Primer in font coding and font technology

Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 566
edited July 24 in Font Technology
Hello,
I would like to get my feet wet in the technical side of fonts because I feel, as a designer, that there may be some iportant things I might be missing by blindly using the default settings of whichever font editor I use, and because a huge part of newcomers, I feel, don't know how to code their fonts properly and this could give me an edge, not to mention also an exit ticket from support hell for angry customers. I tried to decipher the technical documentation of GPOS tables and similar concepts, but the jargon proved too much for me, and there seem to be many legacy and carry-over issues that are not applicable any more except in rare cases. Is there a hardcover book somewhere on Amazon or a documentation in clear non-geek terms that can get me started, besides the Typography part of the Microsoft website? :)

Comments

  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 445
    edited July 24
    There's not really a good hardcopy book on font engineering, (well, there's Fonts and Encodings but it's a bit dated and I wouldn't say it's easy to follow) but I am writing an online book which should help you: Fonts and Layout for Global Scripts.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 566
    There's not really a good hardcopy book on font engineering, (well, there's Fonts and Encodings but it's a bit dated and I wouldn't say it's easy to follow) but I am writing an online book which should help you: Fonts and Layout for Global Scripts.
    I will definitely be checking it out! Thanks and bravo for your hard work on it! :)
  • ...I tried to decipher the technical documentation of GPOS tables and similar concepts, but the jargon proved too much for me, and there seem to be many legacy and carry-over issues that are not applicable any more except in rare cases...
    Can you clarify what you were about to follow in the documentation versus what was too much jargon, and versus what seemed to be legacy?

    Did you try reading any of the following? If so, what was or wasn't helpful?

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/opentype/spec/ttochap1
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/opentype/processing-part1
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/opentype/otdevinfo
  • Hin-Tak LeungHin-Tak Leung Posts: 283
    I find the GPOS / GSUB part hard, and I maintain some font related software and contributed to many others for about two decades... Besides "Fonts and encodings" already mentioned, I 'd also suggest another O'Reilly book, "CJKV processing" by Ken Lunde. A bit dated but covers the concepts well.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,214
    With Fonts and Encoding, beware that the code listings are flawed. Because of some kind of formatting error, negative numbers are missing in the listings, replaced with hyphens. They've never reprinted it or fixed this.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,875
    There are a lot of errors in Fonts & Encodings. At least, the English version is quite error-riddled, and some of the errors seem like “howlers” in terms of how basic they are as far as font tech goes.

    For example, the standard em square for PostScript Type 1 and OpenType CFF fonts is 1000, not 1024.
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