A fontbake is a celebration of the creative process and entropic collaboration — all bundled up in an OpenType font.

Fontbake began as a creative experiment at our design studio. We invited a group of friends and asked each of them to draw a letter however they pleased — the more quirky and offbeat the better. Our staff quickly compiled the drawings into a communal art-font and gave a copy to each contributor. It was a great experience, full of creative surprises.

Since that first meetup we’ve had the opportunity to bake fonts with arts organizations and design clubs, colleges and corporations. Although each font is wildly unique, the process is invariably fun.

Fontbakes are all about creative discovery and playful collaboration. They are an alphabetic reminder of how interconnected we all are, how expressive and resilient letters can be, and how fun it is to just doodle in a pre-k kind of way.

Fontbakes have been conducted as on-site sessions so far, but we’re working on remote options. Contact us if you’d like to participate in a future Fontbake. We’ll be happy to get you set up.

Drawing Guidelines

A few handy tips for best results

1. Draw like your six-year-old self. Forget about judgement and so-called perfection. Focus on spontaneity and experimentation. It’s process-over-product with a Fontbake. If you feel like you’ve made a mistake, try changing your perspective to incorporate — if not glorify — the mistake. Befriend the unexpected.

2. Not sure how to start a drawing? That’s not a problem, that’s creative freedom! Just think about Paul Klee’s quote: “Drawing is taking a line for a walk”, and walk.

3. Strive for legibility. It’s great when your letter is super creative and expressive, but it’s best if it isn’t mistaken for a different letter or just an illustration.

4. Be bold! Avoid delicate line-work or fussy details. The line you get from an original Sharpie is as thin as you want to get. For that matter, Fontbake letters generally work best when they are chunky rather than wispy.

5. Use a black or very dark marker. Avoid pencils, ball-point pens and crayons.

6. Do-overs are not usually encouraged, but they are of course allowable. If you’re really not happy with your first drawing, or get a better idea along the way, go ahead and try a second one. Just remember to stay loose.

7. Keep your drawings family-friendly. Fontbakes are intended for participants and viewers of all ages, but we especially want to think about the kids. Anything we deem inappropriate will not be included.

Terms of Participation

By contributing to a Fontbake, you agree to abide by the following terms:

1. Baked fonts are the collective property of their contributors. That is to say, each piece of letter art belongs to its respective creator, and the whole font belongs communally to everyone who participated in its creation. PSY/OPS, as the originator and organizer of Fontbakes, makes no ownership or copyright claim on the individual artwork elements included in the fonts it compiles.

2. Each baked font font may only be used by the individuals who contributed directly to it, and that use is limited to personal projects. Using baked fonts in commercial or revenue-generating projects is not permitted. Contact us if you have any questions concerning commercial use of Fontbake fonts.

3. Fontbake fonts may not be distributed, either for free or for profit. Distribution includes but is not limited to sharing, transferring, posting for download.

4. PSY/OPS reserves the right to modify letter art once submitted in order to improve scale, legibility and other compositional attributes.

5. Fontbake fonts may not be modified, adapted, converted, translated, reverse engineered, decompiled, disassembled, altered or otherwise copied without prior written authorization from PSY/OPS.

6. PSY/OPS shall in no event be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages arising out of the use or inability to use Fontbake fonts, even if notified in advance. Under no circumstances shall PSY/OPS’ liability exceed the replacement cost of the software.