Re: Towards some more Private Use Area code points for ligatures.

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu May 30 2002 - 12:03:47 EDT


Anything you want to do in the PRIVATE use area with any other consenting
adults is entirely fine and your own business. I'm not sure we all need to
hear the details of what you are *planning* to do: just do it and send us a
URL when you're done.

A point though: for any list of ligatures you define, I can design
additional ligatures. There are more type designers working in the world
today than at any time in history. What you are attempting to define is,
effectively, an open set, and deciding to provide PUA codepoints only for
'traditional' ligatures is arbitrary. You already have started including
completely non-traditional ligatures by picking up the Adobe Th ligature.

I just completed work on the latest version of a very large calligraphic
typeface which contains dozens of ligatures for things like di dr es ez ge
gg is (actually the 'is' ligature is traditional in certain styles of
italic types; see types of Garamond and Jannon, 16th century) ll ou pf
etc., as well as typical f-ligs. I suppose you could add all these to your
PUA list, if you wanted to, but in the font I've made they are NOT ENCODED,
and will not be encoded, because they don't need to be encoded, because
they are mapped to underlying characters using layout features. And this is
how it should be, because using PUA codepoints for ligatures breaks text,
making it unsortable, unspellcheckable, untransferable, and unsettable with
most of the fonts on a user's system. You are trying to find a solution to
a problem that has already been solved in a better way, and in the process
you will create more problems for anyone who uses your solution. So give it
up already.

By the way, there are already plenty of fonts based on fleuron and border
sets. I still have a floppy kicking around someplace with Gerald Giampa's
digital version of the Granjon ornaments from the early 1990s.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC

When the pages of books fall in fiery scraps
Onto smashed leaves and twisted metal,
The tree of good and evil is stripped bare.
                                        - Czeslaw Milosz

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