The height of the font


I have seen fonts where the x-height is 1000 (compared to 500 which is the standard of a new font in Glyphs). When I view a font like that in a layout program, they look fine.

But, when I design a very tall font in Glyphs it looks huge in a layout program.

What am I doing wrong?


You propably have seen truetype fonts. Their “density” is twice as default glyphs document. So why is that.

If you set grid to zero in preferences you are not limited to any scale cause you can position points outside the grid

Thank you, dada!

It was actually OTF, but I just saw that in Font Info “units per Em” was set to 2048.

I guess what I was trying to do was to get a bit more playing room. So I tried to design a font where the X-height was 750.
Is that stupid? Are there ways to make this work or should I keep it around 500? FYI, I am not looking to create a huge typeface, or one with an over-sized x-height.

Also, I couldn’t fint grid in preferences. But I don’t know if I wanna disable the grid anyway?

You got glyphs mini?

You should set x-height about 500 to keep proportions with other fonts. There should be enough space to do almost everything I think

I have the full version.

I was just intrigued by what that other designer had done, and wanted to try it out. The annoying thing is that I like what I did and have to downsize it now :wink:


So, I tried set “units per Em” to 1500 (remember my x-height is 750), and now it is the same size as other fonts.

Is this a valid way to go, or is it stupid?

The point of Increasing units per em is mainly to get higher resolution and more subtle details. As I said there is no need to do this in glyphs.

If you dont want to scale your design just leave it as is. It should work well. It is not recommended to set units to very high amount cause it is not supported ( or was) in some shitty text editors.

OK, seems like it is fine then, but I think I’m gonna scale it anyway… just in case. I don’t wanna scale it hundreds of glyphs down the road.

Thanks for all the help, dadastudio!

If your x-height is set to 1000, just set the UPM to 2000 and you are fine.

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X-height was 750, so 1500 worked. But decided to go down to a cool 500/1000 :slight_smile:


You can have the font scale at export time with the custom parameter “Scale to UPM” in an instance. So you don’t have to deal with rounding in the design process.

otf is PostScript and the specs limit you to a 1000x1000 UPM. Some font editors let you set the UPM to larger sizes, but if you use them you’re going outside the specs…leading to unpredictable results. The same thing applies to setting the UPM to 1000 and setting points outside of it.

TrueType allows for much larger UPM sizes. I’m, not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Should you set your x-height to 500? Should you paint your living room blue? It’s all a matter of taste and design.