Rookie question. Is there no easy way to adjust a font file letter spacing and word spacing?

edited June 6 in Type Design Software
I'm trying to adjust this font file's letter spacing and word spacing to fit my needs to what I think it looks good, but it seems like it's not as easy as in CSS by simply strapping letter-spacing and word-spacing code lines.
It's been frustrating because, as far as I'm seeing, the only way to change those values is by manually adjusting each glyph. I can't do that. I don't know how and I can't afford someone to do that kind of job.
Is there a way to change those values easily, just like you can with Adobe or CSS? The values I want to replicate are these:
letter-spacing: -0.004em;<br>word-spacing: 0.005em;
Is it even worth the hassle? I'm trying to do this because the standalone font file as it is has weird word and letter spacing, but I'm trying so hard on this one because I want to implement it into my brand.




Comments

  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 600
    There are a whole flow-chart of questions we need to ask here:
    • Do you have permission, through the font's license, to do this? If not, stop now.
    • When you say the font's spacing is "weird", is it consistent and good, just not as loose/tight as you like? If the spacing truly is weird, you need to manually adjust each glyph anyway.
    • In what contexts are you looking to use the font? If it's web, then maybe the CSS solution would actually do what you want. If it's in some design app, can't you just twiddle the letter-spacing and word-spacing settings?
    • Now assuming that you do need to actually adjust the font, in what format do you have the font? Source or binary?
    • If source, do you have access to a font editor? If so, then you can script the sidebearing adjustment in Python, or use an editor plugin to do it for you?
    • If binary... well, check question one above again, and then take a look at this script. It doesn't quite do what you want (it does one glyph at a time) but you can easily modify it to edit all the glyphs in the font.

  • Matthew SmithMatthew Smith Posts: 58
    • Do you have permission, through the font's license, to do this? If not, stop now.

    I would change this to: Have you reached out to the type designer/foundry that produced the font you using? If it is a small foundry, chances are they would be willing to do make this adjustment free of charge.

    • If it's in some design app, can't you just twiddle the letter-spacing and word-spacing settings?

    Is there a way to adjust the word spacing in the Adobe programs?

    The tracking equivalent of your CSS would simply be -4. But if you are trying to implement this on a brand scale, then having to check if the tracking and word spacing is set every time could become annoying. So it may be worth returning to speaking with the designer/foundry.
  • k_lk_l Posts: 55
    edited June 6
    Is there a way to adjust the word spacing in the Adobe programs?
    Yes, as % of word space, see this random search result for a screenshot of the dialog.
  • edited June 6
    There are a whole flow-chart of questions we need to ask here:
    • Do you have permission, through the font's license, to do this? If not, stop now.

    I would change this to: Have you reached out to the type designer/foundry that produced the font you using? If it is a small foundry, chances are they would be willing to do make this adjustment free of charge.
     It's Switzer from ITF Fontshare free typefaces. So no, it's not from a small foundry. I just went trough their licensing and it sounds like it's not permitted:

    "02 Limitations of Usage
    You may not modify, edit, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble, alter or otherwise copy the Font Software or the designs embodied therein in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the Licensor."

    So yeah, I guess that would be it for this issue.

    There are a whole flow-chart of questions we need to ask here:
    • When you say the font's spacing is "weird", is it consistent and good, just not as loose/tight as you like? If the spacing truly is weird, you need to manually adjust each glyph anyway.
    The spacing is good and consistent, but not as tight as I would like it to be.

    There are a whole flow-chart of questions we need to ask here:
    • In what contexts are you looking to use the font? If it's web, then maybe the CSS solution would actually do what you want. If it's in some design app, can't you just twiddle the letter-spacing and word-spacing settings?
    I'm indeed intending to use it on web, but I was thinking on other contexts that don't allow that much customization as CSS does. For example, in PPT you can't adjust letter spacing with negative values and in Adobe Illustrator you can't adjust word spacing at all. (not in v2019 at least)
    The other three questions I don't know how to answer them. I was using Font Forge to fiddle with the font files, but I had no idea what I was doing.

    k_l said:
    Is there a way to adjust the word spacing in the Adobe programs?
    Yes, as % of word space, see this random search result for a screenshot of the dialog.
    Not in Adobe Illustrator at least, which is my main design software.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,265
    Yes, that exact same dialog exists in Adobe Illustrator.
    It’s the Justification dialog, available from the Paragraph panel.
    Despite what one might (quite reasonably!) assume, changing the preferred word spacing does indeed affect non-justified text as well.
  • k_lk_l Posts: 55
    Why not just ask ITF (email address at the bottom of the page)?
  • edited June 6
    k_l said:
    Why not just ask ITF (email address at the bottom of the page)?
    I did ask them trough Instagram, and this is what they said:


    They sound willing to do it, but for a fee. I initially told them I would pay them, but as I got more into the topic, I realized it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. That obviously would raise the fee.
    Even still, after reading their licensing and knowing they won't allow modifications, it puts a halt to most of my intentions of customizing the font files.
  • Justin PennerJustin Penner Posts: 27
    You could:
    a) Specify letterspacing/wordspacing in your brand guidelines document. I've seen examples of this a few times before, and from a designer's perspective I think it's helpful to have typographic details like this in your brand guidelines.
    b) Try a different typeface that allows modifications, or one that already has the spacing you want. Inter might be a good candidate since it's free and open-source, so you're allowed to modify it.
  • edited June 7

    You could:
    a) Specify letterspacing/wordspacing in your brand guidelines document. I've seen examples of this a few times before, and from a designer's perspective I think it's helpful to have typographic details like this in your brand guidelines.
    b) Try a different typeface that allows modifications, or one that already has the spacing you want. Inter might be a good candidate since it's free and open-source, so you're allowed to modify it.

    Inter was indeed between the typefaces I was looking for, but I discarded it after all.
    If you're curious, I've been looking for a Helvetica alternative since I started using Arial to replace hard-to-read web fonts (via a Firefox toggling extension). As a result, I began to place a higher value on the readability of Helvetica/Arial. Since then, I've spent the last month scouring the internet for a good readability Helvetica/Sans/Humanist typeface.
    Switzer won out in the end, but I had a lot of good options to choose from. Nimbus Sans L was the most difficult to get rid of.


  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 213
    You can, in fact, tighten letter spacing in PPT, although the terminology is a little confusing.

    On the Mac: Format > Font > Character Spacing, then select "Condensed" and enter the desired value. It won't match Adobe CC spacing, so this will involve some trial and error.



  • You can, in fact, tighten letter spacing in PPT, although the terminology is a little confusing.

    On the Mac: Format > Font > Character Spacing, then select "Condensed" and enter the desired value. It won't match Adobe CC spacing, so this will involve some trial and error.

    Oh well, that solves all my worries.

    — Letter spacing and word spacing on web? CSS can do it.
    — Word Spacing on Illustrator? Paragraph → Justification tab can solve it
    — Letter spacing on PPT? Condensed values can fix it.

    The only problem I'm not sure if I'll be able to solve is using it as a system predefined font that, when toggled on, replaces all (sans) fonts in Firefox.


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