Re: Unicode fonts

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Fri Apr 21 2006 - 17:11:14 CST

  • Next message: Tommy Nordgren: "Re: Unicode fonts"

    From: "Tommy Nordgren" <>
    > Are there any fonts available that include glyphs for the entire
    > unicode character set?
    > (Macintosh compatible.)

    I think it's not possible for the existing TrueType/OpenType format, given the limitation on the total number of glyphs per font (but it may be possible with fonts which contain multiple designs).

    I see no interest in such giant font. At best, you'll find fonts that cover a whole Unicode plane (these fonts make better sense), and it will already be a very large font (notably a font that covers the Han ideographs, but it will be true as well for a font that would code the future Egyptian or Maya hieroglyphs).

    A font that completely covers the alphabetic scripts (including alphabets, abjads, abugidas) and syllabic scripts is already very large andvery complex to design, due to the number of substitutions, contextual forms, and fine hinting needed for drawing at small size or at low resolution on screen. And even this font needs constant updates to cover the additions in Unicode, or simply to correct bugs or limitations (missing substitutions or ligatures or contextual forms) or defects (bad hinting).

    Keep things small. What users do want is fonts that correctly and completely handle each script (letters, ligatures, digits) and related signs or symbols (notably punctuation, and notational marks). It's much easier to update fonts that cover correctly a limited set of scripts. And it's generally more reliable interms of results, given that some scripts require specific knowledge of the script by the typograph (notably the contextual forms, ligatures, and substitutions, but also the specific graphic design needed for some scripts that have very different metrics and layout, for example the hinting process for Han ideographs which requires specific algorithms due to their graphic complexity).

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