The making of a color font by Daniel Hosoya

A look at the creative process behind a chromatic typeface made with Fontself

June 19, 2019
Font creation process for a chromatic typeface by Daniel Hosoya

In 2015, we launched Fontself Maker, a font creation tool that turns type design into a fun and accessible experience for all the creatives who dabble with letters but are intimidated by complex software.

Since then, a growing community of talents jumped into type-making, pushing the boundaries of DIY typography. We will now team every month with creative talents to bring you practical tips, reviews of fonts made by the members of this community, and take you through the process of designing a typeface.

This month, Mexican designer & lettering wizard Daniel Hosoya joined us with 5 tips to design a typeface system, and today he shares his first steps towards making CandyFont, a unique design with a drop of acid.

Quote for a colorful typeface Candy Font

Daniel, you work as an art director, UX/UI designer and lettering/calligraphy artist, can you tell us more about your career?

Sure, I am a designer who’s worked more than 13 years in the advertising industry for brands like Ford, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, among others. I also have been freelancing since university. My work consisted in generating ideas and, with the help of my team, making them happen. Many of the projects we were working on involved developing new brands. This is how I got involved with letterform. Today I work for BBVA as a UX/UI consultant. I research and understand users’ needs to solve their problems.

However, drawing letters is something I can’t give up on. Once I began studying type design, I couldn’t stop. It’s one of my biggest passions. I especially love calligraphy because it has to do with the founding principles of letterform. After a time practicing calligraphy, I decided to get into lettering, so I could give more personality to my letters and create unique pieces. So anytime I can, I draw letters and I look for different tools that allow me to innovate my design.

Although, getting into type design is a step I needed to take.

Lettering projects with neon, gradient, brush and coffee

For which projects did you start drawing letters?

I began by focusing on letterform when working on branding projects. The story is that one day, Pepsi asked us to change the typeface we were using for a message on a packaging, to something more organic and hand designed. They were looking for gestures.

At this point I was working completely digitally, the only reason why I would use a pencil was for sketching. I had no idea about which tool to use. So I asked one of my colleagues to run a lettering workshop for me and this is how I felt in love with the brush pen. Then, I just kept learning from people who master the art of letterform. In the end, we ended up using a typeface for the Pepsi project, but thanks to this experience, I discovered other tools to create new styles and learned how to choose the right typeface for my compositions.

Are you more into brush or pencil?

I love using brush pen. It is the tool I feel the most comfortable with. My favorite are Lyra and Kuretake Metallic Brush Pen.

Lettering and calligraphy collection

How did you decide to jump into the type design world?

It’s a step I needed to take. Even though I love calligraphy and lettering, being able to create letters as part of a whole family that must be both legible and expressive, is a challenge worth exploring. Eventually, I realized that I love to build systems that allow me to put forward a new typeface.

Where did you take your inspiration from for CandyFont?

It was on a Saturday morning. I remember getting frustrated about publishing only calligraphic letters, so I started sketching sans serif letters. I was drawing geometric figures to perfect my sketches and that’s how I got the idea to build a system, by dividing a circle in 4 and adding a color to each quarter. I wanted to build my alphabet from this single module but for some letters I had to make an exception.

Planning is everything

The incredible thing about creating rules for your system is that it becomes a personal challenge. When you set limits, what you do really is to push your creativity. Then, you need a time to analyze your system, improve it and find exceptions.

Regarding colors, I was not sure which ones to pick, but I knew I wanted something very soft.

Why did you work a color font?

The real question is: why didn’t I do it before? Actually having colors helped me resolve the design and the composition.

I find it incredible that Fontself makes color font design possible. Without this tool, I would not have been able to create CandyFont. Fontself Maker is very intuitive and easy to manipulate, this simplicity of use allowed me to focus on the design aspects of the font.

Bringing Illustrator's letters into an OpenType font file with Fonself Maker

Can you tell us more about how you choose a color palette?

Choosing colors was one of the most complicated parts. However, if you get to study the psychology of colors, you will realize that the brain is more receptive to certain color formulas. CandyFont is inspired by primary colors, pink for red, lilac for blue and yellow. The other colors are meant to be complementary between yellow and lilac, so I added a “mint” and a “navy” blue to create contrast and give strength to my letters.

Color are always tricky decisions and I almost never find the perfect combination immediately, that is why the moodboard is very important. Most of the time I look for color combinations on Dribbble, Coolors or Adobe Color but I always have an idea of what I am looking for. In this case, my goal was to work with primary colors. Looking for combinations I decided to go with soft and pastel colors for a brighter result.

Which letters gave you the hardest time ? How did you resolve the problem?

I find it difficult to design upper cases, as they take more space and have to be very noteworthy. Letters like the “B”, “S” and “Z” especially, were the most difficult. Actually the “B” has exceptions in her construction compared to others. The “Z” is the most complicated to design because it’s hard to understand. But I am sure I will get to improve them over time.

How is the font supposed to be used?

CandyFont is very useful for titles related to pre-school education, soft items or coms for kids. It could also be used for colorful brands of women’s product. Thinking a little bit about its applications I would dare you to imagine a funny line of tea where each color of CandyFont would represent a different flavor ;)

That’s all folks ! We will come back next month with a new talent and new projects. Meanwhile, let us know if these tips are helpful to improve your process by sharing your typographic projects on social media with the hashtag #madewithfontself

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