Skip to main content
4–7 September, 2019

Thursday, 5 September | | Miraikan Hall

Talk | Presented in English

Parametric Fallback Fonts for the Web

A common issue with multiscript typography arises when a graphic identity, originally designed with only Latin in mind, is later extended to cover other scripts—more often than not, the fonts lack the necessary characters. The problem becomes particularly acute on the web, where texts in scripts unforeseen by a site’s designers may need to be published. The two obvious solutions—either to switch to a typeface with a larger character set or to commission an expanded character set for the existing typeface—may not always be practical. With this in mind, and taking inspiration from David Berlow’s parametric fonts, this session presents an experimental system using a set of specially designed Greek variable fonts. Measurements are taken from a given Latin font and applied to the variable font, a synthetic Greek font being produced that matches the measurements—stem widths, cap height, x-height, and so on—of the Latin font. While not achieving the quality of custom Greek typefaces, the parametric fallback fonts are significantly more pleasing to the eye than the typical alternative of system fonts.