Brick by Brick, the FontStruct Blog

Posts from Rob Meek (meek)

FontStruct goes HTML5


Dear FontStructors,

Today we’re very happy to announce the launch of a new, HTML5 version of our font editor, the FontStructor.

Superficially it’s very similar to the old one and we’ve retained all the simplicity and ease of use which are the hallmarks of FontStruct; but under the hood the new FontStructor uses standard HTML5 technology for the first time, and no longer relies on the Flash plugin.

This change will help us to continue to improve the editor and add new features in the future. It will also allow users to edit FontStructions on tablets, or even – for those of you with sharp eyes and very slender fingers – on smart phones, for the first time. Note that support for mobile devices is quite basic so far, but we hope to improve that in the coming months.

In this first release of the new FontStructor we’ve added a few small, but significant features.

More complex composites

In “Expert Mode” you can now make composites bricks from selections of up to 16 contiguous grid squares. This should allow designers to create more complex custom bricks.

Finer control over nudging and letter width

The nudging feature, also available in Expert Mode, now allows you to nudge bricks off the grid in ⅛ grid square increments. (Previously it was ¼ grid square increments).

The letter-width control has also been greatly refined. Instead of full grid square steps, you can now set the letter width in ⅛ grid square increments.


New Bricks

Finally we’ve added three new sets of bricks. There are 2 thinner versions of the quarter rings, AKA the macaroni bricks. The new sets have line widths of ⅛ and ⅟₁₆ grid squares. There’s also a new version of the ring shapes. The size of the holes inside the rings match the subdivisions of the grid.



Many thanks to those who’ve helped to thoroughly test the new FontStructor, finding bugs and suggesting changes.

Other Changes

We’ve also taken the opportunity to overhaul some other parts of Again, most of these changes are technical and shouldn’t greatly effect how works or looks but if you do come across any problems, please let us know.

Happy FontStructing!



Love Competition Results


This was a really challenging competition thematically, but the FontStruct community once again proved their inventiveness, humour and skill in producing over 40 diverse FontStructions somehow related to the idea of “Love”. Yes, there were a lot of heart shapes, but they were almost always used in an original way or as part of a more complex idea. Congratulations to everyone who took part. You’re all winners!

Lorra Lorra Dates! (shown above), one of two strong entries by NAL, was one of the most conceptually surprising submissions and certainly put a smile on my face. Other conceptually clever entries were fs pixel heart by opipikheartbeat by ben17, and Lovers morse code by wicci. – Each either barely legible or downright cryptic, they would all lend themselves to secretive exchanges of billets-doux.

The Prizewinners

Given the high quality and diversity of the entries for this competition, there are four prizewinners. So, in no particular order, here they are:

1. floriitutaAD28 by jirinvk


jirinvk has been creating idiosyncratic, minimalistic FontStructions and using them in their design work for many years. Their three complementary entries are vaguely floral assemblages of amoeba-like modules. Superficially simple and restrained, The floriituta series is a great reminder of how it’s still possible to create original and attractive designs on a small grid.

2. db For You by beate


Note to self: Remember to invite beate to be on the judging panel for the next competition so others have a chance of a prize.
“db for you” is yet another display of spectacular technical skill and design sensitivity from one of our leading FontStructors. A clear, expressive script, perfect for everyone’s annual declarations of affection.

3.G1 Lovelines by geneus1


geneus1 has been spectacularly generous on FontStruct of late: sharing gems from his secret back catalogue on an almost daily basis. He made three strong entries to this competition, any of which could have won, but this one was the people’s favorite, with the most Favorites at the deadline. G1 Lovelines is a sumptuous piece of gothic hyperbole. The carefree, heady excesses of love are well represented here.

4. ztrangelovedoc eYe/FS by elmoyenique


A number of FontStructors looked to the decades of love-ins and the “summer of love” for inspiration – love peace happiness by four and G1 paloma by geneus1 for example. You could argue about the legibility of this entry from elmoyenique, but the extravagant psychadelic curls make each glyph a wonderful trip in itself.

Prizewinners will be contacted soon about their prizes.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who took part, and Happy FontStructing,


Competition: Love


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.


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.


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 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.


This week’s update came with its fair share of bugs and initially made 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!


Improved Tagging and Search

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


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


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.


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.


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


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!


(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


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:


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.


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.