The weight framework

Hi Everybody, I'm Valerio Dell'Edera from Hederae Creative Shop. I sell some custom typefaces on Creative Market, but I want to try on MyFonts. I need your help about changing weight of a font with Multiple Masters (I use Fontlab Studio 5). How do you scale proportionally the glyphs? There's a "Mathematical" law to do this? For changing weight I mean how to change the shape of each letter


  • Are you asking what the differences between light and heavy fonts should be? Or are you asking how to distribute weight values within an interpolation space?
  • The second one
  • Usually designers start with a mathematical framework and then make lots of adjustments. A simple starting point is to break your weights down with geometric means. For example, if you have regular and bold, set the interpolation values of those fonts in your font editor to the value of the vertical stem of a typical letter like H or n. Then add a semibold instance and set its value to the geometric mean of the regular and bold masters. Lucas deGroot and Pablo Impallari have both gone deeper into the math and you can read more by digging around with Google. If you use Glyphs there’s a script, Add Instances, in Rainer’s github repository that will calculate values using these different equations.

    Once you have all of your instances set up using math as a basis you need to test the fonts in print and see what’s too light/heavy/wide/etc. What I usually do is set them up on a grid in Indesign with pages for caps, lowercase, both, text, etc, print it out, tape it to the wall, and look at it for a few days. Then I print an adjusted version and repeat until I’m sick of looking at it happy.

    You should read the book The Modification of Letterforms by Stanley Hess. It can be a PITA to acquire but it’s worth it.
  • Thanks Dave. I usually scribble a curve on graph paper to calculate weights but not anymore.
  • Any thoughts on the difference between the Impallari and Luc(as) Formula?
  • As Frutiger said, the only thing that counts is how it looks
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,013
    edited February 2016
    One thing to avoid is a Bold in which the width of vertical stems is close to or the same as the gap between them. That’s the sort of thing that can happen with interpolation.
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