Back in 1999 when you were working on your Angelfire homepage and waiting for your My Excite homepage to load, if I were to tell you the idea behind this service, you’d laugh in absolute ridicule and question the need for it to be a web service, let alone exist for the everyday user. Today, it’s possible and it works. It’s FontStruct, a new service that lets you create and share your own fonts (literally) using its Flash-based builder tool.
Font builder tools have of course, and obviously, been around since the personal computer has existed, but this is the first time I have seen the idea ported over to the web. The way it works is simple — signup, name your font, and go through each letter to build it using their tools.
The service gives you a number of ordinary and useful tools such as a pencil, eraser, rectangle, and select, but where it shines is with its font-specific options. This includes one for diagonal lines, and various other ‘bricks’ for rounded corners, circles and such.
Once you are done with designing the font, there are several things you can do with it. You can preview it, save it, download it as a standard TrueType font, clone it, embed it into web space elsewhere, or delete it. You can also change its sharing features to make it publicly accessible and listed in their very impressive gallery.
I’ve only ever had an interest in typography from the designer-consumer aspect and never from actually designing the actual font, as I’m sure would be the case with most Fontstruct users, and the tools they present are helpful and give a good background when it comes to making your own font. Moreover, to the average 1999 Internet user, it’d probably be clear as to why the service is web based when it could be a simple .NET app: sharing, community, collaboration. These are elements the typeface industry always carried, and FontStruct just brings it all together.