Obliques, Spacing, and kerning


I am new to Glyphs 3 and relatively new to type design. I have finished a regular version of a typeface and plan to make an oblique. I just had some questions about how to proceed and best practices.

  1. I have finished the regular glyphs that my typeface will include. I still need to decide on the sidebearings for the characters before kerning. When creating the oblique, should I restart the spacing and kerning process? Are the sidebearings and kerning pairs usually transferable between regular and oblique characters? What is the best course of action to make sure that my sidebearings and kerning pairs are high quality in both versions of my font?

  2. If I make an oblique version of my font, do I need to create a separate file? Can a single Glyphs file manage multiple variations of the same font? If so, how?


Welcome @SamMorgan to G3. There are numerous tutorials here: Learn | Glyphs which will cover most of your questions. Any other questions or issues which may arise can be answered for you here.

About your oblique though, it is a natural thing for a glyph to condense and the spacing tighten when slanted from the upright glyph, so consider them separately from the roman. The kerning may be pretty much transferable.

An oblique might be point-compatible with its roman but the best practice is to keep it in a separate file to avoid any problems. You can work with them in the same file in the beginning but at some point, separate them.

Multiple variations of the same style can (and should) live in the same file.

One best practice is to consider spacing to be part of drawing, not something you do afterwards. Glyph is the black and the white :slight_smile:

You can find some tips in this recent discussion.

I find it easier to keep in one file if it’s meant to be “variable”, even for large 300-styles font families.

Spacing and kerning can be reused to a good extent (especially if you use metric formulas smartly), but this video can give you an idea of problems to expect.

There was recently a discussion here concerning file setup: Best Practices for Obliques in the Same Glyphs File?

Regarding spacing and kerning, if you plan to only slant (and optically correct) your glyphs, I would say you can copy/paste your kerning for the most part. Of course, ideally, you will have adjusted kerning as well, but this depends on your design and how much work you wish to invest.

If you want to transfer your spacing to your slanted master(s), I wrote a script for specifically this use case. You can find it in the eweracs scripts (available in the plugin manager), Drawing > Copy Metrics to Slanted Masters.


Thank you for the information you’ve provided. I’ve had to look at a few resources to piece together the appropriate steps to make an oblique. I want to make sure I have them correctly:

Step #1: After the upright/Roman is complete, create a new master for the oblique version of the font (File → Font Info… → Masters). Duplicate the regular master and change the name to “Oblique”.

Step #2: Switch to the “Font” tab in the “Font Info…” panel and define a new axes for an Italic.

Step #3: Switch back to the “Masters” tab and update italic axes coordinates for the oblique font master (1-100 or the chosen italic angle and metric without a decimal).

Step #4: Close the “Font Info…” panel, return to the main “Font” window, and select the Oblique master in the top left corner of the screen (represented by lowercase “n” ). You may notice that the bounding boxes of your individual characters are slanted while the characters stay the same.

Step #5: Manually create obliques out of all your characters using the slanting or cursivying functionality outlined here: Easy oblique | Glyphs

Sounds good. That outlines the technical preparation. How you actually design your oblique (which corrections you decide to apply in what way) poses stylistic questions that you can explore to your own taste.

Don’t forget to take care when setting up your exports as well, check the Italic checkbox for style linking and link the appropriate Roman instance in the name field next to it.

Thank you. The last question I had for now relates to the cursivying feature. It says that I should explicitly specify the dimensions of my horizontal and vertical stems in the “Font Info” panel. I don’t quite understand all of the lingo yet. Does this refer to the stoke width of vertical and horizontal crossbars? I know that horizontal crossbars always look thicker so they should be objectively thinner.