The sign-up for FontStruct is pretty typical. Just create a user name and password for yourself, prove you’re a human and you’re in. The first thing you should do is locate the six gray informational tabs at the top of the graphic and choose the one that says Support. Once you roll your mouse over it you’ll see the option for Getting Started—that’s where you want to go.
Once you finish your font, you can download it and install it in your font library, you can publish it and share it with others, or you can keep it private. It’s also possible—indeed, acceptable—to look at and download other people’s fonts. They are published and downloadable from FontStruct under a Creative Commons license. So, even if you don’t design your own font while you’re here, you’ve certainly located another place to find great free fonts!
You might want to take a side trip to What Is FontStruct? You’ll read that this site has been set up by a font retailer, FontShop—a foray to their website passes some interesting time, but their fonts are not free.
Your first step is to click on the Character Selector—whenever you enter the FontStructor (sounds like a sequel to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, and by the way did you know Schwarzenegger is in my computer’s AutoCorrect?) the Character Selector is set at A. To your left you will see a pane displaying bricks with all kinds of designs on them, and you choose a brick by clicking on it; it will be highlighted. Then, to the right, you will see a palette of tools; choose one of them. You must place the brick on the grid against the red dot; it’s your base. Be certain to make your letter BIG, because once you've finished and you download your font, you'll be surprised at how small it is.
It’s so easy, it’s like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. On this image to the right you can see that all I need is the brick with the little piece filled in down in the left-hand corner. I can’t find it!
Well, that’s what I mean when I say that I’m not the most artistic person. You also have to be very careful to click your drawing tool in the right square; too many times I have clicked in the wrong square and erased a brick that took me quite some time to choose. But if you’re someone who sits down and sees shapes coming together out of those bricks, you have the potential to put together a lovely—or eccentric—or gothic—or whatever-you-like font.
A few questions—if you have more, you can undoubtedly find the answer in the generous FAQ. Yes, someone has made a font representative of his own handwriting. No, you cannot upload a font and work from it. Yes, you can make pixel fonts with scalable vector outlines.
One problem I had when I downloaded my font and installed it in my font library was the spacing. The FAQ tells me that kerning—the ability to adjust spacing between characters proportionally—is not yet well controlled. Still, as you can see by the image showing several proudly displayed creations, people are able to come up with some great font designs.