Fontshop have just released an online font design and creation tool called Fonstruct. It is fantastic. It was devised and developed for FontShop by Rob Meek, a designer/programmer based in Berlin. Meek has been working on projects like this for quite sometime before joining forces with FontShop.
The Fontstruct interface seems easy to use and there are lots of simple clever functions to make the job of font creation easier. Additional functionality such as the ability to share your font with others via a Creative Commons licence, or to create an embedded Flash version for display on your personal website show how Fontshop have really made the effort to integrate with the best of other successful web technologies and services.
As an educational tool for would be typographers, type designers and design students, it presents a wonderful learning opportunity. It presents a simple entry point to understanding the basics of letterform design and construction without the steep technical learning curve of other professional type design software. It is easy to see how this tool could be integrated with traditional methods of teaching and learning. For example, take a look at Ellen Lupton’s modular type design exercise in her book Thinking with Type as proof of this. I look forward to experimenting with it in class in the next academic year to see how it can augment and extend current curricula.