Brick by Brick, the FontStruct Blog


Posts filed under “News”

Reverse Competition Results

What a wonderful competition.

Yet again the FontStruct community has demonstrated its unbounded creativity in interpreting a difficult theme in diverse and original ways. I would encourage everyone to have a close look at each of the entries, many of which really only reveal their conceptual secrets and precious details upon closer examination.

While the winners are doubtlessly worthy ones, there could easily have been many, many more, so don’t be too downhearted if you didn’t win, and please pity the judges their impossible task.

Before we announce the winners,

Some Honorable Mentions:

A number of designers decided to explore reversal in the sense of symmetry. ben17’s reflection for example (above), which despite the high concept manages to be legible and strikingly attractive, or architaraz’s similarly practical and well-formed AT Imago Reversed which is also an ingenious mirroring stencil:

Also playing with symmetry and continuing a distinctive FontStruct tradition of esoteric, decorative glyph sets is “Charm Spells” by Aeolien: Every glyph a mystery, like ancient lines scratched in the desert:

tm up dn” by thalamic is an ingenious attempt to build a usable letter set by rotating or flipping other glyphs – both a crazy catalogue of intentional mistakes, and a clever way to explore new forms:

geneus1 gave us, as so often before, several strong and original entries, including the intricately woven G1 Trushae. Chainmail? alien circuitry? noodles? I’m not sure which it reminds me of more, but everyone is invited to lose themselves in the artistry:

With “SbB Codebreaker”, Sketchbook B demonstrates that it’s possible to execute an original concept using only the simplest of materials – the pixel brick. It’s a strange and very technical FontStruction but as the designer himself notes, it has a pleasing and distinctive texture:

There were so many other great entries, equally deserving of mention, but at some point we must move on to …

The Winners

The FontStructor’s Favourite was AT Esrever by architaraz. A clear and clever concept, perfectly executed and the favourite of our community:

A favourite of both judges was the cleverly named counter culture by four which opens an intriguing orthographic window on negative space. The dot-screen shading is a lovely detail.

zelbod eYe/FS by elmoyenique is a good example of a FontStruction which doesn’t reveal its full quality at the standard sizes used to display it in the Gallery and elsewhere on FontStruct.
zelbod has to be seen at a large point size in order for the unique folding concept and fine shading pattern to reveal their beauty:

Finally, I forgot, again, to invite beate to join the judging panel for this competition, and so, with three more spectacular entries, a prize is once more heading in her direction. We chose the elegantly carved db Jojo as our favourite:

Congratulations to each of the prizewinners; you will be contacted regarding your prizes shortly.

Congratulations also to EVERYONE who participated. It’s truly a great pleasure to see all your work appearing and growing on the site.

Special Thanks

To our guest judge, Stephen Coles of LetterForm Archive, Fonts In Use, Typographica, and on fortunate occasions such as this, FontStruct.

Now it’s time to wipe off our trowels and return to our hods. There are bricks to be laid.

Happy FontStructing!




Connecting Bricks

Dear FontStructors,

Today we’re introducing a couple of enhancements to the FontStructor editor.

New “Connecting” Brick Pack


Firstly, we’re adding 58 new bricks to FontStruct.

As the number of available bricks has increased over the years, and with the addition of these new bricks, we’ve decided to break up the “All Bricks” palette into multiple pages or “packs”.

“All Bricks” is now named simply “Bricks” and the currently selected pack is shown in the palette title. Just click on the down arrow to switch packs.


The classic, core bricks will be remain in the default “Core” pack, but now you also have access to the new “Connecting” pack.

The connecting pack includes monoline, biline and triline shapes, curves, lengths, terminals and miscellaneous connectors, which join perfectly and easily with one another. It’s a fun and novel FontStructing experience.

Note that in order for the junctions between these new bricks to match, the connecting points need to be centred within each grid square, so a small gap always remains, to the left and below your designs.


To compensate for this you can use the nudge tool (expert mode) to nudge your glyphs, so that they line up with the origin.

I look forward to seeing what our community can create with these new raw materials. We may add a few more bricks to the connecting pack in the coming weeks.

No more default “Cycle” pen

This has been a very long time coming I know. Now, finally, the standard “simple” pen is the default pen type in the FontStructor, and the cycle pen is an option.

Happy FontStructing!







Introducing the FontStruct Maker


Dear FontStructors,

A font design only begins to reveal its true character and potential when it’s put to use; when you start to design with it; and especially when you take it off the screen and print with it.

A new tool from FontStruct, the “FontStruct Maker”, is designed to offer a quick and simple way to transfer a FontStruction onto a real world thing – specifically clothing and accessories; for example T-Shirts, mugs, bags or device covers. There’s no need to install a font, or any design software. You don’t even need to sign in to FontStruct to use it!

Learn more in the video (best in full screen, and you’ll need the audio turned up):

With the Maker you can take any FontStruction (license permitting), create your own design with it, and then immediately upload that design to the Spreadshirt printing platform where it can be printed onto any one from scores of products.

We think this is the world’s speediest type-to-tee design system. Click on any of the T-Shirt icons on the gallery pages, or the “Make” buttons on any FontStruction homepage to try it out. There’s also a dedicated help page available.

Level Rebel on a Tee

Image shows Level Rebel by four printed on a T-Shirt using an image generated in the FontStruct Maker.


Happy FontStructing!


UPDATES to the video:

Please note that a few small things have changed since we made the video. For example, you can now adjust the horizontal as well as the vertical position of the attribution line. We’ve also doubled the point size of the attribution line to improve legibility.

Note also that printing on dark fabric or other materials is more challenging than printing onto pale and white things. Spreadshirt did an excellent job of printing onto the black T-Shirt pictured above, but generally a paler ground will produce more consistent and predictable results.


There is a season – kern, kern, kern

Dear FontStructors,

Many thanks to everyone for all your wonderful designs and contributions to FontStruct in 2016.

A gift from FontShop

With our 1.3+ million registered users, 1.3+ million font designs and 34+ million glyphs, FontStruct takes a lot of looking after. There are servers to pay and care for, development to be done, emails to be answered, bricks to be dusted and stacked.

Despite this, FontStruct remains a completely free service, and this is all due to the generosity of FontShop, our founding sponsor. We’re thrilled to announce that FontShop, our founding sponsor, has confirmed their continuing support for the project through 2017.

Thank you FontShop!

A New Feature: Kerning

We’re also delighted to launch a brand new, expert feature to the FontStructor with the introduction of kerning support.


(Image shows zynesthesia by elmoyenique)

I would like to stress that many FontStructions really do not need to be kerned, and that everyone should continue to use the other spacing controls as far as possible to achieve the letter spacing they’re aiming for. Nevertheless, kerning can solve some of those frustrating spacing problems with particular letter combinations, and help make your designs more attractive and usable.

Read more about the new feature in the help.

And Finally


Wherever and however you celebrate it, I wish everyone a happy holiday season . I’m greatly looking forward to more FontStructing adventures in 2017.

Let’s FontStruct!



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!