Going dotty

I’m making a font in which the glyphs are composed of many small, identical circles (dots).
If, rather than render each dot as a fresh element, I were to create one glyph that is a master dot, and link to that for each dot, non-decomposed, (hundreds per character), would there be any pitfalls?
Presumably this would make a smaller font that loads and renders faster.


  • If I'm remembering correctly, that's the approach Petr took with Bitcount. Since he's not on here, you might try asking him directly. If you don't already have his contact info, it is here
  • Hi Nick. If you make it in Glyphs, there’s a special property that speeds up export called Disable Subroutines you should set under Instances. If you intend to align these dots to a Cartesian grid, I recommend this guide: https://glyphsapp.com/tutorials/pixelfont Looking forward to seeing it.

  • Maybe ask Nina Stössinger about her experience with Sélavy.
  • I've done this without running into any problems. If you plan on interpolating, you need to watch the order of components.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,328
    Thanks everyone!
    It seems to have worked out OK for Petr and Jackson.
    Nina’s font has decomposed dots.
    I’ll give it a try and see if I run into any problems due to the huge number of dots I’m planning. Disabling subroutines might be useful, if I do.
  • The first hurdle I ran into was a bezier point cap and didn't get any issues with the amount of component items. Mind, the component count was a bit lower than what you have planned.

    I don't think disabling the subroutines is even needed since each glyph is based on one central component, making exporting crazily fast.

    Interested into the results! The idea sounds exciting!
  • I did something similar for VT 323 when I reworked it for Google. You could have a look at https://github.com/Fonthausen/VT323/tree/master/old/v3.000

    I do not know how well experienced you are with Glyphs, but in VT 323 I also used smart components.
  • Decovar also does this
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