Since 1992, our passion has been to make world’s first and best apps for type design and font creation.

Fontographer 5

With our tools, you can open, create, customize and convert fonts in any formats — from the most modern variable and color OpenType fonts to historical PostScript Type 1 fonts, MultipleMaster fonts, bitmap fonts and various interchange formats including UFO.

Our two major font editors (FontLab and Fontographer) are the first graphical font editors that brought you Bézier outline editing, TrueType outline editing, OpenType feature editing, class kerning, visual TrueType hinting and autohinting.

FontLab VI

As a result of years of research and development, our FontLab VI font editor comes with revolutionary new tools for better glyph outline design, and is the only font editor that lets you open and create variable OpenType fonts and all flavors of color OpenType fonts, including OpenType SVG — on both macOS and Windows.

If you’re not a pro, you can create your first font with our basic TypeTool font editor, and convert OpenType and color OpenType fonts into other formats, including WOFF web fonts, with our universal TransType font converter.

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TransType 4

Type designers all over the world have been using our apps to create fonts that you see daily — Adelle, Agmena, Apolline, Auto, Bliss, Calibri, Candara, FF Clan, Consolas, Fakir, Helvetica World, Le Monde, Literata, Myriad Pro, Palatino nova, PT Sans, Sabon Next, Scotch Modern, ITC Veljović Script, Zapfino Extra, and tens of thousands more. The largest software and font makers (Adobe, Apple, Monotype, Microsoft) and thousands medium and small font foundries and type designers have worked on their designs using our tools. Our apps are also popular among graphic designers and students.

Our company is called Fontlab Ltd., Inc., and was founded by Yuri Yarmola, who is Vice President and lead developer, and Ted Harrison, who is President. Adam Twardoch is Director of Products.

FontLab® is also the name of our new font editor FontLab® 7 and its predecessor FontLab® Studio 5. Our other apps include Fontographer®, TypeTool™, TransType™, BitFonter® and FontLab Pad™.

The FontLab Team


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History of Fontlab Ltd.

FontDesigner 1.0, 1991

The predecessor of Fontlab Ltd. was Pyrus North America Ltd. The company was established in 1992 to internationally market and distribute software produced by SoftUnion Ltd. of St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1993 the first product, FontLab 2.0 for Windows, one of the first digital font editors for Windows, was released. FontLab 2.0 unleashed the creativity of computer-based graphic designers, a then-new and rapidly growing group.

In 1994 SoftUnion developed, and Pyrus released, version 2.5 of FontLab for Windows, which included many new enhancements, including TrueType font editing. This catapulted FontLab to the head of its class as the most sophisticated font editor for Windows.

FontLab 2.5, 1993

Users were empowered in other areas by ScanFont, a program to help them convert scanned images into font, and FindFont, a utility to find fonts with particular characteristics on the user's hard disk. Both apps were introduced in 1994 and bundled with FontLab 2.5.

In 1995 SoftUnion decided to divest itself of its software business in order to concentrate on hardware. All the rights to FontLab were sold to Pyrus and the SoftUnion programming team. Pyrus retained Yuri Yarmola, head of the original programming group, to continue development of FontLab and related products.

In 1996 Pyrus released two new products: FontLab Composer, a multilingual, multi-platform (Windows, OS/2) international font editor with most of the features of FontLab plus the ability to edit and manipulate CID-keyed fonts of the very large Chinese, Korean, and Japanese character sets; and SigMaker, a simple utility that could add a signature (or vectorized version of any bitmap image) to a TrueType font in only a few steps.

Yuri Yarmola and Ted Harrison, 1998
Y.Yarmola, A.Twardoch, Emil Yakupov, 1998
FontLab St.Petersburg team, 2001

In 1997 Pyrus started a major revision of its product line. This started with the release of one more new product: TypeTool — a basic font editor with transparent, seamless conversion between TrueType and Type 1 font formats. In addition, a new version of ScanFont was introduced. ScanFont 3.0 included a much improved autotracing algorithm which is specialized for the creation of type (ScanFont is now part of BitFonter and FontLab 7).

Color font by Łukasz Dziedzic,
produced in BitFonter 3

FontLab 3.0 for Windows was finally finished and released in June of 1998 after a complete rewrite. the new version was much faster and more powerful and included many innovative features not found in previous font editors, most notably custom TrueType hinting, VectorPaint drawing tools, and native TrueType (cubic B-spline) font format editing. Localization in European languages was begun.

Late in 1998 Pyrus introduced its first product for the Macintosh platform — a port of FontLab Composer. At the same time both Mac and PC versions of Composer were localized to the Japanese language. This gave Pyrus complete penetration of the font editing market in China, Japan and Korea with the only commercially available products.

In early 1999 a flurry of new products was introduced: first was TransType, a Macintosh program for converting fonts seamlessly between Windows and Mac font formats. This was followed by FONmaker, a bitmap font editor for the creation of Windows screen fonts, Windows font resources, and HP Soft Fonts for legacy HP printers and applications. Then, in March at the Seybold Spring Seminar in Boston Pyrus announced the complete port of FontLab 3.0 to the Macintosh environment.

In January 2000 a new company, Fontlab Ltd., bought all the assets of Pyrus NA with the intention of further expanding international sales. The new company continues development of the FontLab product line and in 2001 released TransType 2, an upgrade for the font conversion product, and BitFonter, a new product dedicated to the editing and creation of bitmap fonts.

FontLab Studio 5 in use by Jeremy Tankard

In October 2001 Fontlab also announced the new Photofont technology, a non-proprietary XML-based specification which allowed users to create text-searchable bitmap fonts for web sites (Photofont is now an interchange format for color OpenType font creation). In December 2001, after 3 years of incubation, FontLab 4 for Windows was released with the first OpenType font editing capability.

After extensive consultation with Asian customers and typographers, Fontlab developed and released (in March 2002) AsiaFont Studio for Windows, a new product that combined most of the features of FontLab 4 and FontLab Composer and added many new capabilities to make CJKV font editing faster and easier. (The AsiaFont Studio functionality is now included in FontLab VI.)

Almost simultaneously TransType 2 for Windows, and TypeTool 2 for Windows (also with CJKV) were finished and released.

In 2003–2004, a series of major updates to FontLab’s products were released: FontLab 4.6, ScanFont 4 for Mac and BitFonter 2 for Mac.

Adam previews FontLab VI at ATypI Warsaw 2016

In May 2005, Fontlab Ltd. announced that the company had licensed Fontographer from Macromedia and planned to continue developing the font editing classic. Later that year saw the release of FontFlasher (for creating pixelfonts) and FogLamp (for converting native Fontographer files into native Fontlab files).

In 2005 the company released FontLab Studio 5, which became the de-facto industry standard for type design and font production, and has been used by companies such as Adobe, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Monotype, Morisawa and almost every other major font foundry in the world.

In 2010, Fontographer 5 was released, and major updates of both programs were released in 2013.

In 2013, also Fontlab Ltd. released TransType 4, a complete rewrite of the universal font converter. TransType organizes font families, fixes font problems, converts fonts into WOFF and EOT web fonts, and allows users to play and experiment with monochrome and multi-color fonts.

FontLab VI in use by Yuri Gordon

In 2014, Fontlab Ltd. released FontLab Pad, a free app that allows Mac OS X and Windows users to use multicolor fonts.

In 2017, FontLab Ltd. released FontLab VI, a complete rewrite of the flagship font editing and creation application, and a follow-up to the hugely popular FontLab Studio 5. Several years in the making, FontLab VI is an integrated font editor for macOS and Windows that helps users create fonts from start to finish, from a simple design to a really complex project, and brings a spark of magic into type design. With FontLab VI, users can create, open, modify, draw, space, kern, hint and export desktop, web, color and variable OpenType fonts.

In 2019, Fontlab Ltd. released updates to FontLab Studio 5, Fontographer 5 and TypeTool 3. In the same year, Fontlab Ltd. released FontLab 7, a follow-up to FontLab VI with over 250 new features and hundreds of improvements.

In subsequent years, FontLab Ltd. has been significantly improving FontLab 7. For most recent news about our apps, visit our news section.