While working on my book, I needed words or phrases that contained the most distinctive glyphs from each typeface while meeting width and language requirements, along with other criteria. Finding these phrases can be fun, but it can also be much more difficult and time-consuming than one might think, particularly with unfamiliar languages. I got some help from Scrabble tools
and a few friends (Frank Grießhammer, Tânia Raposo, Miguel Sousa, Laura Serra) and ended up with a pretty good list
, but the experience made me wish for a tool to assist with future projects.
Of course, there are a few fine tools developed to help type designers test and proof their fonts. These include:
Beyond font testing, these tools can also be useful for creating word lists for typeface showings and specimens. But because they are mostly intended for font development, they miss a few features that would aid in showing off a finished font. Here’s what I’d love to see in a single tool:
- Select language(s)
- Define key characters: ______ (case sensitive)
- Allow characters other than key characters: yes/no
- Allow proper nouns: yes/no
- Allow words, phrases, or both
- Sort results: alphabetically, by word length (# of letters), or by # of key characters contained
e.g. Input: gaoesf
Output: flagpoles flages poles foes lop …
I have a feeling I'm not the only one who would use this. Anyone who makes type specimens could benefit. Perhaps one of those tools mentioned above could be quickly amended to include these features. (I’m ashamed to say I don't have the coding knowledge to know how difficult that would be.) I’m happy to pitch in a few bucks if that will help. Maybe others would too.