop can automate a lot of the drudgery of font creation, it can’t emulate the custom ligatures and small, barely expressible human touches that make a typeface truly classic.

On their part, Müller and Reigel seem comfortable with that. “We are aware that it is difficult to produce subtle and refined typographical fonts (in the classical meaning),” the designers told Rob Alderson at It’s Nice That. “Nevertheless we believe there is a undeniable quality in parametric font design and we try to bring it closer to the world of the designers.”

You can design your own custom flop using Metaflop by clicking here.

[via: It’s Nice That]