While most of the people are queueing for lunch, there is a crowd who has something else on their menus. They want to learn about letter combination. Marko Jovanovac shares his fascination for ligatures, especially those outside of the usual spectrum. He starts off with some historical context. From early examples of space-saving letter combinations in medieval manuscripts, he takes the audience into the present by explaining commonly used shapes like the ampersand, the ß (eszett), and currency signs.According to Jovanovac, designing new and uncommon ligatures can be achieved in two ways. The designer can either work with the letter geometry or play with letter combinations. In a finished typeface, the results of these investigations could end up in the discretionary ligatures OpenType feature. FF Mister K, Underware’s Liza and the Beyond Font are only a few examples who make use of this feature quite extensively. But how can you find sequences of two or more letters that can be combined into a ligature? Jovanovac helps the participants of his workshop and any other ligature afficionado with a nifty little website he developed. The Ligature Helper will analyse any given text for letter pairs that can be turned into ligatures.
Now it is the attendee’s turn to start feeding their names and other words into the website. Once they found interesting combinations, they started sketching them out and ultimately, with the help of a bit of OpenType feature code, put them back into a typeface.
Written by Benedikt Bramböck •