Hebrew 101 - A few questions :)

Hey guys,

A few questions from a first timer :wink:

  • The height of the Hebrew letter is higher than the x-height and lower than Cap.
    Is there any guide for the Hebrew letters height? (It’s probably not going to be the x-height nor the Cap).
    As much as I know Hebrew type designers uses the small caps as guide, it seems a bit weird to me as I want to keep small caps for their main propose.

  • Is there any tutorial for diacritics in Hebrew and how align them?

Thanks in advance,


In the Masters tab of File > Font Info… (Command-I), add the Custom Parameter shoulderHeight. That’ll add a metric line for Hebrew glyphs instead of the x-Height. This is similar to how the smallCapHeight custom parameter works. It’s mentioned in the Glyphs 2.3 Handbook in section 7.2.2 Metrics and 17.3 Custom Parameters: https://glyphsapp.com/get-started

For some Hebrew type design related information, @meirsadan maintains a good list of resources here: https://hebrewtype.club/resources
It includes a number of the links I would have mentioned. Hope that helps some.


Thank you @composerjk!

Yes, thank you @composerjk!

While we’re on the subject, I have a question regarding shoulderHeight: other than for display purposes and for the (semi) automatic handling of alignment zones, are there any “hidden” benefits to using this height over an x-height or a small cap height (such as maybe script-specific auto-hinting)?

The shoulderHeight is also used to place the top anchors.

And you might end up with Latin + small caps in your file, so you should use the most appropriate setting.

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Is there a recommended value for shoulderHeight? Should it be 50% btwn capHeight and xHeight?

There is no specific value, with my experience with Hebrew type, Hebrew should be a bit higher but still closer to the x-height, but it depends on the design, condensed font will rise higher than regular…

Thanks @ori!

I find it a bit weird cuz I kind of treat Hebrew as an all caps font and want it to be the same height and stroke width as an accompanying all caps Latin text when used on book covers. At the same time - I don’t want to break any ‘rule’.

The only rule is if it seems ok in your eyes, there is no rules.
Hebrew is adaptive, if you use latin-all caps and Hebrew - align it to the caps, but if its a paragraph of Hebrew and Latin align it a bit higher than the x-height just to make it look proportional :slight_smile: