Update January 2020

I guess everyone is expecting information about our progress with stroke plugin Letterink. So, let's have a brief overview of where we get and what are our plans.

Content

  • What we have done and what not yet
  • Why it takes so f**king long time
  • What to expect and when it will be ready
  • What else we have done

What have we done and what not yet

It's January and that means that at least some of our Kickstarter promises should already be fulfilled. So, let's quickly jump on the status overview. We are covering details about each promise and its status in the following text.

Our promiseCurrent statusNotes
Various brushesIn progressEllipsis first, other shapes later
Generate always clean outlinesIn progressA control to fine tune the number of outline segments 
Stroke StylesReady to releaseWill be included in a next release
Skeleton componentsNot startedWaiting for Glyphs 3.0

Various brushes

We have learned we were too optimistic while creating the Kickstarter roadmap. We have made a significant progress but we still need more time to finish the algorithm for the ellipsis shape completely. We have chosen ellipsis to start with as we believe this is the most convenient brush shape for the most serious use cases. The image below is an evidence of our progress.

The simple polygonal shapes should arrive a couple of months after the ellipsis.

Generate always clean outlines

The whole reason why we are doing this is to have a reasonable amount of outline segments, not kinky messy outlines as from other tools.

There are several considerations regarding the number of outline segments:

  • More outline segments produce more precise outlines while less outline segments results in both a smaller and a faster rendering font file.
  • The number of outline segments across different instances should be equal so they are compatible with interpolation.

For the sake of clean outlines, we will add an extra control to the plug-in so you will be able to fine tune the number of outline segments so it matches the needs of your font.

Stroke styles

This is my favourite feature because it's going to save so much time and provide an extra fun with parametrisation. It wasn't that difficult, so we decided to work on it now, and I am sure you will like it too.

The initial solution of stroke styles is ready and implemented. It will have a little bit rough edges on the release day as we would like to hear your feedback and using habits first before deeply committing to the current design.

Skeleton components

This is an interesting feature because strokes have limitations and some shapes are better to keep in outlines. However, for now, simple Glyphs components sounds enough. We plan come back to this feature after Glyphs 3.0 is released.

Extra feature — pipe stroke

I am extra proud that we have come with this. Let me explain what's the deal. Do you remember Noodler, Broadnibber or Parametric pen? We have solved a few problems those guys have.

1. Neither Noodler nor Broadnibber can generate various nodes independently. You can only have a nib with the same rotation and width across the whole skeleton.

2. The parametric pen can do the job of changing stroke width and kinda pen rotation, but you are not able to draw proper circles or arcs.


Our pipe stroke engine can do proper circles and arcs while being able to change width and rotation for each node separately. We are almost there as you can see on the following animations.

Why it takes so a f**king long time

Finally something for everyone who is waiting for it as long as we do. It is more than five years since we had started working on the idea. In the beginning, it looked like a simple problem. I am sure you think so too. But wait a moment — if it is so simple why nobody out there has ever done something like this?

Nevertheless — the complete reason why is that to be able to create such a tool we need an advanced geometrical algorithm literally invented and then translated to a computer language. As far as I know nobody (sorry Mr. Knuth) has done the shit yet. It took us three years to realise we are not smart enough to make it by ourselves and to find the right geniuses to help us with it. Yeah, we had to involve the right experts to help us with the numbers. They are working on it already for two years during the evenings after their regular jobs.

What to expect and when it will be ready

We originally planned to release the stroke styles and the new algorithm one by one. Unfortunately, two distinct decisions made by Apple block us from releasing stroke styles on top of the old algorithm. As a consequence, we need to wait until both of the features are ready. The reasons are too technical and geeky to explain here but we can share them with you in a separate blog post if you express an interest.

We are working on these three things in parallel: 

  1. Rework the plug-in code and our distribution process to make it compatible with the new Apple requirements introduced in Catalina. We expect this work to complete in February.
  2. Collaborate with our math geniuses to finish the algorithm while continuously implementing and testing each iteration of the algorithm internally. The current roadmap expects we might be able to release a preview in March or so. Please keep in mind that the roadmap is subject to change as we discover new issues to solve or to fine tune.
  3. Prepare the plug-in user interface to support the new features and brushes.

After we are finally able to release a new version of the plug-in to you, we will be collecting your feedback, continue with fine tuning the algorithm and the plug-in as well as start working on an algorithm supporting polygonal brushes.

What else we have done

While we have been working with our math geniuses on having the algorithm ready, we started a side project. 

A few friends running type foundries were struggling with their websites and especially with its e-commerce part. We decided to help them and created a dedicated e-commerce platform for type foundries

The solution covers all the licensing and bundling needs, it features an embeddable font tester as well as it has some extra features like volume discounting and a Mailchimp integration.

It's quite easy to integrate it to your website and customise its styles.

You can see the checkout's live demo here. Wanna have it too? Just drop us a message.


That's all for now. Sure, we will let you know as soon as the features are released in a new version of the Letterink plug-in. Should you have additional questions feel free to contact us.


So let it be written, so let it be done!