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Generated, modular typeface based on thi.ng wordmark
TypeScript Python
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assets publish: 0.0.7 Feb 9, 2020
font publish: 0.0.7 Feb 9, 2020
specs feat: update banner gen to use pre-built font, update pkg list Feb 10, 2020
src feat: update banner gen to use pre-built font, update pkg list Feb 10, 2020
.gitignore feat: initial import Feb 1, 2020
.prettierignore feat: split hgap/vgap, fix bridge(), publish Feb 3, 2020
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README.md

thi.ng/font

About

Generated, modular font based on thi.ng wordmark. Currently only includes lowercase ASCII characters (also mapped to uppercase), digits, some punctuation, but will be extended further...

screenshot

Status

WIP / Alpha

See project board for future ideas.

Download

Download font as OTF (v0.0.7)

Big shouts to the opentype.js & FontForge teams for simplifying OTF file generation!

Contributing

You're welcome to contribute customized and/or extended versions by adding new font spec JSON files (see section below). These different versions will be built and distributed as part of the same font family. The shared use of the underlying (changeable) grid layout and shape grammar would be the common lowest denominator of these variations.

Building

git clone https://github.com/thi-ng/font.git
cd font
yarn install

# generate all font variations
yarn build:all

# generate specific font variation(s) (globs supported)
yarn build specs/*.json

# generate SVG banners
yarn build:banners

# generate debug grid
yarn debug

(All generated assets will be written to /build...)

Glyph definition / configuration

layout grid

All glyphs are defined via a grid of N columns x M rows, a set of global parametric relationships defining dot radius, slant angle and grid cell sizes, plus custom grammar strings for each individual glyph.

All of these are defined in JSON files like this: base.json, which can/should be used as template for defining new variations.

The overall character aspect ratio, spacing and line width are adjustable via these global params (See api.ts for further details.):

  • r: Dot radius, the fundamental param on which everything else is based on (50).
  • gap: Horizontal and vertical gaps to define grid cell size ([30, 15]).
  • extent: Descender/ascender limits in number of rows ([-4, 11])
  • slant: Slant direction vector as columns & rows ([1, 7])

The default slant angle (~16.5 deg) ensures that in the glyph sequence i. the two dots are horizontally aligned (as in the thi.ng wordmark and illustrated in the above diagram).

The default ascender/descender and grid configuration uses 15 rows with these key row IDs:

  • row 0 (0x00) = max descender
  • row 4 (0x04) = baseline
  • row 10 (0x0a) = x-height
  • row 14 (0x0e) = max ascender

Shape grammar

All glyphs are based on these 4 basic shape types:

  • vertical lines
  • horizontal lines
  • diagonals
  • dots
DIGIT = '0'..'9' | 'a'..'e' # All coords are 4-bit hex nibbles
VLINE = DIGIT DIGIT
HLINE = 'h' DIGIT DIGIT
HLINE_SHIFT = 'H' DIGIT DIGIT
DIAG = '/' DIGIT DIGIT
DOT = '.' DIGIT
ADVANCE = '>'

SHAPE = (VLINE | HLINE | HLINE_SHIFT | DIAG | DOT | ADVANCE)*

Examples:

  • 0e => vertical line from row 0x00 -> row 0x0e
  • hb3 => h bridge @ row 0x0b width = 3 (aka multiple of global R param)
  • Hb3 => same as h, but shifted right by R
  • /4a => diagonal from row 4 in curr column to row 0xa in next column
  • .7 => dot @ row 0x07
  • > => advance X (next column)

For example, the lowercase a glyph is encoded by this string: 58h44h94>59 and translates to:

  • vertical line from row 5 -> 8
  • horizontal bridge in row 4, w=4
  • horizontal bridge in row 9, w=4
  • advance to next column
  • vertical line from 5 -> 9

Note: The sub-shapes should be arranged/split in such a way as to avoid/minimize overdraws...

Glyph spec format

The following snippet shows the spec for a single glyph (see base.json):

{
    "name": "a",
    "id": 97,
    "g": "58h44h94>59",
    "x": [0, 0],
    "width": [2, 0]
}
  • Only the name or id attrib is required. The id field is only needed if name is missing or longer than a single char. Likewise, if name is missing, it will be derived from the given id (Unicode) value.
  • The x offset is only needed if the glyph is not horizontally aligned to 0. It's a two element array of [a, b] and will be translated to: a * columnWidth + b * r.
  • The width is only needed for manual overriding of the computed width. If given, the same logic as for x is used to compute the final value.

FontForge post-processing

Since opentype.js doesn't support the creation of GPOS/kern tables, those hints will need to be added to the generated font file(s) in a post-processing step, here using FontForge.

Furthermore, due to the modular design approach, most generated glyphs will consist of multiple sub-paths, incl. possible overlaps. The postprocess.py script will take care of that too.

# install fontforge (if needed)
brew cask install fontforge

# build fonts for all available specs
yarn build:all

# pass a generated font and its JSON spec as input
yarn postprocess -i build/thing-regular-0.0.6-1581258015.otf -k specs/base.json
# processing font: build/thing-regular-0.0.6-1581258015.otf
# cleaning glyphs...
# add kern pair: ' t 80
# add kern pair: " t 80
# add kern pair: / t 80
# add kern pair: # t 80
# add kern pair: ] t 80
# add kern pair: d t 80
# add kern pair: f t 80
# add kern pair: l t 80
# add kern pair: g j 50
# add kern pair: j j 50
# add kern pair: q j 50
# add kern pair: y j 50
# writing build/thing-regular-0.0.6-1581258015-kerned.otf

Note: the yarn postprocess script currently assumes OSX and that FontForge is installed in /Applications/FontForge.app. You might need to edit package.json to adapt for other environments...

Licenses

  • Source: Apache Software License 2.0
  • Font: SIL Open Font License 1.1

© 2020 Karsten Schmidt

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