With YourFonts you can make a TrueType font from your own handwriting for free. The process is simple, quick and basically idiot-proof. Print out a template from the site, write in your letters, scan, upload and — voila — there you have it. If you’re a real fonthead, you might want more detail and control over the fonts you create. I remember even years ago seeing an ad in MacWorld for a “make your own handwriting font.” The template that software had was a lot more sophisticated, since it asked for examples of different letter combination as well as individual letters. The YourFonts template basically replicates the characters on a standard keyboard, with an optional extension to characters with accents/umlauts etc.
By far, this is the best, quickest, easiest and cheapest option I’ve found thus far. YourFonts offers proper font creation software that can be purchased at what seems to be fairly reasonable prices. But the free font creation tool is heaps of fun and available for use without any form of obligation. I’ve already gone back and improved my first efforts, opting to fiddle with character heights and positioning in GIMP a lot (see below). I’m now keen to create a couple more fonts for my fledgling web site. This is quite possibly the start of an addiction.
Here’s my somewhat egotistically-titled font “Shaw Hand” in various iterations. Being a bit anally retentive, I wanted to improve the uniformity a bit and improve the look of some characters. Because there’s no direct control over kerning, etc. the width of the character is important — nothing “tucks in” under/over adjacent characters. Note my somewhat idiosyncratic “g”, and how my initial “e,” “w” and “h” were a bit wide. I also found matching the template guides for height was important. Since it can be hard to achieve this on paper (despite practice!) I did the best I could and then — since the template is scanned as a .jpg, — I actually ended up using GIMP to do some editing, such as stretching individual characters vertically or horizontally, or making minor improvements to their shape. Below are just improvements on the one style. I haven’t even started to create a new style yet.