Glyph Construction is a language to describe how shapes are constructed. It allows one to create new glyphs by adding multiple glyphs as components, with options for positioning each component in relation to the base glyph and to any other component.

Glyph Construction offers a simple and human-readable syntax which makes creating accented glyphs very easy.

Downloading Glyph Construction

Glyph Construction is still in beta stage, and is available only as a script.

Turn Glyph Construction into an extension, so it is easily available as UI-based tool and as a Python module (for use by scripts). See #14.

To use Glyph Construction, you’ll need to download the source files from the project’s repository on GitHub. After the download is completed, unzip the package, and save the files somewhere in your machine.

Creating new glyphs with Glyph Builder

To use Glyph Construction in RoboFont, open the Glyph Builder by running the script in the Scripting Window.

the Glyph Builder interface

The Glyph Builder’s interface includes the following components:

The toolbar at the top of the window contains icons for triggering several actions. See the table below for a description of each action.

The left column contains a simple text editor where glyph construction rules are written, one per line.

Glyph construction rules are written in the Glyph Construction language. See the project’s GitHub page for syntax documentation and examples.


The middle column shows a preview for every glyph defined in the first column.

The glyph display is provided by same MultiLineView component used by the Space Center, and supports zooming in/out with ⌘ +/- keys or with the mouse.

Individual glyphs can be selected with a click. See Preview selected below.

The right column displays useful information about all glyphs defined in the first column: missing glyphs, existing glyphs, existing glyphs with missing components, and existing glyphs with different components.
Preview selected

Displays a preview of the glyph which is currently selected in the Preview area.

If the glyph already exists in the font, its current shape is displayed in the background, in red.

Status bar
The status bar at the bottom of the window shows some information about the selected glyph: glyph name, width, left & right margins, component names, unicode, mark color, and note.


option description
Save Save all rules as a .glyphConstruction file.
Open Open an existing .glyphConstruction file.
Update Update the contents of the Preview and Analysis columns.
Analyse Show/hide the Analysis column.
Build Glyphs Build all described glyphs in the current font.
Build Build only the selected glyph.


Accented glyphs

The example below shows a real-world application of Glyph Construction syntax for adding accented glyphs to an existing font.

aacute = a + acute@center,top | 00E1
abreve = a + breve@center,top | 0103
acircumflex = a + circumflex@center,top | 00E2
adieresis = a + dieresis@center,top | 00E4
aeacute = ae + acute@center,top | 01FD
agrave = a + grave@center,top | 00E0
amacron = a + macron@center,top | 0101
aogonek = a + ogonek@ogonek,origin | 0105
aring = a + ring@center,top | 00E5
aringacute = a + ring@center,top + acute@center,top | 01FB
atilde = a + tilde@center,top | 00E3

See the examples folder included the repository for the complete list of glyph construction rules for accented glyphs.

Modular glyphs

The following example shows a more experimental use of Glyph Construction, for creating modular shapes. It demonstrates the construction of a new glyph o out of multiple copies of a pixel glyph.

o = pixel + pixel@center,top + pixel@center,top + pixel@center,top + pixel@right,top + pixel@right,center + pixel@right,bottom + pixel@center,bottom + pixel@center,bottom + pixel@center,bottom + pixel@left,bottom + pixel@left,center

To try out this example, create a font containing only one glyph named pixel, and draw a simple shape inside it:

f = NewFont()
pen = f['pixel'].getPen()
pen.moveTo((0, 0))
pen.lineTo((0, 100))
pen.lineTo((100, 100))
pen.lineTo((100, 0))
Last edited on 08/09/2018