Traditionally, the only real route to success in type design was through Fontlab Studio ($674) or Fontographer ($409). Fontlab, which holds an almost Adobe-like monopoly on font design, also offers TypeTool ($100), but none of these applications feel anywhere near as sleek or accessible as Glyphs Mini, which only sells in the App Store for $45.
The Glyphs Mini interface revolves around one native OS X-styled window and a Pallet toolbar, with different viewing categories (numbers, letters, punctuation, etc.) navigable via the sidebar on the left.
To get started, all you need to do is import a pre-existing font or start a new font from scratch. The design process works glyph by glyph, and each one you select opens up in a new tab like a Web browser.
The editing tools, which are always shown in the top-center of the main window, are sophisticated enough that there is a basic learning curve involved, but it shouldn’t be too difficult for beginners to get the hang of it pretty quickly– especially if you have experience with Adobe Illustrator or other vector drawing programs.
Overall, this is one of the best ways for an inexperienced designer to get started. Type design is a very intense pursuit, involving years and years of commitment. Often sites like Dafont (which I love) don’t do the job justice.
If you’re interested in taking on the challenge or have just always wanted to make your own font, this app is exactly what you need. Plus, you can always update to the pro version (students get 50% off on that) and your skills will transfer accordingly.
➤ Glyphs Mini, via the App Store ($45)