Font Engineering

Part of the ILT-Glyphs Certificate Program
With Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer: Spring 2023
This course will introduce you to font engineering over a span of 3 months and 24 hours of teaching. You will understand how an OpenType font works internally, be able to make adjustments to a .glyphs file, manipulate a CFF and TTF post-export, produce variable fonts, as well as track down and fix technical issues. Some experience in Glyphs and basic Python skills are expected (a parallel Python workshop can be booked separately). The course will be taught in English.

Course structure
(classes take place at 6pm UK time)

  • Session 1: March 2: Setup, OpenType specification and fonttools/ttx in the Terminal
  • Session 2: March 7: name table: family naming, style linking
  • Session 3: March 9: OS/2, head and hhea tables: special focus on vertical metrics, fsSelection
  • Session 4: March 14: OTVAR production (STAT, fvar, avar and gvar tables)
  • Session 5: March 16: OTVAR production (STAT, fvar, avar and gvar tables)
  • Session 6: March 21: OTVAR production (STAT, fvar, avar and gvar tables)
  • Session 7: March 23: fontbakery: passing the adobefonts tests
  • Session 8: March 28: Writing your own tests (fonttools, fontbakery) for OpenType binaries
  • Session 9: April 4: Writing Terminal commands for post-production (fonttools)
  • Session 10: April 11: Pre-export engineering (.glyphs files)
  • Session 11: April 13: Pre-export engineering: outlines (plus outline conversion)
  • Session 12: April 18: Pre-export engineering: components & reusing shapes

Course materials and projects
Participants are required to prepare for each session with recommended reading and pre-recorded videos (doable within an hour). Throughout the course, sample tasks will be given as homework. You’re encouraged to collect and submit questions before the course. Homework tasks, prepared content, and submitted questions are discussed in live sessions.

The course is open to a maximum 25 participants. This ensures ample time for individual student feedback.

How will it work?
The course will use the latest software in order to set up a virtual classroom and a resource centre for the course materials. Participants will need to join the weekly sessions via a Zoom link. A stable internet connection is required, as well as the latest Glyphs software on a Mac. macOS 11 or later and Glyphs 3 are recommended. We will install FontTools/ttx at the beginning of the course.

Fees and registration
The course fee is £990 + 20% VAT (if applicable) and is non-refundable. Participants are exempt of VAT if registering as an EU business. To register, or if you have any questions, please email [email protected]


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Upcoming courses:

Workshop: Typeface Design for Non-Type Designers
(Feb. 11–12, 2023)

Glyphs Python Crash Course
(from Feb. 21, 2023)

Font Engineering
(from March 2, 2023)

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