Fontlab ( has released version 5 of Fontographer, the font editor for designers and publishers on both Mac OS X (10.4 and higher) and Windows platforms. This version, the first new full-featured font creator in more than a decade, is specifically designed for use in a graphic design and digital publishing workflow.

Fontographer has been almost completely rewritten, with new features, a new look, and new compatibility, according to Adam Twardoch, Fontlab’s product and marketing manager. The new design is aimed at making life easier for the graphic designer and desktop publisher, who are constantly under pressure to do more in less time, he says.

In this vein, the graphical user interface has been modernized, but functionality like keyboard shortcuts and menu choices haven’t been changed. Similarly, a lot goes on under the hood of Fontographer through automatic defaults, eliminating decisions about technical aspects like encodings and formats. Yet the choices are there if the user needs them.

“The beauty of Fontographer is that it allows you to concentrate on the creative process of designing a typeface, without being distracted by the technical aspects of font making,” Twardoch says. “FOG users always appreciated the speed, ease and precision in which they could draw Bézier outlines in the product — so we’ve kept the drawing tools and implemented some long-standing feature requests such as a larger zoom level and outline antialiasing. On the other hand, setting technical font parameters such as font naming or linespacing in Fontographer used to be cumbersome and did not consider recent developments such as OpenType — so we’ve redesigned those aspects from scratch with the goal of making them as easy to use as the rest of the product.”

In addition to the previously supported formats such as Type 1, Type 3, Multiple Master and TrueType, Fontographer 5 can now read and generate OpenType fonts in both PostScript (.otf) and TrueType (.ttf) flavors. There’s also improved Unicode compatibility.

Fonts generated with Fontographer 5 are automatically optimized for the screen using “autohinting” algorithms developed by Adobe and Fontlab. Users can define OpenType Layout features using the Adobe FDK for OpenType syntax, version 2.5. In addition the font generator can now produce fonts with more than 20,000 characters.

Fontographer is available now from Fontlab. The suggested retail price is US$399. An pgrade for version 4.7 users is $149, and for version 3.x and 4.1 users, it’s US$199. Demo versions are available for download.