Masters - instances workflow advice

Hi all— I usually start drawing a regular / medium weight when starting a new project. When Im happy, I start by drawing an extreme (usually, hairline / light), then interpolate to a black / bold instance, I convert it to master and fix issues / redraw it as needed. This is good so far, but I would have some thoughts and I would love to know your comments about them:

  1. What if I realize that an instance fits better than a master. ie. The hairline is too thin and I don’t want to use in production. What would you do then? replace the master with the prefered instance or you leave that master for editing? it is a good practice to not use a master as it is? hope you understand this :slight_smile:
  2. I read that VF needs only 2 masters to work. With this kind of workflow I ended up with 3 masters. Should I omit / delete the medium master after I am happy with the extremes? Is there a way to omit it by software, like a parameter for variable font production?
  3. I would love to hear other workflows like this, so if your are keen to share, I’ll appreciate it.


From what I see, super thin weights are being used quite rarely, people love bold fonts. So, unless Thin is an essential part of the design, it might be a good idea to start just about one step below Regular. Then design the heaviest style, and then Regular will need very little adjustments (which can be easily done with virtual masters).

Extrapolating Bold from Thin and Regular seems like a lot of redundant work :slight_smile:

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When you need the Regular master to interpolate the instances, you also need it for the variable font. If all but a couple glyphs are fine, remove the Regular and add brace layers for those glyphs.

For a variable font, the masters should match the intended design range. For normal interpolation, I like it to have a bit space around the last instance, in case I need to move that instance.

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Going from very light to very bold usually needs a middle master. Usually around Regular/Medium, interpolation changes from isomorphic to anisomorphic, meaning that horizontals and verticals grow differently.

The advantage of Brace layers is that you can pick the breakpoint individually for each glyph. The disadvantage is that they are more difficult to handle than a full master. Also, if you have a regular master, you can use that one as the default in a variable font.

Hence, I see nothing wrong with how you do it.

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