Turning the new Michigan font into a real font

Submitted by Blue and Joe on August 5th, 2016 at 3:13 PM
Michigan and Nike unveiled a new font for athletics called "Valiant." It's not a drastic change from the previous font, but it's enough to notice.
 
 
The old font was very similar to a free font called Superstar M54. However, the new font is a completely custom creation for Michigan. It will likely never be officially available to download. I wanted to have the font for use in wallpapers. Luckily, Nike released a photo with all the letters and numbers. Come along for the ride and learn a little bit about font in the process.
 
The first thing I did was take Nike's photo and trace all the letters and numbers. This allowed me to convert them into scaleable vector files. It was a tedious process, but I would soon find out it was the easy part.
 
The next step was creating a font from the vector files. Mapping the vectors to the corresponding letters and numbers was easy enough, but the spacing and kerning proved to be more difficult.
 
What is kerning? If you think of every letter as being inside of a box, kerning is what allows certain boxes to overlap. In "LV" the L and V are nestled close together. Without kerning, it would look more like L V. So at first my font looked like this:
 
To speed things along, I decided to use M54 as a base. This allowed me to take advantage of the kerning already built in. I replaced the M54 letters and numbers with the new ones and did some subtle tweaking to get the spacing just right. The spacing might not be exactly the same, but the shapes of the numbers and letters are perfect. Here is the final result in action.
 
 
A couple things to note: the font only works with uppercase letters. I was having trouble mapping to both upper and lower case, so I just removed it. There are four special characters hidden away in the font. They shouldn't be too hard to find.
 
I am very pleased with the result. It was a difficult process, but I came away with a lot of new information about creating fonts. Big thanks to WD for helping me test along the way! I know you will put the font to good use in your SuperGuides.
 

>>DOWNLOAD HERE<<

Comments

McDoomButt

August 5th, 2016 at 3:47 PM ^

Do you need admin rights? You should be able to do personalization type stuff without admin access.

Assuming you're on Windows, just go to the start menu search box and type in "fonts". Should show you the "Fonts" folder, just copy the valiant.ttf file you downloaded into the Fonts folder.

callcaul

August 5th, 2016 at 4:04 PM ^

Can someone make a maize/blue Michigan endzone with the new font. I've always wanted us to paint the endzones at Michigan Stadium. It looks great at the Rose Bowl.

1VaBlue1

August 6th, 2016 at 9:53 AM ^

Outstanding!!  I just downloaded your font to Pages on my Macbook - works perfectly out of the box and looks amaizing!  Great job!!!

Brian/Seth - if you don't use this font, then you're not fans!

(But only of you can legally use it without violating some arcane marketing lingo UM or Nike may have associated with it...  Don't want any legal trouble!)

Don

August 8th, 2016 at 10:11 PM ^

that was created solely for UM's and Nike's use, then you've very likely crossed the line from a strictly legal standpoint. Whether they would go after you is another matter; since you're not selling it they may not bother.

Speaking of the font itself, the outline in yellow changes the apparent stroke thickness from what Nike's version is, which makes it look like a very, very similar but not identical font.

Yo_Blue

August 9th, 2016 at 1:51 PM ^

Is there a way to add numbers if they aren't already and have the 4 like it will be on this year's uniforms?  That is, unless you've already thought of that!

gbdub

August 9th, 2016 at 3:37 PM ^

This is great, I've been toying around with a project that would need some custom vinyl graphics, and needed exactly this font. Gives me a kick in the arse to get it done!

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

jonvalk

September 1st, 2016 at 12:25 PM ^

I somehow missed this before.  Great work.  I've never created a font, but I know it would be a difficult process.  I will be using this in my Photoshop work for sure.  I will make sure to attribute the font to you!

Ben E. Rooster

September 14th, 2016 at 3:41 AM ^

Thanks for tracing and converting this font. It still falls short of the traditional letterforms, though. The most egregious offender is the all-important block M, whose midpoint shouldn't come close to—much less touch—the baseline.

The letterforms are also thin. It's as if their centers need to touch the ground for support lest they bend or collapse. It belies the "brick and wrought iron" indestructible image Nike claims to support and convey.

The face you use for the MGoBlog masthead is good. Superstar M54 is decent, but too narrow. In the '90s I used to use Casady & Greene's "Collegiate."

stefanshuster170

September 14th, 2016 at 7:29 AM ^

Thanks you so much for the great for tracing and converting this font. It still falls short of the traditional letterforms, though. The most egregious offender is the all-important block M, whose midpoint shouldn't come close to—much less touch—the baseline.

The letterforms are also thin. It's as if their centers need to touch the ground for support lest they bend or collapse. It belies the "brick and wrought iron" indestructible image Nike claims to support and convey.

andrew_

November 11th, 2017 at 12:18 PM ^

This was exactly what I was looking for today. Was gonna whip up some custom shirts to wear to a Maryland bar here in Florida. Sadly the download is busted and sends a zero byte file. Any chance of fixing that up?

andrew_

November 12th, 2017 at 2:13 PM ^

Since it doesn't look like Blue and Joe is watching the thread any longer, I opened up the promo images in Illustrator and have started working on reproducing the font in vector format. Here's the finished "MICHIGAN" portion of the promo:


 

I worked around the smoothing and the outline present in the promo and put this together using shapes. This is not exact, and there are some artifacts that are so small I didn't feel like futzing with. When I get done I'll post the AI file on Github so everyone can use it, and hopefully, contribute small corrections where needed.