How to easily create your own font

I’d often wondered how easy it would be to create my own font and having seen various pixel based, graphical editors always placed it in the too-complicated or too-hard camp. But I came across this tool called MyScriptFont the other day which promises to make the process significantly easier.

First of all, there’s no on-screen editing. You simply download a template grid and then using a medium thickness black felt tip, write in the alphabet in uppercase and lower case, along with the main numbers and punctuation. Additional symbols are optional, which in the interest of speed and testing it all, I opted against. Then it’s simply a case of scanning your grid in to your PC and uploading it to the MyScriptFont website.

Once it’s online, the site does its thing and provides you with either a True Type Font (TTF) or OTF which you can download and then easily install into your own machine.

I created mine in about 5 minutes – which you can view or install from here, if you like. It’s not perfect, as I accidentally crossed some of the guide lines so the loops on some of my letters have been cut off during the scanning process, but it was so easy to do, I just felt it worth sharing on here. I’ll shortly be revisiting the site and taking more time on my grid so I can have a perfect font!

Where the site might have a few drawbacks is in foreign language support, or for those instances where pixel perfect accuracy is required. It’s also quite tricky, as I found, to fill in the whole grid without making a mistake… so, unlike me, take your time and do it slowly! And make sure your felt tip pen doesn’t start fading half way through writing.

In terms of applications, there are a lot of paid font solutions out there that designers and organisations use and pay for, but this one is absolutely free – and pretty unique too. It’s not going to be suitable for every application, but the speed at which you can get your own custom handwriting based font is hard to complain about.

Typical web banner sizes

I came across a really handy reference guide earlier, concerned with the size of typical web banners. 

It’s taken from Wikipedia, but I’m including it on my site as it’s probably an easier to access resource.

banner sizes

(Click on image to view full size)


Free online pic resize tool

If you need to resize a photo, but you’re away from you main PC – ie on a tablet or netbook, and don’t have access to your regular imaging application, then this handy online pic resize tool is invaluable. It’s free too.

Like this design? – part2

Ok – so there are loads of different free themes out there for WordPress and I’ve tried more than my fair share. Thanks to the various lists all over the web, it’s easy to preview and demo countless themes quickly and easily. I did previously make a post about my old theme, Regal (HERE) – but have since come across a different design that I’ve opted for instead.

This one’s called Mystique – and it’s also a freebie theme, given away by the designer. You can download it through the WordPress site HERE or directly from the designer’s site, HERE.

The designer’s summary about the site says: “Mystique is a free WordPress theme that attempts to top commercial templates in terms of design and functionality. Some of its features include 4 theme widgets, page templates for different layout styles and a advanced interface for the theme settings…

I’m still trialling it – but first impressions are good. The theme options don’t seem to be working on my version of IE that I’m on right now, but I’ll test it on Chrome and Firefox later… it certainly isn’t a dealbreaker in any case!

To be fair and fully attribute my sources, I found the link to this theme in this list of “20 of my Favourite Free WordPress Themes in 2009” (link HERE).

Like this design?

09/03/2010 Update – ok, I’ve changed the design now, so this post relates to my old design… it’s still a very nice, clean design but I’ve decided to use this one instead. The new one is called Mystique (available from this designer HERE).

If you like this web site design, you can get it yourself – all for free – from this very generous theme designer, HERE.

It’s called Regal – and in my mind, is a nice, clean design that is extremely usable. If you check it out with the TAC application too, you can see it’s a clean install without any encrypted code or hidden links… well worth it!

The theme is described as having the following attributes:

  • 2 columns layout based template
  • Tableless design and 100% CSS-based
  • WordPress 2.8+
  • XHTML 1.0 Transitional
  • CSS Validates
  • SEF Optimised Layout
  • 3C XHTML 1.0 Transitional
  • W3C CSS 3 Valid

Free printing / artwork templates

I’ve found a good resource that I use regularly to source artwork  or printing templates for some design work that I carry out.

The site is affiliated with one of the low cost printing companies I use – Stress Free Print – and you can get to it HERE.

The site, Tom the Printer, includes various templates and sizes for the following generic designs:

  • Flat Leaflets / Flyers
  • Folded Leaflets / Flyers
  • Presentation Folders
  • Stationery
  • Business Cards
  • Greetings Cards
  • Tent Cards

What is Open Source?

Open Source is simply defined as a collaboration, predominantly online, whereby source code and software is made available under an open licensing structure with the aim of encouraging other developers and users to test it, tweak it and develop it further, reposting their achievements back to the community so that others can benefit from it.

What this actually means is that most generally available commercial software has an Open Source alternative – with the added benefit that these are available freely for anyone to download from the Internet.

Some of the good Open Source software available includes: WordPress, Joomla, Star Office, Open Office, Freemind… these are the obvious ones that spring to mind, that I’ve used, but there are far more!

Wikipedia define Open Source as:

Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials—typically, their source code. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Opening the source code enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. Subsequently, a new, three-word phrase “open source software” was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.

 A main principle and practice of open source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product (and source-material) available at no cost to the public.


A good list of available Open Source software (top 20)  is available from Trip Wire magazine, HERE.

Dynamic image resizing in WordPress

Some of the WordPress themes I’ve trialled include a dynamic image re-size option, which initially sounded quite good. However, after trying for hours to get the thing to work and searching countless other forums and WordPress guides, I still couldn’t get it to work.

That was, until, I stumbled across a web site ( that specifically covered by problem – and it wasn’t anything to do with my directory permissions either. It was a bandwidth protection measure from my host, Hostgator!

Anyway, following the instructions on the site (copied and pasted below, for ease) – resolved the issue nice and quickly… and now I have a fully functioning, image resizing WordPress installation!

Here’s what to do:

1. Login to your Hostgator control panel and contact Live Chat Support.
2. Ask the support technician to white list your thumbnail generation file for mod_security . You will need to give your file name and path.  The file name mostly will be timthumb.php or thumb.php. You can find this file inside the WordPress theme folder. An example file path wp-content/themes/theme_name/thumb.php

This is apparently a known issue with Hostgator’s WordPress hosting and all their technicians should recognize your request.

This problem will be solved by them in minutes.