Inkscape explores type design, gets Measure tool

Last weekend, the development branch of Inkscape got a whole new tool for measuring things. This can be considered next stage of work on support for SVG Fonts, started earlier as a Google Summer of Code project.

The new tool allows measuring length of every object it passes (the actual cut, not the bounding box). It can be activated from Tools toolbar or by pressing M shortcut.


While measuring length, it also displays angle of the measuring line:

Measuring angles

Felipe Sanches who created the new tool prepared a short demo. Here it is:

The new tool is not complete yet, and has a number of issues that are already known and will be addressed shortly. There’s also a number of feature requests in the tracker. Felipe is, however, very responsive, so it’s quite likely that by the time 0.49 is out, the tool will be polished and shiny (it’s already kicking, don’t you agree?).

It was actually Felipe Sanches who started working on support for SVG Fonts in Inkscape two years ago. This second stage of his work also involves creating several extensions that automate some common tasks for type design.

One of those extensions is, e.g. reformatting current document into a glyph template from user defined values of em size, X-height, ascenders and descenders etc. It has also led to implementation of guide labels that you probably know from FontForge:

Guides labels

Given how popular Inkscape is for type design (contrary to FontForge regarding type production), all these new features are very, very welcome. If you wish to try these new features, you can build trunk yourself, or you can use nightly builds, including newly added PPA for Ubuntu.

David Crossland

Photo of David Crossland by Christine Candice, CC BY SA 2.0

This work by Felipe is also related to Argentina tour of Dave Crossland who co-created Open Font Library and designed Cantarell typeface used in GNOME 3 by default. Dave has been doing type design and typography workshops in Argentina for both local and Brazilian designers for several weeks now.