Unicode insanity

I recently received a request from a client to update some fonts they have licensed to include all the glyphs in these Unicode ranges:
  1. 2190     Arrows
  2. 2300     Miscellaneous Technical
  3. 2460     Enclosed Alphanumerics
  4. 2500     Box Drawing
  5. 2580     Block Elements
  6. 25A0     Geometric Shapes
  7. 2600     Miscellaneous Symbols
  8. 2700     Dingbats
  9. 27F0     Supplemental Arrows-A
  10. 2900     Supplemental Arrows-B
  11. 2B00     Miscellaneous Symbols and Arrows
  12. 1F780   Geometric Shapes Extended
  13. 1F800   Supplemental Arrows-C
Have any of you recieved a similar request. 1903 glyphs in total


  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,034
    Yes. Although not all of those particular blocks in one project.

    Characters are encoded in blocks in Unicode for convenience, but unfortunately this quite often leads to software makers asking for fonts to support complete blocks rather than selected characters that they might actually need: it is easier for them to specify complete blocks than to take the time to think about individual characters or subsets. I say ‘unfortunately’, because even though being paid to do such work, it is seldom enjoyable and often frustrating to spend a lot of time making things that are unlikely ever to be used.

    It is also worth pointing out that in the case of some Unicode blocks—although typically not these symbol blocks—supporting complete blocks doesn’t always result in supporting the scripts or languages whose characters are included in those blocks.
  • Andreas Stötzner
    Make a good price for each single glyph ($25…35?) and ask back if they really want all of the 1903.
    And yeah, welcome to hell.
  • James Montalbano
    James Montalbano Posts: 89
    edited May 18
    @Andreas  I've done just that, and have been told to wait until funding has been approved!

    And not only that, they want this applied to 2 fonts now, and a third font ing the future.
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,785
    If confronted with a request like this, should I be inclined do the work, I might be tempted to do it with at least a weight axis. If these are mostly fairly generic glyphs, I would love to just do those just once, and be able to cover my needs, now _and_ in the future.

    Of course, one would need to be sure the contract terms allowed for this. Don’t want the client thinking you have done something inappropriate.
  • Yves Michel
    Yves Michel Posts: 162
    I find the title "unsanity" quite adapted.
  • André G. Isaak
    André G. Isaak Posts: 630
    edited May 19
    Do they simply want the glyphs present, or do they actually care that they harmonize perfectly with the other glyphs... I mean there are open source fonts from which you could steal these...

    Just sayin'
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,785
    Most of those open source fonts are licensed under the Open Font License, so that would be a problem for taking glyphs from them and putting those glyphs in a proprietary font.
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,099
    edited May 19
    Most of those open source fonts are licensed under the Open Font License, so that would be a problem for taking glyphs from them and putting those glyphs in a proprietary font.

    Yes, of course, just as with the GPL. But there is also the BSD license, which is why we have Darwin within OS X. So all there has to be is one font out there which implements a massive chunk of Unicode and which is under a BSD-like license.
    Which, of course, is not to say that there is one. After all, that's a lot of work to do and just give away completely.

    EDIT: I believe that I may have found one. The Sorts Mill project licenses their fonts under the MIT license. While Sorts Mill Goudy just has a small character set, Linden Hill seems to have a huge chunk of Unicode. However, this of course needs to be double-checked before proceeding. Further checking has indeed found I am mistaken: Linden Hill is licensed under the OFL license, as the League of Movable Type is its creator.
  • Vasil Stanev
    Vasil Stanev Posts: 764
    edited May 26
    @Andreas  I've done just that
    Absolutely correct. I would use a price of $25-35 per Glyph to hire some team of underlings to draw 1900 glyphs and supervise and tweak the result. Nothing 'hellish' about it, simple business.