Royal Academy of Art’s Type Blog

Font Tools

A listing with (download) links of available tools for type design and font production categorized per operating system. Some of the tools can be downloaded directly from this site. Some of them are free, including full functional Open Source applications and Lite, i.e. partly restricted commercial ones. Also there are academic licenses available of some of the listed tools. All fonttools are briefly described. This information will be updated regularly, partly to answer questions raised by the LS students.



          Download LeMo version 6.9 for macOS (16.7 mb)
          Download LeMo version 6.9 for Windows 64-bit (17.6 mb)
          Download LeMo version 6.9 for Windows 32-bit (16.2 mb)
          Download LeMo version 6.9 for Linux (23.9 mb)

DTL LetterModeller (LeMo) is developed by Frank E. Blokland, Jürgen Willrodt, Hartmut Schwarz, and Axel Stoltenberg with the exploration and parameterization of (certain parts of) type design processes in mind. The application is the result of Frank E. Blokland’s PhD research at Leiden University on the (effects of) systematization, standardization, and unitization in the Renaissance font production. The ideas behind the application are based on Blokland’s educational program and typographical expertise as Senior Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague since 1987, and as Professor and Research Fellow at the Plantin Institute of Typography in Antwerp since 1995. The models can be used as a direct basis for type design, or supplementary to writing with the broad nib and the pointed pen and the subsequent letter drawing (and vice versa).



          macOS version 0.1.0 (62.5 mb)
          Windows version 0.1.0 (70 mb)

In 2014 kabk-LetterStudio student Gábor Kerekes programmed a small nifty tool in the context of Blokland’s 1001 ways to digitize type module, named GlyphCollector. The tool is meant for collecting multiple representations of glyphs from a scanned page, and for subsequently generating an average image. Although it was developed for macOS 9-10 the tool seems to work fine under the latest macOS versions still.

How does it work? One has to select one image of each character that has to be converted, and to save this to a folder. Next GlyphCollector will collect all characters for which it finds an image for reference and will put these per character in a folder. This makes it a great tool for researching historic prints. On top of that it optionally will generate average glyphs per character, based on all distilled variants. These glyphs can be used for further processing in, for example, an auto-tracing tool, as a starting point for the development of a revival.


         LS Cadencer and Cadenculator (trial versions)

          Download for Glyphs (36 kb)
          Download for RoboFont (16 kb)
          Manual PDF (2.2 mb)

The ls Cadencer and ls Cadenculator are (batch) auto-spacing tools written in Python, which can be used as extensions in the Glyphs and RoboFont font editors. The tools are developed by Lukas Schneider. The underlying principle and algorithm were developed by Blokland and find their origin in his PhD research at Leiden University on the (effects of) systematization, standardization, and unitization in the Renaissance font production.

The functionality in the trial versions is partly reduced. Basically one gets the same result for upper- and lowercase letters as with the full version, but three glyphs are not spaced and have to be adjusted manually.

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