Feature Request: Sketchpad


I have a suggestion for a possible new feature called Sketchpad. Sketchpad would be blank canvas (accessible from the toolbar), in which designers can draw various elements, letterforms, icons, logotypes, etc. — free from the boundaries of font metrics. Designers can copy/paste elements to a specific glyph, or export them as an SVG or EPS document. An option to “Insert Glyph” would allow designers to insert any glyph from the current Glyphs document…

Any thoughts?

I have some ideas in that direction. I show something when it is ready.

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Awesome! Looking forward to what you come up with Georg.

I’m a big fan of this idea. I would also like to see a notepad area in glyphs. This would just be an area where I can write notes—things like development history, why certain special glyphs exist, values used to generate small caps with RMX, etc. This would provide a standard location for notes when type designers are collaborating and in open-source releases.

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You mean notes for glyphs, or notes for the whole font? Both are possible already. I have notes plugins for both the font and the glyph.

Didn’t you say the plugins weren’t working any more? I’d love to see how a font-level task list could work.

Exactly. I know font note exists as custom parameter, but it needs a good UI. And do not ask me to develop a palette extension.

Any news regarding the “sketchpad” idea? I’m thinking it could probably be a plugin instead of a default feature, but what’s the best way to approach this? My knowledge with python is very limited. Anyone interested in making something like this?

Back in the days, FontLab sent out a questionnaire to gather new ideas and I stated the same idea. It would be wonderful to be able to sketch around. I could also imagine to be able to select (parts of) the sketches to be inserted as a kind of component.

Don’t know if this has been developed more. Otherwise, is it possible to have a non-exporting glyph with no metrics at all, scripting somehow? My solution for the moment was creating a new font with a UPM of 16384 and setting the width to 16384, to have a big canvas and subdivision to 100. But I wonder if there’s a better approach.

You can get something closer to a sketchpad by

  1. selecting a glyph (in Font View or Edit View),
  2. choosing EditInfo for Selection,
  3. enabling the Category property and setting it to Icon.

Now you can freely set the width and height of the glyph:

Great, thanks!

Here is a script that automates creating a sketchpad glyph:

sketchpad = GSGlyph("sketchpad")  # glyph name
sketchpad.category = "Icon"
sketchpad.storeCategory = True
for layer in sketchpad.layers:
	layer.width = 1200  # width
	layer.vertWidth = 1200  # height
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Thanks. Actually I’ve been playing with that sketchpad glyph, and seeing the limits. So adding it here in case it helps someone or if something can be changed to make it work better:

  • Although the size of the icon glyph has almost no limits, the maximum area that Glyphs allow to draw is of 64000x64000, centered at x:0 and y:0.
  • Which means that a glyph of more than 32000x32000 would make no sense at all (I’d say this should be set as a limit).
  • If the font has an UPM of 16384 (maximum allowed) the highest and lowest points that you can reach when zooming are y:8992 and y:-8392 respectively.

In conclusion, in a font of 16384UPM the biggest functional sketchpad glyph that you can have is of 32000x8992.
In a font of 1000UPM, the maximum would be of 3467x2500.

Unless there is a way to turn off the scroll limits…