Most of our readers are probably well familiar with OpenType features. They allow you to set type using glyphs that are not necessarily available by default, giving you a much wider range of effect. This is especially helpful when working with a script font — a point that is often demonstrated in the work of Alejandro Paul and his foundry Sudtipos. Many of his scripts contain vast character sets with tons of alternative glyphs, among them Suave Script, Affair, and the recently featured Fiance. Another is the beautiful Compendium, which we’ll take a look at below.
Here’s Compendium in Adobe Illustrator, with only the default Standard Ligatures activated:
Now let’s activate Contextual Alternates:
… with Swash caps turned on at the same time:
Now we take a step back and try out the Stylistic Alternates:
… and now Stylistic and Contextual Alternates together:
Just by flipping a switch, you can see how much variation one can get from feature to feature. Of course for best effect, one should go through the entire glyph palette and insert individual glyphs that best fit your sample, layout, or intended aesthetic. If you don’t want colliding flourishes, for example, there is likely a combination of glyphs that will fit together perfectly. You may also find additional flourishes, such as what can be found in Compendium:
You can preview these OpenType features using our new and improved custom sample toolbar.