ave you ever had that feeling, constant and overwhelming, that someone has been somewhere before you and thought about everything you might need, and seen that it's there and that it works. Your mother maybe did it sometimes, if you're lucky, your lover too maybe. When I experience it, it makes me cry. There are a few software programmes that have done it: ClarisWorks 4, InDesign and Final Cut Pro; and now the suite of FontLab and ScanFont have done it too.

Fontographer itself lay undeveloped for nearly ten years until the FontLab people bought it up and revamped it to work under Mac OS X, and if it does what you want that's great.

Stas - Sasha P - Alex S - Cyril - Yuri - Oleg

In the meantime Yuri Yarmola and his extraordinary team in St. Petersburg had produced a suite of alternatives under the flagship name 'FontLab', now marketed under the leadership of Ted Harrison and with guru Adam Twardoch answering for support and marketing and contact with the world and vision and goodness-knows what else.

I first went to explore what they'd done with Fontographer, and concluded that I was as well off using my old version under the Mac Classic OS: but then my attention was caught by the alternatives - FontLab, TypeTool and ScanFont - and after a week found that I couldn't live without them, they're a reason for waking up in the morning, they're so empowering that I get new ideas for fonts all the time and simply couldn't wait to get my hands on them.

Of course, this is the real world, you don't love everything your mother or your lover does: but these few minor 'cons' feel OK because it's evident that the FontLab team is genuinely open to suggestions for making things better, and constantly working on doing just that.

Other reviewers have commented on the price tags, and I can share that reaction: but then, you *are* paying for quality. And getting it. There are consumer versions at prices which don't involve making a budget and saving up; unfortunately, although I'm don't make real money from my media work, as a creative artist I find the various consumer-level alternatives of the (iBook, iMac, iMovie, Express, iPhoto etc.) simply frustrating: that's a stumper. But for anyone who qualifies for educational pricing, it all becomes affordable.

Calligrapher and designer Richard Bradley writes:

I really do rejoice in your very good experiences with the Font Software folk.

Could you please share with them how apparently easy it was for us to produce Ricks Relaxed Italic?

  1. I sat and wrote for an hour or so.
  2. Scanned then sent to you.
  3. Received and worked on for about 90 mins in FontLab or similar by yourself.
  4. Then having a sound model for a working font ready to use and allowing more refining and polishing for production.
  5. Surely not possible without calligrapher, font creator, and excellent working software all working together.
I find that quite exciting and creative to be able just to write and then move on so relatively easily to type. It would be good for them to know this as we have already done it between us!