How many masters?

Hi,

I’m looking for some advice if possible.

I’ve been following the Multiple Masters tutorial and I would like to double-check something to ensure my understanding is correct.

I’ll be starting work on a small font family, which is made up of nine weights and I’m trying to work out how many masters I should ideally have. During the tutorial, I came across the following breakdown image.

Based on this, would two masters be enough? The font family I’ll be making contains the following weights: Thin, Extra Light, Light, Regular, Medium, Semi Bold, Bold, Extra Bold and Heavy. In this case, I would make Regular and Bold masters, or should I choose different weights for the masters?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I appreciate any advice.

To properly control the design, you need masters on each extreme of each axis. Meaning, if you have a weight axis, and your extreme weights are Thin and Heavy, you want a master each for Thin and Heavy in order to interpolate all the weights in between. You can also just make a Regular and Bold master, but this means that the weights outside of this range between Regular and Bold will be extrapolated, so a mathematical result will be put out based on a much smaller range you designed. While this is possible, this almost never results in good-looking weights.

So, to summarise, two masters are enough, but should enclose the full spectrum you want to have in your instances.

The image from the tutorial is misleading, as the master names don’t match the design. This needs to be corrected.

1 Like

I think the masters in the image are just mislabeled, they should be the Thin Master and the Black Master, they are identical to the Thin and Black instances (though actually you could have those master names in Glyphs, as the master names have no relation to the final instance names).

Whether you need more than two masters depends on how well the interpolation between those two extreme masters works, and exactly how extreme the masters are.

For the n in the example, the interpolation may work as is:

But for this e, the crossbar in the middle interpolation range gets too light, because for optical reasons it is much thinner in the black weight:

In that case, you could add an intermediate master, maybe just for glyphs that need it, to correct that visual imbalance:

2 Likes

Thanks for the advice and tips SCarewe and jkutilek. It’s definetly more clear to me now.