Twenty-First: a living derivative of the late URW++'s C059, essentially Century Schoolbook

edited April 2021 in Type Releases
Hello TypeDrawers. This is my first post here, I have been reading TypeDrawers for years, and now I have something to share.

I have always loved Century Schoolbook, but its various adaptations don't always love me back.
The other day I was setting a document with C059, which is my favourite adaptation because it has acceptable Greek, and pleasant Cyrillic glyphs, and I can embed it wherever I'd like without worrying about the license(s) and usage tracking etc.

In any event, I noticed when viewing the document in a web browser that some lines were taller than others for no obvious reason. It turns out that C059 does not have a U+2011 NON-BREAKING HYPHEN character, and the browser was falling back to a font with completely different metrics to get it.

So I went into FontForge and added the glyph, referencing the hyphen-minus, and my document was pretty again... but then I got to thinking: is the other hyphen-minus character, U+00AD SOFT HYPHEN, a composite character with the hyphen-minus as a component? No, it's copied manually.
This got me looking at the other glyphs. Many of the precomposed characters had simple transcription mistakes, probably somebody carelessly tapping an arrow key or dragging their mouse, that set them apart from the base glyphs.

This font was developed with underpowered tools that encouraged creating divergent copies of everything, even things that should be absolutely identical.

So anyway I started blasting at the font, glyph by glyph, resolving my little nitpicks; and it occurred to me that if I'm going to put hours of effort into this, I might as well publish it.

So here it is: I call it Twenty-First, it is up on GitHub at https://github.com/xorgy/twenty-first, it retains all of the licenses that C059 was released under (including SIL OFL), and it is an ongoing effort. The goal is to make incremental improvements to the font, and adapt it to today's tools. So far I've done most of my changes in Emacs instead of any font editor, and I have most of the important coordinates and metrics just sitting in my head, so there aren't any guide lines or other aids in the files yet.

I want to expand the character set, but not in any ambitious way; adding things like a Ruble or Cedi sign, or slightly increasing the Cyrillic character set to accommodate more languages, or adding small capitals and non-lining figures; that sort of thing. I would like to make the Roman and Bold outlines more similar to eachother, and the Italic and Bold Italic more similar as well. I would also like to improve the kerning and accent composition across the set of supported languages, as I don't need or want it to be completely metric compatible like C059 was.

Most of all, I would like it to still basically be Century Schoolbook, identical enough that you could use it in a brief to the Supreme Court of the United States and nobody would bat an eye.

If you have ideas or tools that could make the masters more elegant, or you want to try your hand at improving the grimier contours (some of the Bold Italic strikes are pretty slapdash), or you want to add some παράδοξες πολυτόνες to this latinized Greek, or maybe you want to try something ambitious like adding the Cherokee syllabary, please do. :+ )
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