Monospaced ligatures

I’ve designed a monospaced typeface. It’s intended for running text, not programming. There are three f ligatures (ff, fl, fi). Does it make sense to leave them in LIGA or should I stick them in DLIG to avoid confusing people? I’m inclined to go with LIGA because it looks cool and most people have no idea how to use discretionary ligatures. But before I do I’m checking to see if there’s a way for this to go horribly wrong.


  • Khaled Hosny
    Khaled Hosny Posts: 289
    In the few monospased fonts that I have seen with ligatures, they looked ugly and cramped so I’d rather not have such ligatures on by default. Ligatures would also break the promise of monospaceness of the font, well unless they occupy as many cells as their individual characters.
  • Ray Larabie
    Ray Larabie Posts: 1,385
    Leave the the f ligatures blank in monospaced fonts—they should produce a .notdef character if someone hard-codes them.
  • Theunis de Jong
    Theunis de Jong Posts: 112
    edited July 2017
    The purpose of ligatures is to provide an alternative for clashing or overlapping characters. The /f ligatures you mention are merely the most famous example, because in a lot of fonts the overhang of the /f runs into the dot of a next /i or /l.

    With that in mind: why would you need a ligature -- any -- in a monospaced font?

    The only reason /fi and /fl may appear as single character (!) in a monospaced font is not so it would be used as a "feature", but rather because these two are valid codepoints in a few legacy character sets.
  • The purpose of ligatures is to provide an alternative for clashing or overlapping characters.

    Not only.
  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,152
    Monospaced fonts are funny-looking, so ligatures fit right in, so to speak—I will expect to see the quaints c_t and s_t too!
  • Belleve Invis
    In Iosevka I kept the /f_i and /f_l for WGL4 compatibility.
    There is no `liga` feature, though there IS a `calt` (and many no-standard features) to support "programming ligation".
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,092
    edited August 2017
    I have seen ligatures in monospaced typestyles used with the older Hammond typewriters that preceded the Vari-Typer. Some of the catalogs in which the styles are illustrated are online. So I know it's been done, strange though it may seem.

    Here is an image of where this is proclaimed as a feature:

  • joeclark
    joeclark Posts: 122

    I have a few examples of monospaced ligatures on my Flickr, none of them entirely convincing.

    As I recall, the practice in such typefaces as Palatino and Optima, where by design f never collided with i in roman, was to simply encode exactly the letters fi in default spacing in the slot.

  • Dave Crossland
    Space Mono did it but will likely remove it in the next release
  • BTW did Colophon ever actually fix the "M"/"W" in Space Mono?