Fonts on the Internet

OK, there are tons of fonts on the internet. Lots of them say they are free. Two warnings about that:

  1. Some of these fonts, particularly dingbat fonts contain copyrighted or trademarked images that somebody did. I regularly see the Batman and Superman logos in these fonts. Take care when you use these not to break copyright or trademark laws.

  2. Make darn sure that the fonts advertised as free are actually free. Some of these fonts (most of them, in fact), charge for use in commerical products. So, if you are making money (including taking Paypal donations) for your project, then make darn sure that the font you downloaded came with a "Read Me" or "License" file and read it carefully.

OK, so you can definitely Google for dingbat fonts. So, I'm not going to list every site for that purpose. However, here are a few of my favorite sites:

  1. My buddy David Nalle runs Fontcraft.Com. He's got a ton of fonts. The blockbuster Hollywood movies call on him for fonts for their title logos.

  2. Treehouse Typefaces does great, familiar but cool typefaces.

  3. Comic Book Fonts does, well, comic book fonts.

  4. So does Blambot.Com.

  5. Lastly, there is Clipart.Com, most famous for distributing free clipart. They also have historically had some fonts for download.

A custom-made dingbat font with all your game symbols included is a great, low memory way, to have lot of color symbols in a PDF. Just keep in mind, that, except for the stroke color or drop shadow, the internal color of a font character is monochromatic or gradient, in general, and you can't get full color display using a font character the way you can with a graphic.

If you get a custom-made dingbat font for your game, try to make sure it is combined into a single font set with your favorite text type face that way you can reduce the number of times you need to switch back and forth between fonts when laying out a card.

Font symbols, while largely limited to monochromatic or gradient fills, are still absolutely great for printing, particularly if they are monochromatic. Why? Well, font experts may write to me and correct me here if I'm wrong (since I'm out on a limb), but I think that vector-based fonts, like vector graphics, scale well, and so they are limited in resolution largely only by the resolution of your printer. If you want a 1200 dpi font symbol on a 1200 dpi printer, you just include the font symbol for minimal memory. With an image, a 1200 dpi image can be absolutely enormous in many image storing formats. The best way to get a sample of this effect it to type the word "Sample" in your graphics program and save it as an uncompressed image format (like an uncompressed TIFF) at 300 dpi. Now go to your word processing software, import that word, and type "Sample" again below it, at the same size, but this time as a font. Export it as a PDF. Start blowing up the PDF to 1000%. The 300 dpi image starts looking "jaggy" while the font still has clean curves.