I have searched high and low for a way to make pixel fonts, and let me tell you, it’s a cold, unpixelated world out there. People are making the tools, but they either aren’t meant for pixel fonts, or aren’t worth the price. So after searching for long time, here is everything I’ve learned.
The first pixel font creator is FontStruct. It is a free, easy to use, online font creator. With this tool you create your fonts out of blocks of all different shapes on a grid. The default shape is a square, which just happens to be what shape pixels are! How convenient!
The interface is easy to understand, and while it may not be as high powered as Photoshop, I think it will give you everything you need.
They support every character set you could imagine, and once you’re done, you can either publish it to their website or download the font as a .TTF TrueType Font file, and do whatever you want with it.
I created my pixel font called Renew using FontStruct a couple years ago, and it has fives of thousands of downloads. You could be famous like me!
Now the one tiny downside to FontStruct is that you need to sign up. If you are better than everyone, or that’s just too much for you, luckily this tool has you covered. Just click the link, and you’re making a font.
I’ll be honest, I kept looking, but I couldn’t find any other good free pixel font makers. If you find a good one, leave me a comment!
Pixel Font Making Tips
While I’m giving you the tools you need to make pixel fonts, I may as well share some of the things I’ve learned while creating them.
Pixel Font Size
Almost all of your letters will be the same size, so your first step is to decide on the size of your pixel font. 3×4 is probably the smallest pixel font size there can be, but there’s hardly any room for variation, and is hard to manage. Most people start at 5 pixels tall, which gives you 3 1 pixel lines, 1 pixel apart (which you need to make the letter E).
You can play around with any different size you want, bigger means less pixelly, but you can be more creative. I would start in your preferred pixel editor and start by creating a few characters before deciding to make an actual font.
Usually once I get a style I like, I make a font template, which almost all letters can be derived from. It may be different for each font, but what works for me is an O with a line through the center (possibly what your 8 will look like). You can see how many letters can be derived by editing this simple template.
Let me just warn you, if you start making fonts, you will learn to hate the letters M, N and W. So if your name is Mawn, turn back before it’s too late. Usually with these letters, you will have to deviate from your pixel font template, so don’t be afraid to making some letters wider.
I think you’re ready to make your own pixelated font. So just open up your pixelling program and start playing around until you get a unique pixel font style. Or if you need some inspiration, there are plenty of places that offer free pixel font downloads, such as dafont.com and the Pentacom Gallery
Once you’ve got it figured out, turn it into a font using one of the tools above and share it with the world. If you found this helpful, or have any other tips to share, leave us a comment below!