Mapping glyph without unicode value to custom key combination

Hi all - I’m delivering a custom brand font and need to include the brand logo as a glyph that can be typed by using a custom key combination. The character set of the font is quite limited, so for the moment, I’ve been planning to use a character like the Œ, or symbol that’s not included in the set, as a wrapper for the logo.

But if possible, I’d prefer not to use the wrong Unicode value and leave the logo with no Unicode value but still accessible through a custom key combination. Is this possible?

In an ideal scenario, the end-user would be able to type ‘option+control+shift+G’ with the result being the brand logo.

Maybe the solution of using an existing Unicode value that’s just not part of the character set is the easiest way, but if anyone would approach it differently I’d love to hear!

No, you cannot assign keyboard shortcuts to glyphs. A solution that I have seen in multiple fonts is to switch the text bullet (•, U+2022) with an OpenType feature for a logo. That is best done with the ornm “Ornaments” feature, but since few applications offer that feature, you might also use ss01, cv01 and/or salt. Also add an aalt feature to the font and set it to automatic so that the substitution is accessible using that feature as well.

On the Mac, a bullet can be typed with Option-8 on US keyboards and Option-Ü on German keyboards. If the logo of you client is similar to an emoji, that might also work nicely, but it’s harder to type.

Alternatively, assign the logo glyph a private use area codepoint and install software on your clients computer to insert that character for a specific keyboard shortcuts. But that solution has many issues.

Or use a ligature that would form at the logo. it would work by typing _companyname_. Add some unusual characters to be able to type “companyname” without the logo showing up.

Those are both great suggestions, thanks!

Because ease of use is at first priority, I actually thing @GeorgSeifert 's idea for the ligature method would be easiest for them to remember and communicate internally to the non-technically minded.

I haven’t used custom ligatures, but looking at the tutorial it appears a .liga feature with something like: B_R_A_N_D_L_O_G_O would be the best implementation - I’ll give it a try and see how it goes.


Custom ligature works like a charm! Unless they come back with complaints I think this is a great strategy.

Thanks all!

For this case it might be easier to write that line of feature code yourself.
name the glyph BRANDLOGO and add this line to the liga feature:

sub underscore B R A N D L O G O underscore by BRANDLOGO;

You might pick another character to “guard” the logo (like asterisk ‘*’) if you like that better.

1 Like

I actually did exactly that! I used a .liga suffix at first and then just realized I could write the code without it.

Thanks again for the suggestions!