Nikhil Sonnad takes a look at “The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font” over at Quartz; it presumes you don’t know the first thing about Chinese writing, but if you skim past the historical boilerplate you get some interesting stuff:
As with Latin fonts, a crucial initial decision is to determine which font “style” to use. Chinese has two main styles, called Mingti and Heiti, akin to the serif and sans-serif of Latin. Heiti is a bit like sans-serif: clean, straight lines without extra ornamentation at the ends, common on the web. Mingti is similar to serif, with extra embellishment at the end of strokes that give it a more bookish feel. […]
After deciding whether to go in a Heiti or a Mingti direction, designers hone the typeface design further by looking for inspiration from sources as wide-ranging as calligraphy, ancient lettering, and other Chinese and Latin fonts. For JinXuan, Justfont is attempting to apply the feel of the Latin typeface Optima—which blends the simplicity of sans-serif fonts with the extravagance of serif ones—to the writing style they found on an ancient scroll. (Su, the co-founder, studied Chinese literature in university.)
The calligraphy of the scroll is indeed very nice, and it’s worth visiting the link just for that. Thanks, Nick!