RoboFont for making Arabic fonts

Mostafa HajizadehMostafa Hajizadeh Posts: 35
edited June 2012 in Type Design Software
From The Influences of Greta Arabic:
For the production of Greta Arabic, Erik van Blokland developed a unique set of tools for the process usually done with Microsoft VOLT. Erik created three RoboFont plugins that allow creation of right-to-left kerning, generation of vocalisation marks for the letters and ligatures, and generation of the right OpenType features for the Arabic font production.Traditionally, when designing Arabic fonts, designers work on Macs and then do the final steps of production on a Windows machine using VOLT. Erik’s tools streamlined the process and blurred the borders between the design and production phase of the project.
@LettError, can you share with us more information, and probably more screenshots, about these plugins? They seem to be addressing some very common problems that are interesting for anyone who builds Arabic fonts.


  • Peter and Kristyan really wanted to produce these fonts without having to resort to MS Volt, new additions to the Adobe FDK and UFO made it possible. Though there were some tricky bits to solve, finding some bugs here and there.

    There is no plugin with a magic button that makes everything right. Currently it's all tied up in the Greta workflow (which is innovative in its own right), so not everything will be for general consumption (yet). But the next project will help to separate the specific from the generic and the really hard stuff has been done. The tools combine precise control over the stuff that matters, with automatic crunching of massive amounts of numbers.

    There is a nice left-to-right kerning tool, and an anchor markup tool. Most of the work happens while building the features: various kerning lookups, mark to mark, mark to base and mark to ligature are generated based on anchor placement and font structure.
  • Sometimes I think we really need a The Setup-style blog for type designers.

    Thank you for the explanation, Erik. I'm looking forward to learning more about your work.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,669
    But the next project will help to separate the specific from the generic and the really hard stuff has been done.
    Does that mean we can expect a release for other users, or will these tools remain proprietary to Typotheque?
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