Automatic stylistic alternate substitution with memory?

daverowland's picture


Anybody know a way of programming a font so that it remembers you've typed a letter, and the next time you type that letter an alternate glyph is used? This would be useful in distressed fonts. Ligature substitution is ok for double letters but if I type a word like 'dada' say, and I want to make sure the distressed look isn't repeated, it doesn't help.

I have a feeling it should be simple enough to do this - somehow get typing a letter to flick a switch and then if the same letter is typed while that switch is on, substitute an alternate glyph then reset the switch.

Any ideas?


Jackson's picture

You can't build in real memory but you can simulate it reasonably well. James Puckett's Recovery is the first font I've seen to do it this way, you should take a look at that. I've done it a few times for private fonts with excellent results.

eliason's picture

James started one of several interesting Typophile threads on the subject:

daverowland's picture

You mean Black Monday, the grunge version of it? That's what I'm trying to achieve. Just looking at the Myfonts page for it, it looks as though the randomisation is processed via the liga feature, but then looking in the glyph table there don't appear to be many ligatures. I'm guessing the programming reads something like

sub @class1 @class1' by @class2
sub @class2 @class1' by @class3

so they rotate round the stylistic sets.

I guess this would work without too much glyph repetition with three stylistic sets.

Would be interesting to see the coding on black monday. Seems to make the sets rotate thus: 1 2 3 2 3 1 3 then repeats

eliason's picture

Another thread of interest:

daverowland's picture

Cheers for the replies!

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