Ability to use instances for setting Variation Font Origin

Atm, we can only set the Variation Font Origin using font masters. It would be great if instances could be used.

At GF, many families only have two masters, Light and Bold. This means the origin can’t be the Regular.

The parameter defines what master is used to build the glyph table. Using an instance as origin, would mean to blow up the font size.

We might need another parameter that defines the default axes locations.

That makes sense.


Quick workaround is to insert the instance as master (there is now an option in the bottom left menu in Font Info > Instances).

I’ve got this same question now, but with an additional question: If we add an instance as master, why can’t that one also be named as Variation Font Origin? If it can be, why would it increase file size? Isn’t the VF made of just one set of outlines?

There is only one set of outlines. That is the origin. And for each extra masters you need a set of deltas that encodes the differences to that origin. So if your origin is the Light and you have one other Bold master you have one set of deltas. If you now insert a Regular master in the middle you need two sets of deltas. One from Regular to Light and one from Regular to Bold. Two sets of deltas mean bigger files.
And all that only to change what you see in an app that doesn’t support variable fonts. Because that is all the origin is defining.