Brick by Brick, the FontStruct Blog

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Posts filed under “News”

Competition: Love

love-competition

FontStructions featured in image: Floral Plethora by laynecomMelitta by beateheart by LingoLinda and Fs Flower Shop by Umbreon126

Happy new year FontStructors!

As promised in our last post, we’re starting the new year with a new competition, this time with an amorous theme in time for Valentine’s day.

For the new FontStruct competition we’d like you to design a FontStruction on the theme of “Love”. You can interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like, as long as you can somehow relate it to the word “Love”. You could explore the iconography of love, design the perfect modular font for a Valentine’s card, or explore an associated abstraction (peace, friendship, animosity …). You can be literal, but don’t need to be. Keep it decent though please!

Remember to tag your entry with “Lovecomp” before the 6th of February and don’t forget to upload a sample image.

Before starting, please read the rules below carefully, even if you are a frequent FontStructor.

Competition Time Period

Wednesday, Thursday 7th 2016 – February 6th, 2016

Competition Rules

  1. You must be a registered FontStruct user.
  2. Your submission(s) must be posted and made “public” between 7th January and 6th February 2016. Although you are encouraged to share your submission(s) at any time between these dates, your FontStruction submission(s) must be public (marked “share with everyone”) no later than February 6th at 11pm PST. Additionally, your submission(s) must remain public until February 14th 2016 in order to give the judges enough time to review all qualifying entries.
  3. Your submission(s) must be tagged with a “Lovecomp” tag. (For fairness, during the competition time period, no FontStruction with the “Lovecomp” tag will be awarded a Top Pick.)
  4. Your submission(s) must be downloadable. If your FontStruction cannot be downloaded, the submission will be disqualified.
  5. Your submission must be a newly published FontStruction. Simply adding the “Lovecomp” tag to an already published font is not allowed.
  6. For each submission, you must post at least one sample image in the comments of the FontStruction.
  7. No letters in each submission can be MORE THAN 48 bricks high.
  8. FontStruct cloning is permitted but the judges will be looking for original work.
  9. You may enter up to three FontStructions to the competition.
  10. This is a friendly competition. Cheering, favoriting and fun banter is encouraged but cruel and uncivil behavior will not be tolerated.
  11. No rules regarding licensing. You may choose any license you like for your FontStruction.

Judging and announcing the winners

All qualifying FontStructions will by judged by the FontStruct staff and guest judges, February 6th–11th. Three prizewinners will be chosen. One of these will be the FontStructors’ Favorite. Winners will be announced in a FontStruct Blog post on February 12th.

Prizes

Each winner can choose either a) a t-shirt printed with a FontStruction glyph of their choice OR b) a signed and numbered copy of the FontStruct poster

FontStructors’ Favorite

The valid entry with the greatest number of legitimate favorites at 11pm PST on February 11th, 2016 will be one of the three prizewinners.

Questions?

If you have questions just add them as comments to this post.

May the best FontStruction win.

 

Happy Holidays 2015

Dear FontStructors,

Thank you all for another wonderful year of FontStructing.

Happy Holidays 2015

▲ Fontstructions used: Ugly Sweater by LexKominek, AT Casterly Rock by architaraz, fs accordian by ETHproductions, and firiations and brickface both by four.

A lot has changed over the year on FontStruct.com with an overhaul of most of the pages on the site including the Gallery pages, the My FontStruct pages, and the FontStruction home pages. We also recently gave FontStruct a real search engine for the first time, making our searches many times faster and more accurate than before. FontStruct was first launched over 7 years ago and much of our existing code was outdated and hindering attempts at improvement, so many of the changes that have appeared on the site this year are really just the starting points for, hopefully, many more enhancements in the years to come. Our focus on updating the site in 2015 has, unfortunately, meant no competitions this year. That will change in the first quarter of 2016.

The next big change on the site will be the development of a new HTML5 version of the FontStructor itself. This is also planned for 2016.

Great News!

One final  piece of great news to end the year with is that our generous sponsors FontShop have agreed to continue their sponsorship deal for 2016. Thank you FontShop!

Happy Holidays to everyone and see you in 2016!

PS: You’ll find a few new, vaguely-festive bricks at the bottom of the brick palette in the FontStructor.

 

New FontStruction home pages

This week we updated the FontStruction homepages.

New FontStruction homepage

Aside from aligning these pages with the look and feel of the other, newer pages on the site, there are a number of improvements:

  • These pages are all about showing off the quality of your work, so the sample at the top of the page is much larger and has more room to breathe than before.
  • We’ve replaced our old flash widget with an “HTML5” one. This means that the widget will work on more devices, now and in the future. It represents a significant step towards getting rid of flash completely from the site. For me, this is a promising prelude to replacing the FontStructor editor itself with an HTML5 version. You can also now access a few more predefined samples from the widget menu: French, German and Latin (“Lorem Ipsum …”).
  • Rating and tagging should be more comfortable and work in the same way as they do elsewhere on the site. Editing the name or description for your FontStructions should also now be easier – just click on what you want to edit, and start typing.
  • You can also now upload larger samples (up to 700 pixel wide) to better show samples of your work, and we’ve added a WYSIWYG editor for comments – so no need to fumble around with HTML tags anymore.

Whoops!

This week’s update came with its fair share of bugs and initially made FontStruct.com very slow.  We hope that most of the biggest bugs have been fixed, and we’ve spent the week optimising our code so everything should be running smoothly now. Thanks to everyone who pointed out the bugs. Keep those bug reports coming.

Advanced options

There are a couple of  “advanced” options hidden away behind the cog on the right underneath the widget. If you’re being annoyed by spam or annoying comments on an old FontStruction, you can now close comments for that page. I don’t really want to encourage people to do this, as we like to encourage debate and discussion, but occasionally it may be useful.

You can also now turn off a hidden, default setting which optimizes downloaded fonts for use as pixel fonts in Flash. This setting is a relic from a bygone era. It’s still the default setting when you create a new FontStruction, but we will be changing that soon. I’m pretty sure there are very, very few people who still need this optimization, and turning it off may improve the quality of the downloaded font, in particular the “vertical metrics”  (line height).

Happy FontStructing!

 

My FontStruct updated

We updated the “My FontStruct” pages today to use the same layout and technology as the redesigned Gallery pages introduced earlier in the year. Sign in and take a look!

new-my-fontstruct

Improved Tagging and Search

You can now quickly and easily edit tags directly on the “My Fontstructions” and “My Favorites” pages.

new-my-fontstruct-tagging

In the new “My FontStruct” you can also sort, filter and search using tags or keywords within your own FontStructions or Favorites, just as you can in the Gallery. We plan to add a public/private filter soon so you can quickly view just the work you’ve released or just the FontStructions you’re working on in secret.

The list of tags at the top of user pages has gone; instead you can use the search box to quickly jump to a tag.

Other improvements

We overhauled the entire “My FontStruct” area – not just the FontStruction listing pages, and added a number of small improvements. For example, there’s a WYSIWYG editor on the profile editing page now – making it easier to add simple HTML to your profile.

What’s next?

The old style gallery pages with flash widgets have gone completely from the site now. Next up for an overhaul are (probably) the FontStruction home pages.

Let us know if you have problems with this update in the comments or via the contact page. Thanks!

 

Happy 7th Birthday FontStruct

sevens-detail

Click the image to see 256 choice “seven” glyphs from the past seven years.

Dear FontStructors,

FontStruct was launched to the public on the first of April 2008.

1,047,435 users, 933,072 font designs and 1,286,686 downloads later we now have a public gallery showing 37,391 FontStructions. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who’s contributed over the past seven years. Extra special thanks as always to our main sponsor FontShop whose support continues to make all of this possible.

The FontStruct community has built a magnificent archive of modular typefaces over the past seven years and it deserves a fitting showcase, so today we’re launching an enhanced version of the gallery pages to make them faster to load, easier to use, and hopefully more attractive.

new-gallery-detail

Too wide to illustrate in this slim blog layout!

The biggest change is a new, wider layout with much larger image previews of the FontStructions themselves.

autocomplete-detail

The new search box suggests tags and offers direct links to matching FontStructions.

As you can see, we’ve added support for search suggestions. We’ve also tried to optimise the metadata (the information shown on the right next to each FontStruction), so for example we’re now showing license information in the gallery for the first time.

The new large previews are drawn by a new piece of software called the FontStruct Renderer. You’ll notice that they’re darker and “heavier” than the old previews. We’ll continue to optimise and improve the new renderer but it gives us much more flexibility in how we preview FontStructions, and it allows us to stop using Adobe Flash on Gallery pages. We hope to stop using Flash anywhere on the site eventually (yes even for the FontStructor).

We will also continue overhauling other parts of the website. “My FontStruct” font listings and Favorites are very similar to the main Gallery pages, so they are likely to be next in line for an update.

Please let us know what you think about the new Gallery by commenting on this post.

Thanks for reading and happy FontStructing!

 

 

 

New Servers

new-servers-2015

We updated the FontStruct servers today. There should be no changes to the way the site works, but hopefully pages will load a little faster than they have done in the past.

If you notice anything strange, let us know, either via the contact page or by commenting on this post.

Thanks and Happy FontStructing!

Rob

(FontStruction credits – FontCity by minidonut and Comfutur by Yautja)

BTW If anyone has any ideas for the next competition, please share them in the comments too.

Happy Holidays 2014

happy-holidays

Dear FontStructors,

Thanks to all of you who have built, discussed, shared and downloaded on FontStruct this year. It’s been another fantastic year on the grid with the two competitions, “Inline” and “Game” as a couple of the biggest highlights.

A special end-of-year thanks to our main and founding sponsor FontShop who continued to support the site and keep our services free in 2014. FontShop have also already committed to keeping the bricks piled high through 2015. Thank you FontShop! In case you haven’t noticed, they launched their amazing next generation site this month. Even if you’re not looking to purchase a font right now, it’s a must-see if you have any interest in typography and design.

We’d also like to thank GlyphsApp who continue to sponsor support for the Glyphs export feature, allowing users to easily transfer their designs to the leading desktop font editor (Mac only). In Glyphs you can do the kind of detailed editing and tweaking of your fonts that FontStruct itself is not yet capable of.

As a small seasonal gift to FontStructors we’re releasing a new set of bricks today – a kind of fin/thorn shape which has been requested several times in the unofficial forum:

thorn-bricks

I’m looking forward to 2015 when we hope to gradually introduce more substantial improvements to the site and the editor.

Until then, Happy Holidays everyone!

 

 

 

Game Competition: The High Scores Table

Game Over

Another fantastic competition draws to a celebratory close. Thanks to everyone who took part.

The standard of entries was, as always, extremely high, and the FontStructing community again flaunted their seemingly endless ingenuity and range of imagination. Some entries were genuinely playable as puzzles or games in themselves, while others were designed with real and complex game scenarios in mind. Never before have the FontStruction descriptions been as detailed and interesting as they were for this competition. The affinity between playful, puzzling minds and FontStructing is apparently a deep and intimate one.

The four judges, each asked to name their three favourites, came up with nine different winning candidates, as well as three runners-up. So it was a very close run thing with a great gaggle* of brick-laden runners dipping into the winning frame. (*Collective noun for FontStructors anyone?)

Fortunately there was one clear winner – both the “FontStructor’s Favourite” and a choice of a majority of the judges: Wrath of Mordor by Frodo7.

Wrath of Mordor

Indie game legend and guest judge Shaun Inman found the design “definitely evocative of its inspiration”. Frodo7 himself wrote:

This is my endeavour to make a spiky blackletter in Szpajdel’s black metal style that evokes the terror of Mordor at pixel level

You succeeded. Congratulations Frodo7!

The second prizewinning entry was the ingenious AT Sudoku by Zhalgas Kassymkulov which turned multiple, mind-bending puzzles into a well-designed and genuinely legible font (Sample shows the variation AT Sudoku+).

AT Sudoku+

As Goatmeal wrote:

Add the requisite Latin squares to your printout, and you have 55 different games in a single typeface.

Congratulations Zhalgas!

Last but not least, the judges chose Stepwyze by geneus1 as a prizewinner. As so often in the past, geneus1 had several strong entries. Stepwyze won over a number of other high-quality platform/level oriented FontStructions with it’s mature design, attention to detail and integrated gaming concept:

Try not to stumble over your words as you go about your business and time flies by. Just like in real life.

Stepwyze

To my great surprise and delight, I noticed while writing this, that geneus’s playable prototyped version of the game for this font exists already!
Congratulations geneus1!

There are really just too many fine entries to mention them all in this post, but here’s a selection of other FontStructions which caught the judges eye:

Buzz Wire

Shaun Inman enjoyed Buzz Wire by ben17. “Unexpected meatspace inspiration. Legibility suffers for its inventiveness but I’d still play with it in a pediatrician’s waiting room.”

Pixel Spaceships

There were surprisingly few picture/icon fonts but Pixel Spaceships by escaphandro – a complete two-layered spritesheet –  missed out on a prize by a subpixel’s whisker.

Retro Pixel

The entries from four caught the attention of several of the judges and Level Rebel was second in the race for the FontStructor’s favorite crown. Goatmeal liked this one: “Simple yet highly effective.  Would work great as a video game’s title screen or as the titles for each level.”. Shaun Inman also liked the unassuming but perfectly executed Retropixel (shown above)– “Marble meets LCD. Legible and handsome.”

En Word Puzzle

En Word Puzzle by naveenchandru was also the subject of praise, Shaun Inman writing “Font as playable game. Like Neven Mrgan’s Blackbar distilled into a typeface.”

Try Again by minidonut, Click Pop Beads by Aeolian, Zogg Domination by funk_king, Ray Type Alpha by geneus1 and AT Tactica by architaraz all also appeared on the judges’ scorecards.

Congratulations to everyone. Thank you all for taking part in the competition and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Prizewinners will be contacted shortly regarding their prizes.

Thank you Judges!

All our brick are belong to you. It takes quite a while to have a proper look at 45 entries and samples. Many thanks to our expert guest judges for kindly spending time with us.

Shaun Inman is a designer, developer, and composer. His myriad of projects and presences is well worth a deep trawl. Shaun uses FontStruct in his game development work, for example in Retro Game Crunch!

Stephen Coles is an editor and typographer living in Oakland and Berlin. After six years at FontShop as a creative director, he now publishes Fonts In Use and Typographicawrites for type foundries, and consults with various organizations on typeface selection.

Goatmeal has been creating, recreating and sharing game fonts since the very early days of our site. You can read more about him here, or just go straight to his amazing archive.

 

 

 

 

Competition: Game

game_comp_title

Since the early days of FontStruct in 2008, designers have used the Fontstructor editor to create fonts for games. Games designers have a special thirst for original typefaces to use in their interfaces and worlds. An appropriate typeface is central to defining the gaming experience and the branding of a game.

FontStruct is a great tool for realising games typefaces easily and, of course, for free. Modular, grid-based fonts typefaces are often a perfect fit for games especially where the pixel-graphic aesthetic remains important.

Fonts for games are seldom dull and conventional. They are often fun and expressive and sometimes, for example where conlangs come into play, they don’t need to worry as much about legibility as fonts intended for use in other media.

For the new FontStruct competition we’d like you to design an FontStruction on the theme of “Game”. You can interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like, as long as you can somehow relate it to the idea of a game or gameplay. You could create a font for an imaginary or existing game. Your font could be designed for text, pictograms or character sprites. The font itself could be a game! For this competition though, please no recreations of fonts or sprites from existing games.

Remember to tag your entry with “Gamecomp” before the 21st of November and don’t forget to upload a sample image.

Before starting, please read the rules below carefully, even if you are a frequent FontStructor.

Competition Time Period

Tuesday, October 28th 2014 – November 21st, 2014

Competition Rules

  1. You must be a registered FontStruct user.
  2. Your submission(s) must be posted and made “public” between October 28th – November 21st 2014. Although you are encouraged to share your submission(s) at any time between these dates, your FontStruction submission(s) must be public (marked “share with everyone”) no later then November 21st at 11pm PST. Additionally, your submission(s) must remain public until November 30th 2014 in order to give the judges enough time to review all qualifying entries.
  3. Your submission(s) must be tagged with a “Gamecomp” tag. (For fairness, during the competition time period, no FontStruction with the “Gamecomp” tag will be awarded a Top Pick or be available for a Featured FontStruction pick.)
  4. Your submission(s) must be downloadable. If your FontStruction cannot be downloaded, the submission will be disqualified.
  5. Your submission must be a newly published FontStruction. Simply adding the “Gamecomp” tag to an already published font is not allowed.
  6. For each submission, you must post at least one sample image in the comments of the FontStruction.
  7. No letters in each submission can be MORE THAN 48 bricks high.
  8. FontStruct cloning is permitted but the judges will be looking for original work.
  9. You may enter up to three FontStructions to the competition.
  10. This is a friendly competition. Cheering, favoriting and fun banter is encouraged but cruel and uncivil behavior will not be tolerated.
  11. No rules regarding licensing. You may choose any license you like for your FontStruction.

Judging and announcing the winners

All qualifying FontStructions will by judged by the FontStruct staff and guest judges, November 22nd–28th. Three prizewinners will be chosen. One of these will be the FontStructors’ Favorite. Winners will be announced in a FontStruct Blog post on December 2nd.

Prizes

Each winner will receive

In addition, all winners will have their winning FontStructions posted as Featured FontStructions for two weeks after the winners are announced.

FontStructors’ Favorite

The valid entry with the greatest number of legitimate favorites at 11pm PST on November 28th, 2014 will be one of the three prizewinners.

Spread the Word

Tell your friends. The button floating above every FontStruction is a really quick and easy way to point your friends and followers to your work. Maybe you can drum up some more  favorite s for your entry in that way, or entice some novice FontStructors into the game.

Questions?

If you have questions just add them as comments to this post.

Fontstructors, Game On!

Header Image, FontStruction Credits: “Yellow’s Foe” by wardaj, and “Medieval Pixel” and “Generic Video Game Font 01” both by Goatmeal.

 

Going off grid

nudged_random_A

Brick in a square, brick in a square, brick in a square … Until today this was the FontStructors’ collective mantra.

Now, with the introduction of “nudging”, you can push any selected bricks off their home grid squares – up to half a square in any direction. For now, these nudges are in quarter square increments.

There are menu commands for this (Menu > Modify > Nudge) which will become active once you’ve made a selection, but most people will probably find the keyboard shortcuts easier (hold  down shift and then use the arrow keys).

more_nudging

I think this will open up a whole new world of exciting possibilities for the endlessly inventive FontStruct community.

Solving the Macaroni Conundrum

Even before the launch of FontStruct I was aware of the limitations of shapes such as the “macaroni” bricks on the grid. When building with them, you are limited in the ways you can connect – you can only ever “turn” in one direction. Such bricks demand some freedom from the grid. Today, with the introduction of nudging, we liberate the macaroni.

nudged_macaroni_s

I think nudging will legitimate the addition of more new bricks with similar properties in the future.

Please Note

The feature is in “alpha” and is available in “Expert Mode” only.

Also, you cannot make composite bricks out of nudged components (or rather they won’t compose as you might hope).

Happy FontStructing!