Frequently Asked Question - Which Font Editor is Best for Me?
Which Font Editor is Best for Me?
We get these questions all the time, of course. Why do you have three font editors? What's the difference between FontLab Studio and Fontographer? Which of these font editors is best for my kind of work? Let me give you the big picture first:
FontLab Studio is a tool designed for professional type designers. Its emphasis is on the technical details of digital type and getting everything just right so that a font made for commercial distribution will "just work" under any circumstances. It is used by virtually every major type designer in the world, including Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Linotype.
Fontographer is a font editor for graphic designers and publishers whose font editing needs fit into a production workflow. It's designed with speed and ease-of-use in mind. It doesn't have all the technological bells and whistles of FontLab Studio, but is more than adequate for creating and editing fonts for corporate work. Users include The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, Matthew Carter, and Publishers Clearing House.
TypeTool is an entry level font editor for students, beginners, hobbyists, and those whose work with fonts involves mainly editing glyphs. It has all the drawing tools of FontLab Studio, but lacks the high-end tech nitty-gritty stuff. Typical users are Supermassive Games Ltd., E.R. Perry Signs & Engraving, University of Washington, RED Interactive Agency and Amazon Corporate LLC.
If you are interested in a comparison of features we have a table HERE with all the details. But let me summarize. FontLab Studio has the ability to create and edit OpenType scripts; to run Python macros; to manually hint glyphs; and directly create OpenType Layout tables, among many other features. You can tell just by the names that these are not things your average graphic designer wants to get into. These are for the Pros. But if you want to produce commercially viable fonts or complex scripts like Arabic, Devanagari, or Thai they are essential.
Fontographer has built-in defaults for the most commonly used values of all the most important features. If you want to reach under the hood and get your hands dirty with the technical details you can do that to a certain extent. But the idea is that you don't need to. All choices are automated so you don't get bogged down in trying to decide things like code pages or naming schemes. Fewer routine decisions means less lost time and fewer mistakes; which equals faster throughput - important in a production environment. In short, you don't have to worry whether you forgot a detail or missed a spec. Fontographer's got your back.
We realize that not everybody wants to jump into the deep end of the pool with FontLab Studio or Fontographer. Lots of people just want to get their feet wet - putter around with their fonts; learn the basics of glyph design; maybe try out an idea or two. Others only want a short swim every once in a while - ad agencies, artists, newsletters, etc. who really only need to add a glyph or symbol to a font occasionally. For this group TypeTool is an excellent and inexpensive solution. You won't get all the super duper tech and production features of Fontographer or FontLab Studio, but it has all the drawing power you need for any kind of font. You can make anything from an accent to an ampersand to a complete Hebrew (Russian, Japanese, etc.) font.
Which one is best for you? As the lawyers say, "It all depends." Everybody has their own unique needs and desires. I hope we have provided enough variety that you can find an application that fits yours in our product line.