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Is a font the same as a glyph.

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According to the Unicode terminology(and my paraphrasing), a typeface is a set of similar fonts with a theme placing them together, while a font is a specifically formed set out of variances like italic, bold, serif, sanserif, etc. of such typeface set.

 

To me it perfectly matches the definition of glyph, but perhaps it is used in other contexts(linguistics vs computer engineering.)

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Typography also gets really complex, really quickly. While it is certainly possible to swap out each letter with a corresponding glyph and place them some distance apart, it isn't always that simple.

There is more to it than the glyphs themselves. There are measurements for spacing between letters, spacing above and below the baseline, and information about merged characters. For a very common example of that, a large number of fonts provide special symbols and ligatures for combinations "ff", "fi", "ffi", "Th", "Qu", and many others. When an 'i' is involved the combined symbol typically removes the dot. When two 'f's are together usually the first one gets the top arc extended further and joins with the second. There are examples of spacing when placing letters like "WA" together will often tuck the first leg of the 'A' underneath the last leg of the 'W' either as a ligature or as kerning.

Latin-style languages usually only combine two or three letters by squashing them together. I remember reading years ago that languages like Chinese and Arabic combine symbols in other ways.

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Would you remind me the difference betweer character and code point? I keep confusing the two. Thank you.

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Basically, a code point is an abstract numerical value representing a character. The character 'A' has the ASCII-code point 65. Computer works with code points, and the monitor displays a pattern of pixels that forms the shape of a character that you as a human can recognize.

Edited by Brother Bob

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A font, combined with some mechanisms that don't vary from font to font (such as Unicode normalization and low-level drawing), is in its general form a program that produces a raster image from a string (i.e. a sequence of codepoints representing characters), given parameters like point size and choice of variant glyphs.

Sometimes this general operation is simplified, most commonly by rendering individual characters (giving up kerning, ligatures, contextual alternates etc.), caching results (giving up random glyph variations and contextual influences), producing vector outlines (giving up hinting).

The simplest types of fonts and font rendering systems, such as those for fixed-width terminals, directly map individual code points to constant bitmap glyphs, but it's only a degenerate form of a more complex process.

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