Questions about variable font settings


I would like to design a variable font. I am new in Glyphs, before I worked with FontLab.
My first tests work generally very well, but I am not sure if I used the best possible options.

So my questions are:

A) I want to have two possible kerning settings. One should be for display sizes and one for text sizes. At my first test, I created two masters and gave the letters different kerning values. But it is a lot of work to copy the glyphs and also a bit weird to have so many masters afterwards. Is there an easier way to handle this?

B) Also, I would like to have to possibility to rotate glyphs as part of the variable functions. Is there a tool to rotate all glyphs together? Copying every single glyph and rotating them the same angle is so much work. And is there maybe an »intelligent« function to kern this style automatically (like the InDesign »optical« kerning function?

C) I have heard from an automatized function to generate Italic styles. What function is this? And do I need new masters for them as well?

Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving

Do you mean kerning or spacing?

Yes. Select the glyphs in font view and use the transform panel on the right.

That will be tricky. Variable fonts always apply linear interpolation. So you need to add many intermediate masters to make it look like a rotation.

You can try the “Cursivy” option in Filters > Transformation > Transform. There is a “Slant/Cursivy” button. Set it to “Cursivy” and set an angle. It needs meaningful stems be defined in the masters settings.


Thanks for your answer!

Regarding your question:
»Do you mean kerning or spacing?«

I mean spacing, sorry!

Make sure you read the Multiple Masters and Variable Font tutorials.

There are scripts and plugins for your process. See the Extend page of this website.

Thank you!

A last question:
If the first (or the last) letter in a line is for example an »a« or an »o«, is it possible to program a smaller space between them and the text frame?

You can’t do that in the font but in the settings of the app you’re using it in. Only option is to exchange it with a narrow letter variant or one with smaller side bearings. But what the app does with that is a different question.

Opentype can only handle ‘beginning of string’ and not ‘beginning of line’. The problem is that a new string begins with every format change. So it can be in the middle of the line.

Good to know, thanks for the information!

I thought that maybe HTLetterspacer could help me. But it doesn’t work …

Also, I tried to install robofab.

  1. Preferences > Addons > Modules > Install Modules
  2. Restart Glyphs.
  3. Try again.