TYPO Labs: Glyphs 2.3 and the GlyphsSDK – Latest Developments

Just in time for the TYPO Labs conference, type designer and software developer Georg Seifert and type designer Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer have finalized and uploaded the freshest, official version of their font editor Glyphs.

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by Verena Gerlach

Being a Glyphs beta tester myself, I had already witnessed some of the great new features popping up from time to time within the last few months. And now, these two charming brains were presenting their innovations to the crowd in a very entertaining show about the hard facts.

Georg (Berlin) tried to quietly control the show from his MacBook while Rainer (Vienna) was explaining and jumping around. It is very nice to see, how the two are directly reacting on the comments and wishes of the community. For example Rainer was showing an inspiration he directly got from a user’s Twitter complaint.

The Glyphs app is already providing detailed descriptions of the new features of Glyphs 2.3., but let me give you a very brief overview.

© Norman Posselt / Monotype

© Norman Posselt / Monotype

For the designers

One of my favourite path features, is the “open corners” option. It allows you to control curves that are actually connected to other path elements, but by using this feature, they behave like disconnected curves. By applying the “open corners” feature, one can move whole elements of the shape without destroying the particular curves. The innovations here are:

One can now select several corner points at once to transform them into “open corners”. The way in which the paths of the newly created and needed overlaps will also from now on be shown as almost invisible transparent ends.

There is also now an “automatic attachment” feature for components. This feature is especially important for the design of e.g. Arab typefaces. By creating special anchors now labeled with a hashtag (#exit and #entry), repeating shapes and complete character elements can be created from components. The left side bearings (LSB) from the components will be applied to the new combined glyph shape.

A completely new design tool lets the designers heart beat faster: The pencil tool.

© Norman Posselt / Monotype

© Norman Posselt / Monotype

For the engineers (and also some designers)

As part of the new “metric key” in the font view, a little yellow indicator on the upper right corner of a glyph will show you any metrics problems, such as metrics values that have not been updated.

From now on, an “automatic alignment” feature allows you to add exceptional width values to the automatic widths of components (e.g d caron).

As for TrueType improvements and the use of manual TTH, there is a new pixel preview. Werner Lemberg’s TTF Autohint got also updated in the newest version of Glyphs.

A built in “Github plugin manager” allows you to directly add plugins into your Glyphs script folder and after refreshing Glyphs, you can immediately select and apply them from the “scripts” menu. A number of pre-prepared Python scripts are making it extremely easy now to write your own scripts (within 10 minutes).

More: One can now change the X-Height to Shoulder Height (for Hebrew and Arab). “Font Note” makes it easy to exchange notes, comments and to-do lists with colleagues working on the same font. With so many bug fixes and other great new features to discover, I’m very much looking forward to going back to my desk and trying them out immediately.

Knowing Georg, it was not a surprise that even during the presentation, he already had programmed and added some more plugins into the new “Github plugin manager”: The just next door, and just one hour ago presented Kernkraft for easy kerning! I know, why I’m a fan.

A big thank you from Georg goes to Yanone who was supporting the team a great deal.

Georg’s answer to the questions for more innovations the audience was coming up with: “Not yet, but it is planned.” And I bet it’s true.