Improving Kannada Fonts

Nov 9, 2013
2 minutes read.
ಕನ್ನಡ kannada fonts

Pravin, maintainer of Lohit fonts started lohit2_ project to update all lohit fonts according to Open Type specifications. Read more here and here

I am planning to improve Lohit Kannada(also Gubbi and Navilu) and identified following stages.

Stage one

  1. Clone lohit2, Gubbi and Navilu

  2. Rename all base glyphs according to the standard(uniXXXX format)

  3. Adjust left/right spacing for all base glyphs

  4. Testing

Stage two

  1. Create half forms of base glyphs which are required for creating ligatures.

  2. Delete the unused ligatures(Can be achieved using rules)

  3. Add GSUB rules for consonants.

  4. Mark to Base GPOS rules.

  5. Identify special consonant for which separate ligature is required.(ki, gi etc)

  6. Testing

Stage three

  1. Create ligatures which are identified in previous stage.(Most of the ligatures already exists in fonts)

  2. Add GSUB rules for those ligatures

  3. Testing

Stage four

  1. Rename all vattakshara glyphs.

  2. Add GSUB rules.

  3. Mark to Base GPOS rules for vattakshara

  4. Testing

Stage five

  1. Mark to Mark GPOS rules for double vattakshara.

  2. Create additional ligatures if required for any double vattakshara combination.

  3. Testing

Stage six

  1. Verify and add additional glyphs/symbols required.

  2. Adjust left and right spacing for additional glyphs.

  3. Testing

Stage seven

  1. Typography related improvements: Reduce the font thickness, space and kerning improvements.

  2. Update License, Authors, version and other information.

  3. Testing

Today I completed first stage, created two Python scripts to change the glyph names and to adjust left and right space.

cd $WORK
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone
cd fontscripts

# Lohit Kannada
python ../lohit2/kannada/Lohit-Kannada.sfd
python ../lohit2/kannada/Lohit-Kannada.sfd

# Gubbi
python ../Gubbi/Gubbi.sfd
python ../Gubbi/Gubbi.sfd

# Navilu
python ../Navilu/Navilu.sfd
python ../Navilu/Navilu.sfd

Now generate the fonts to test the changes. Harfbuzz can be used for testing.

hb-view ../lohit2/kannada/Lohit-Kannada.ttf "$(cat stage1_tests.txt )" --output-file preview_lohit.png

Let me know if anybody interested to join and contribute to improve Kannada fonts.

About Aravinda Vishwanathapura

Co-Founder & CTO at Kadalu Technologies, Creator of Sanka, Creator of Chitra, GlusterFS core team member, Maintainer of Kadalu Storage
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