- 1. What is a font?
- 2. What are they for and who can use them?
- 3. What am I downloading?
- 4. How do I install a font?
- 5. How do I remove a font?
- 6. What's with Font Bros?
- 7. How do I pay you for your $5 fonts?
- 8. Do I own the font? How may I use it?
- 9. What font formats are available?
- 10. How do I access international characters, etc?
- 11. How do you make fonts?
- 12. What do you mean by 'original?'
- 13. Where do you get your ideas?
- 14. Who are you and why do you do this?
- 15. How can I get a font made?
- 16. How do I use color with fonts?
- 17. How can I learn more about typography?
- 18. What fonts are used on your site?
What is a font?
A font is a particular style of printed lettering, also known as a typeface. The specific meaning of the term has evolved since the days of metal type, sometimes including or excluding different sizes; weights (light, bold); and styles (roman, italics, small caps). Of course what we have here are computer fonts. Such a font is small piece of software that creates, on screen and in print output, lettering of a particular design. The fonts are fully scalable and many come with companion fonts of related styles. A font can contain symbols and pictures along with letterforms.
What are they for and who can use them?
Anyone with a computer–Mac or Windows–can use my fonts. You don’t need special programs or purposes; after properly installed, the fonts will appear in your fonts menu and can be selected and used as any other font. The fonts can also be used for anything from enlivening word-processing documents to creating high quality print and web graphics. People also use them on embroidery and engraving equipment that uses TrueType fonts.
What am I downloading?
Click on the link to download the font you want, copying it from my server to your computer. (Take note of where your downloaded files go so you can find them to work with them!) The compressed file contains the fonts and a Read Me file.
How do I install a font?
To use a font, you must install it. It’s easy; just Google “Install fonts in [my operating system.] The next time you launch a program it will appear in the font menu.
How do I remove a font?
Now why would you want to do that? :-) To remove, check the link above.
What's with Font Bros?
I have turned the sales and licensing of many of my most popular fonts over to Font Bros. They are able to offer purchasing services and technical support that I never could. And I’m enjoying some success from my creative work. Please visit their site for the full selection and to start shopping.
How do I pay you for your $5 fonts?
Please visit this page for instructions.
Do I own the font? How may I use it?
What font formats are available?
At this time, my free fonts are only available in TrueType format. Other fonts are available in TrueType or Type 1. OpenType fonts are available from Font Bros.
How do I access international characters, etc?
In addition to the letters, numbers, and other things you see plainly on your keyboard, most fonts contain other characters that are “hidden” and must be accessed another way. These include bullets, long dashes, currency signs, degrees, plus accented letters and other useful and unexpected goodies. Most of my fonts contain full punctuation and accented letters for the languages listed below, but email me at if you want to know about a specific font’s contents. I like to get it right and will try to modify a font to meet your needs on request.
How do you make fonts?
Since you asked, it’s a process of drawing, compiling, and refining. The drawing part is first a drawing together of ideas and resources. Then a literal drawing, sometimes made on paper, other times made directly at the computer, where I use photo and drawing software. Each character in a font is simply outlines (also called vectors or paths) which are either filled (black) or unfilled (white). I compile these outlines in Fontographer and FontLab Studio where I also tinker with the weight, proportion, spacing, and kerning of each character and of the font as a whole.
What do you mean by 'original?'
I advertise my computer fonts as “original” because I make all the digital fonts myself by hand. Throughout my website and other materials, I am quite clear about the inspirations for my fonts, which may be the earlier creations of others. To me, this sort of “learned borrowing” is an important aspect of the history and practice of art. It is not my intention to rip-off the work of any individual or company; I put my own stamp on my work and fully acknowledge the artists and designers in whose shadows I stand.
Where do you get your ideas?
…Which is the same as the preceding question but with a less defensive answer :-) Like many artists, my greatest inspiration is the art that came before. I look at type everywhere I can find it–books, magazines, flea markets, online–and collect examples which I study, imagine, and draw. I include the stories behind each font’s inspiration.
Who are you and why do you do this?
I’m an artist who can’t stop making stuff. I distribute my fonts online because I like knowing that they are out there being used. I enjoy the notes and examples of my fonts in action that people send me and I answer all my e-mail. I appreciate the money I receive because it is an encouragement to keep playing. As a professor, I enjoy gathering and sharing information.
How can I get a font made?
You can hire me to make a custom font (letters and/or symbols) for your company’s distinctive needs. (I have made a number of fonts for special projects.) If you’ve found an interesting candidate for revival, and want to share a scan with me, send it along; a couple of my fonts started with such suggestions.
How do I use color with fonts?
Color is not a property of the font, but is chosen in the program in which you are using it. Even in word-processing programs you can avoid the default color black. The details vary but first you select the text, then you select its color. You can make each letter a different color, but you are limited to one color per letter. If you want to work with textures, shadows, outlines, gradients and other color effects, you’ll need some kind of image program.
Another way to include multiple colors within letters is to use a font such as my versions of Bifur or Le Film. Such fonts include multiple fonts, each containing different aspects of each letter. In a program that allows layering, such as Adobe InDesign, create a bit of your text in one of the component fonts and color it. Position a copy of that text directly over the first, then change it to the other component font and change the color. You can experiment with the order of the layers and the colors or percentages, but if you change the text you must do so in all layers for proper alignment.
How can I learn more about typography?
Here are some typography books (in no order) that I especially like and refer to again and again.
- 20th Century Type (and 20th Century Type Remix), Lewis Blackwell. Beautiful coffee-table type books with fine illustrations and a useful history.
- Solotype Catalog (and all the “100 Alphabets” collections), Dan X. Solo. From Dover, a wonderful series of eye candy for the font lover. Enough content that you can discover something new every time you open the book.
- Dimensional Typography, J. Abbott Miller. An attractive, thoughtful and imaginative little book about the title topic.
- The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography, Ruari McLean. A good introduction to the history and issues of typography.
- Typology: Type Design from the Victorian Era to the Digital Age, Steven Heller & Louise Fili. A most attractive survey of typography, chosen by expert eyes. The authors’ series of Deco Type books are little gems.
- Blackletter: Type and National Identity, Peter Bain & Paul Shaw, Eds. A fascinating study of fraktur types, their history and meaning.
- The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst The authoritative guide to excruciatingly correct typography, and a wealth of information.
- Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how type works, Erik Spiekeman & E.M. Ginger. The most extreme relationship of bad title and good book I’ve ever read! A great guide to contemporary practice with something for everyone.
- Anatomy of a Typeface, Alexander Lawson. Each chapter looks at the history of a particular of font, style, or designer. A good read.
- 130 Alphabets & Other Signs, Julian Rothenstein & Mel Gooding, Eds. A treasure trove of historic typographic design.
- Typographia polyglotta: A comparative study in multilingual typesetting, George Sadek & Maxim Zhukov. Great examples of how a text looks in 23 languages encompassing 10 world scripts.
- Love and Joy about Letters, Ben Shahn. A artist’s book and memoir.
- Alphabet: The History, Evolution, and Design of the Letters We Use Today. The history of each letter, and comparisons of the many forms each takes in type.
- An Alphabet Abecedarium: Some Notes on Letters, Richard A. Firmage. Letter by letter, a compendium of alphabet lore.
- The Complete Typographer: A Manual for Designing with Type, Christopher Perfect. Includes a most useful directory of fonts with characteristics, comparisons, and example of use.
What fonts are used on your site?
The logo for “Harold’s Fonts” is in Wexley. All other text on the site is Source Sans Pro.