Bitmap fonts for your web and print projects
Photofont technology brings the advantages of bitmap fonts to your web and print projects. Outline font formats such as TrueType or OpenType are limited to monochrome letterforms. Bitmap fonts can, however, use the full color palette and transparency.
Photofonts allow users to make fonts with real calligraphic brush strokes, photos of everyday objects, multi-color hand lettering, scanned historical documents, felt pen doodles or any other set of bitmaps.
These advantages can be used by :
You can think of a photofont as a collection of bitmaps that can be inserted into your projects at the touch of a key. A series of plugins have been developed so you can use photofonts with the most popular publishing applications (QuarkXpress, through Photofont QX Illustrator, Photoshop, through Photofont Start, InDesign through Photofont ID). This makes it pretty easy to add color to your typography.
It sounds pretty complicated, but the results can be quite worthwhile. Look at the headline and subheads on this page. We made them all from Photofonts, but the headline (in the SmallStones font) was prepared in WebReady. If you click and drag across the letters in the headline you'll see that they are selected just like regular text. You can copy and paste them and search engines will recognize them. If you try this on any of the subheads nothing happens - because we made them out of plain bitmaps.
… can convert their lettering and calligraphy into fonts with photographic effects. This makes it a lot easier to use these kinds of fonts in digital documents.
… can implement photofonts as resource files with the .phf extension. The plugins for Adobe Photoshop and InDesign can be automated for work flows that require personalization of outputs. And that nice keycap font just above would look pretty good in a user manual.
Photofonts are not very difficult to create. All you need is a paint program and a text editor. You just make the bitmaps you want to use for the characters and then you write an XML file to organize them. But if you don't want to do the technical heavy lifting there's also the possibility of creating your own photofonts or convert your existing artworks to photofonts with a special tool, BitFonter that does the XML stuff (among other things) for you.