I’ve written about the challenges I have been facing with anchors on FontForge earlier. To move away from that even if the problem is still unresolved, I have focussed my energies on the bold weight of the basic Latin character set of Cantarell.
Since I have seen this typeface, even in the specimen that was submitted at the University of Reading, I’ve felt that the bold weight of the design doesn’t work as well as it could. First, it feels too wide. So much so that when seen in the context of the regular, it looks like a different width altogether. Second, many shapes look clunky and the quality of their drawing could do with some improvement. Some refinements in the joins, especially some subtle thinning would make the shapes much better. In addition, the letters with diagonals like the v, w and y look much lighter than the rest—an issue I also found in the regular. Finally, because both weights of the typeface have seen several changes over the years, including the ones I have made during the course of the internship, their designs have diverged.
Improvements to Cantarell Latin Bold.
With these issues in mind, I have completed the first round of changes to the lowercase basic Latin character set. This includes not only drawing, but also respacing these glyphs. There is certainly more to be done, in the spacing department in particular, but the improved glyphs already look like a good start.
The new version of Cantarell Bold with its Regular counterpart.
It has been a tough couple of weeks trying to build accented characters for the extended Latin character set using anchors on FontForge. Redrawing the accents to harmonize better with the letters they attach to as well as with each other has been relatively easy. When I’ll finish work on this bug, the extended Latin characters will have different accents for the lowercase and uppercase letters, designed to work well with their respective weights and space above them.
The difficult and yet unresolved problem is how to get FontForge to use the correct accents to build accented glyphs. Despite showing the correct set of components that it should use to build these glyphs in the Glyph Info panel, FontForge continues to not use the combining accents in several cases. Correcting all the glyph names to match the Adobe Glyph LIst has not helped at all. Dave was afraid I was using a very old version of FontForge and that might be the problem, but that’s not it either. At this point, I’m really not sure what the issue is or could possibly be.
Unfortunately, this roadblock has taken me off schedule—taking much more time than I had anticipated it would (even delaying a blog post here!). I’m attending GUADEC at Brno this week and Jakub has organized a hackfest for Cantarell on Monday. Hopefully, we will be able to figure out this problem then.
Among the larger chunks of work I am expected to finish during this internship is reviewing and correcting the existing Cyrillic character set of Cantarell. Along with ensuring that the glyphs are properly drawn and spaced, my first and foremost priority has been to see if the letters do justice to their Cyrillic roots.
An improved version of both the uppercase and lowercase Cyrillic character set in the regular weight has been completed (the lowercase changes need to be committed). Some key changes that one might notice (in lower and upper case both) are to the letters д, л and љ, which now have a more resolved, well-drawn shape; л, п, ц, ш and щ, whose widths have been harmonised with each other and with other letters; ж, к and я that have been redrawn to be more consistent with their Cyrillic origins, rather than look like offshoots of similar looking Latin letters; ђ and ћ now have improved shapes and outlines; and, the bowls in letters в, ъ, ы, ь, љ and њ have been drawn again to have a consistent stroke width.
See bugs 703444 and 703588.