While working on a typeface, how do you handle all those candidates for the same glyph?

Eventually you'll choose one, but in the meantime you've got five or ten or even twenty /a/'s. Where do you put them? How do you make them easily switchable for previewing and testing purposes?


  • I copy them into different layers of the glyph in Glyphs. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 456
    +1 for the .alt method
  • Glyphs layers are meant for that. 
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 286
    edited June 2018
    Thanks :smile:
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,451
    edited June 2018
    I use the accented character spots at first, when working in FontLab. That way I can easily type them into the metrics window.

    But if I am going to make a font and test it in a layout application, then I use Paul’s method.
  • I force myself to make a decision.
    Yes but isn't reviewing candidates often the basis for making the decision?
  • In Glyphs I use the .ssXX naming similar to the above, the OT feature lets you quickly autocompile the alternates code and you can then use the preview window to type out and test swap by using the OT feature.
  • I line them up laterally in the background layer, promptly make a –provisional– selection which I put in the main layer, but leave them all in the background forever.
  • I add .1 .2 .3 etc. like Mark. It saves time on putting them in the metrics window by not having to type .alt each time.
  • .ss01 - .ss20 for the time being. 
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,726
    edited June 2018
    I'll throw them in ss01-20... then if I keep them, I already have the features started, just need to do variants (such as accented versions of the same letters).

    I have been less disciplined than some folks here about going back and killing alternates before release, but with the result that sometimes I see them in use years later and think “you know, that wasn’t really a great idea” or “mostly good, except I went the wrong way in the treatment on that one glyph” (darn unicase r in Hypatia Sans still bugs me).

    So I am now a big fan of going back at the end and doing one last serious re-think of such “extras.” Just make sure you still like them all.
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