Create one glyph and extrapolate its design to create others?

When designing/creating a glyph, do you then design all remaining required glyphs from scratch (say, a Latin character set) or do you have an application that allows you to extrapolate from one (or several) glyphs to get the others created? Is the latter even possible?


  • That tool does not exist yet AFAIK. Currently we have to do it ourself.

    Lately I have been thinking about it, and started looking at tutorials to learn the basics about how it works. Creating such a tool must be possible and it's something that intrigues me and catches my imagination. 
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,265
    I'm currently using the GlyphConstruction format, which is used in RoboFont and FontLab to fill out glyph sets. I use pieces of glyphs designed for reuse, and write simple programs to construct glyphs. Usually, there's some surgery required, but it sets up the position and scaling of the parts and sets the sidebearings, which saves some time. Those construction pieces can be deleted later or flagged to prevent exporting. I don't use it for the alphabet, apart from i and j, but it can generate the majority of punctuation and math symbols. It's done in stages, so I can generate parts, refine them, and they can be incorporated into upcoming stages. For example: I make a copy of the macron and use it to generate the yen symbol. I decompose and make adjustments to the crossbar, that becomes a new throwaway non-encoded glyph called “moneybar” which is used to generate other currency symbols. When I start the Greek section I'll start with an iota and that will be used to generate the pi and tau…maybe the left side of the alpha. The generation of diacritic marks can be partially automated. I start with a grave accent and a period within a couple of stages, I'll have the non-spacing marks filled out. They still need adjustment, but it places approximately correct glyphs at the correct position and sidebearings.
  • I believe Laurence Penney and Irene Vlachou do something analogous to this with their FauxFoundry utility for synthesizing Greek letterforms derived from existing Latin type designs.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,021
    I believe Laurence Penney and Irene Vlachou do something analogous to this with their FauxFoundry utility for synthesizing Greek letterforms derived from existing Latin type designs.

    I visited that page, and tried to register, but I did not get a confirmation E-mail from it. It may be that the site is no longer operational. Or, perhaps, I just have to be more patient, it may be the replies are not automated.
  • The Penney/Vlachou FauxFoundry approach analyzes the existing glyphs in the font to abstract the design principles for adding some more… very much like this: which we invented for glyph synthesis during conversion to OpenType, for adding euros and “symbol substitution” glyphs.

    The patent had just expired a few months before I first heard about FauxFoundry; I was glad I did not have to warn them about potential infringement! I remember Lorp telling me he hadn’t heard of the patent, which seemed completely plausible.
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 141
    edited December 2022
    When Glyphs stopped using makeotf to compile (which had the -adds flag for adding some symbols automatically) I wrote a script to replace it and build most of the basic math symbols. across all masters it measures /n, /hyphen, a dot accent, and tabular zero (so we know the tabular size), as well as a variable for adjusting the overall size (note to self: I should really make a UI for this one). you can see how this logic (measuring and placing things, drawing outlines and expanding them) works well for something like math symbols where there isn't so much variance.
    I'm not familiar with Lorp's methods on Greek but I'm sure they are much more complex :smile:

    on the same subject, I also wrote a script for placing #entry and #exit anchors to create composite glyphs in Cyrillic, but that was a while ago and I would do it it differently (and support more glyphs) if I were to write it again
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