Brick by Brick, the FontStruct Blog

New FontStruction home pages

News | | November 13th, 2015

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!

 


40 Comments

  1. Goatmeal

    @Meek – Rob, thank you for the on-going efforts to continuously improved the FontStruct experience.

    – Goatmeal — November 13, 2015 #

  2. Aeolien

    @ FS: Thank you for continually checking and improving FontStruct, it makes FS into something quite spectacular and complex, with great site comforts to encourage  learners like me and with advanced program features to keep even the most accomplished font creator on her/his toes.

    Thank you for all your thought and time to make FS such a marvellous place for creating, learning, and developing with a great group of font designers.

    Aeolien — November 13, 2015 #

  3. architaraz

    Thank you very much! Another special thanks for adding WYSIWYG!

    Some issues:

    1) Italic fontstructions preview cuts off letters, for example AT Quba.

    2) The zoomer, the preview size scroller minimizes not quite to the desired size, it stops at a significantly large preview size. You can get smaller preview if you click to pixel, but nothing in between. 

    architaraz — November 13, 2015 #

  4. thalamic

    Yes, the maturing of FontStruct is reassuring. It means things are not stagnant. Which shows a commitment to the project by all concerned and gives us hope to continue using it. Thank you to all who make that happen, especially Rob. Your efforts are greatly appreciated…daily, in my case.

    As for comments, I know that I have not been commenting for a while now mostly due to lack of time, but also due to not having meaningful discussions. When FontStruct started, everyone commented with their thoughts and judgements on what could be done to improve the shared font. Now it is mostly just “good work” and “thanks” type of comments. Although those comments are appreciated, but it does not lead to progress. This may be that all us old fontstructors have already had all the discussions we could possibly have had about the fonts, or it could be that we are now just lazy. Either way, I wish we could get back to discussing again. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if someone said they hated my font provided they also say what is hateful about it.

    thalamic — November 13, 2015 #

  5. Umbreon126

    Awesome :) It’s all great except for one question: Is the ability to edit comments gone? I can’t find any button for this.

    Umbreon126 — November 13, 2015 #

  6. Umbreon126

    Also, it seems that I am unable to load http://fontstruct.com/fontstructions/show/770608/fs_126sans_1 (poking around the Network tab in Firefox’s Inspector, it seems that trying to receive some resource “fontstruction.php” is greeted with a an HTTP Error 500 Internal Server Error, which doesn’t happen with other fonts)

    Umbreon126 — November 13, 2015 #

  7. Rob Meek (meek)

    Thanks for your feedback everyone! All extremely useful.

    @Umbreon126. The ability to edit comments isn’t there yet, but it will return. I’ll look into the issue with fs_126sans_1.
    @architaraz I’ll look into to these issues too.
    @thalamic I agree (sorry ;-). FontStruct needs to keep developing, and is doing so. As the site improves, hopefully people will find it easier to focus on the important things – their creations and the discussion of them. I’ll think about ways to encourage more discussion. BTW the appreciation is very much mutual!

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 14, 2015 #

  8. tishert

    quick unrelated question:

    Does anyone stream Fontstruct on Twitch? Or better yet is it ok to stream Fontstruct on the Creative Channel on Twitch.tv?

    – tishert — November 14, 2015 #

  9. Yautja

    Great news! And thanks for using my font for the example. :) I’ve noticed the same issues as architaraz (the preview cuts off letters behind the “left” line.)

    Yautja — November 14, 2015 #

  10. Rob Meek (meek)

    @tishert. Sounds like a really great idea.

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 14, 2015 #

  11. winty5

    Great news! Thanks, Mr.Meek!

    BTW, I am back, so you all can expect some new fonts from me soon.

    winty5 — November 14, 2015 #

  12. iFutureMix

    Thanks Meek for the improvements! Switching to HTML5 is certainly a great move, as I can now view people’s works on my mobile devices now.

    iFutureMix — November 14, 2015 #

  13. four

    Thanks meek, great work on the fresh new look of the fontstruction pages! The crisp big preview window is a huge improvement and the possibility to upload 700 px wide samples makes much better use of the screen.

    four — November 14, 2015 #

  14. p2pnut

    As always a massive THANK YOU to Rob and the team for their continual time, effort and commitment to FS. For me FS has become the standard by which I judge all other web experiences … and it is definitely the gold standard!

    p2pnut — November 16, 2015 #

  15. will.i.ૐ

    Great updates, Rob! Thanks you for your ongoing support and dedication to this unique digital creation tool and community. Been a while since I shared my thoughts, so please prepare yourself for a long post, and then a follow-up comment with a couple bug reports.

    I have pondered the twitch streaming idea for a few years. It might work well to gain exposure for fontstruct, and targets a theoretically receptive audience. Modular, geometric, or at least screen-based fonts are the bread-and-butter of video game typography, and not just pixel fonts. Twitch could be a useful platform for teaching and disseminating myriad fontstructing techniques, especially advanced ones. I think the activation energy would be significantly less than producing and publishing one’s own screencast tutorials. We enjoy here the closest thing to a minecraft of the font world, a little big planet of type design, and live casting would resolve some of the limitations in social interaction inherent in our beloved fontstruct.com. Fair warning: Parties from our pond interested in testing twitch.tv should brace themselves for the far rougher waters and trolling legion of the open interseas who openly pride themselves on nothing more than an abject lack of manners.

    None of us have really pursued youtube or vimeo either to share our modular font science with the world. What reasons do we have for not doing this? I would like to know from my fellow fontstructors. I have mulled over the contributing factors, which i imagine include:

    1) a lack of experience, a perceived lack of technical ability, or lack of interest in setting up a screencast;

    2) an incompatible personalities or disinterest in social media of this type and scale;

    3) a lack of energy toward scripting and editing videos and tutorials;

    4) similar to font design in general, the sense that while fontstructing can be immensely rewarding and occasionally expedient, it often involves interminable lengths of time fiddling with details that only really make sense in the context of the font design as a whole;

    5) those ephemeral magic moments of true creativity and innovation are either difficult to capture or explain;

    6) we fancy the thought that a fontstruction can speak for itself, that a really great solution is all but invisible to the layperson, and that a large part of the fun we have had together involves the riddle “how did s/he do that?”;

    7) a proprietary reservations about sharing the inner workings of our designs and/or design solutions.

    thalamic disclosed valid concerns as part of the ongoing “have we exhausted the fontstructor’s possibilities and/or ran out of interesting things to say about modular type?” Great comment. First, thank you for your honest and necessary critique. We do often pat each other on the back overmuch (perhaps to offset the bloodthirsty lack of kindness at the ready outside our virtual enclave). Insightful and unflinching creative critique is rarer still. It takes more energy and intelligence, and does speak to laziness in part, but also perhaps a slowly accumulated level of burnout in our community. Gladly, the structural refresh Rob has made to the site allows for the exploration and highlighting of our designs to breathe a bit more. May it reinspire us to push the envelope in polish and practice.

    Finally, I feel certain we have not nearly maxed-out any of the design spaces facilitated by the current fontstructor. The composite, the nudge, and the independent grid-scaling functions are far more powerful than we have yet realized in practice – and this is not to downplay the already impressive range of creative and effective uses offered up by certain dedicated users. Often in our quest for novelty and originality we choose not to tread the same ground. Yet these tools enable both sweeping and subtle improvements to most past designs. Refining beyond the “almost-there”ness of our past work may open the doors of perception and allow us to start again with a new vision of possibility. I guess this is where a host of effective advanced tutorials would be a particular godsend…

    Honored as always by those who took the time to take in and consider my thoughts. Cheers!

    will.i.ૐ — November 19, 2015 #

  16. will.i.ૐ

    Wow, an HTML5 preview widget! Fantastic, exciting stuff, Rob. Harbinger of good things still to come.

    Bug Reports:

     Currently, the rendering of each letter in the HTML5 widget seems to truncate bricks left of the left side bearing. This is problematic as we have long since placed bricks in that zone to force approximate kerning pairs.

    • In gallery views, the preview widget crops the bottom of fontstructions with y-scaling values above 1. I don’t know if this is consistent across the board, however you can see evidence of this in the first two fontstructions on my public page (http://fontstruct.com/fontstructors/192876/will_i)

    • I love the new WYSIWYG comment pane! In safari on my mac, when I press the return key, the text entry point teleports to the top of my drafted comment instead of continuing at the bottom with the new paragraph nonetheless created.

    Feature Request:

    • Please consider adding the following useful styling buttons: blockquote, underline, strikethrough.

    Thanks!

    will.i.ૐ — November 19, 2015 #

  17. Rob Meek (meek)

    @will.i.ૐ Thanks for the bug reports. I wasn’t aware of all of these issues, and your detailed descriptions are extremely useful. We’ll work on these ASAP. I will also consider more buttons for the comment box.
    I appreciate the call for FontStructors to revisit and improve older designs using some of the newer features on FontStruct. Very good point!

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 20, 2015 #

  18. architaraz

    @ will.i.ૐ

    Tutorials… Yeap, that’s smth that I wanted to make for a long time now, but in my case, the reasons why I haven’t made them yet are:

    1) a lack of experience, a perceived lack of technical ability…

    3) a lack of energy toward scripting and editing videos and tutorials.

    and of course, Time.

    It’s been maybe over a year since I published any work on myfonts, and have been since spending less time here in FS due to… Time. Job change over a year ago has certainly affected this hobby of mine. But with your continous support, I hope me and other FS-ers in similar situation will keep on fonstructing. 

    architaraz — November 21, 2015 #

  19. Aeolien

    Looking at those fabulous creative fonts appearing recently and users showing how they built those glyphs I realise just how advanced some of you are. Functions like filters, things like using unicode, how to place certain diacritics in fonts above ExtendedLatinA etcetc are still puzzling me and tutorials about those would benefit from the skills and experience of advanced FS font creators.

    If a video tutorial about the very first steps is needed (it might be similar to what the original FS homepage showed) I might manage that with the right software as I have the necessary time. I’m not sure if or how I could help.

    I’ll try learning about tutorials *going to google free screen recording software*

    Aeolien — November 21, 2015 #

  20. TCWhite

    I agree—I enjoy looking at the creations on here, and have had just as much fun creating my own. As far as tutorials go, you can check out:

    ilovetypography.com/2009/01/24/on-diacritics/

    or: diacritics.typo.cz/

    There are quite a few sites dedicated to diacritic design and placement. I did thorough research while creating Tehuti, and in the process, I revamped many of my older fonts to reflect that I also had little experience with their design. You’re welcome to ask me as well. :)

    TCWhite — November 21, 2015 #

  21. four

    Another small bug is the outline square and circle bricks showing as solid squares and circles in the preview window.

    four — November 21, 2015 #

  22. Yautja

    Now that there are multiple choices for sample text, how about an all-caps option?

    Yautja — November 22, 2015 #

  23. Jack Lee Jie

    Um… I accidentally left the name of one of my FontStructs blank, and I can’t rename it now… Anyone with a solution?

    Jack Lee Jie — November 22, 2015 #

  24. thalamic

    Some padding in the preview widget and the full-screen view would be nicer, IMHO.

    thalamic — November 22, 2015 #

  25. Rob Meek (meek)

    The clipping of bricks left of the left side bearing should be fixed now.

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 22, 2015 #

  26. Aeolien

    @ Jack Lee Jie: in the list of your FSs click on the FS you want; when open click in the area top left next to the ‘stars’ , left of a pale pencil is the space for font names where you change the name (I hope it also works for adding names).

    Aeolien — November 22, 2015 #

  27. Jack Lee Jie

    @Aeolien I tried clicking the pencil but it won’t work.

    Jack Lee Jie — November 22, 2015 #

  28. Jack Lee Jie

    Oh, and if compositing composites are possible, it would be very useful (to me, actually).

    Jack Lee Jie — November 22, 2015 #

  29. Rob Meek (meek)

    @Jack Lee Jie I renamed it for you. 

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 23, 2015 #

  30. Rob Meek (meek)

    The outline square and circle bricks should be showing now, and the issue with FontStructions using vertical grid scaling should also be fixed. A couple of new issues have emerged, but we’re getting there.

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 23, 2015 #

  31. Jack Lee Jie

    Thanks meek. Now the layered parts in composites show up in white in the preview widget.

    Jack Lee Jie — November 23, 2015 #

  32. Rob Meek (meek)

    @Jack Lee Jie. Thanks. Yes, working on it.

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 23, 2015 #

  33. p2pnut

    I don’t know whether it is just me (as I have not seen anyone else comment about it) but I don’t seem to be able to resize fonts in the preview using the slider bar. I can switch to Pixel size, using the button, but that is all. 

    p2pnut — November 23, 2015 #

  34. TCWhite

    I like the new pages, despite the bugs, which will be fixed eventually. :) Anyway . . . Concerning diacritics, because I see a few people mentioning placement, et cetera, I recommend doing thorough research into them, as I did while designing Tehuti. I found this site is quite benificial:

    diacritics.typo.cz/

    This site ia also quite informative:

    ilovetypography.com/2009/01/24/on-diacritics/

    Plus, if anyone has questions, you can ask me, or others familiar with their design.

    TCWhite — November 23, 2015 #

  35. Aeolien

    @p2p: having read your comment I checked some of my fonts… yes, it is impossible to vary the size down to something like 6px for checking legibility. The ‘pixel view’ is interesting but it would be good to also have intermediary sizes visible as it helps me to see where glyphs are untidy or spacing needs adjusting.

    Aeolien — November 23, 2015 #

  36. Rob Meek (meek)

    @p2pnut – what browser are you using? I will be doing some work on the slider soon. Note that you chould also be able to enlarge and shrink the preview in increments using the pixel button: Hold down shift when you click to enlarge and alt(Windows) or option(Mac) to shrink.

    Rob Meek (meek) — November 24, 2015 #

  37. p2pnut

    I normally use Slimbrowser – and following your advice find it works with Shift/Alt.

    Tried it with Edge Browser and it works fine.

    p2pnut — November 24, 2015 #

  38. cablecomputer

    Nice move, Rob!

    WYSIWYG is quite revolutionary since some of us haven’t got enough time to stylized a post using raw computational code. Now things become easier.

    And wow, thanks for switching to HTML5. I’m glad be able to enjoy every bit of FontStruction wherever and whenver I go (by using my phone)! But one thing that had missed is, I can’t comment on it.

    Please fix, thanks!

    cablecomputer — November 30, 2015 #

  39. Goatmeal

    @Rob – One quick thing I just noticed: In the past, the FontStructor could actually delete their own comments made on their own font pages.  I used to test HMTL links on a private page (to ensure they pointed where I wanted them to go) before copy-and-pasting them into comments on others’ FontStructions (where I could NOT edit them if they didn’t work correctly)…

    Any chance of getting that back?  Or is there another way of removing these now “blank” messages in the upgraded FontStruct?

    Thanks!

    Goatmeal — December 2, 2015 #

  40. Rob Meek (meek)

    @goatmeal – Thanks for the feeback. I’ll think on it. 

    Rob Meek (meek) — December 3, 2015 #