Confused about borders and line spacing

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Confused about borders and line spacing

Gé van Gasteren-2
Your question (my answers below):

I naively started making my tallest glyph reach the ascent, but then I found
that this made for 0 line spacing. Then I tried to change the ascent in the
Font Info... but that changed the EM size and I'm told that TTFs need to
have an EM of 2^n. So I doubled the EM to 2048, then resized all my glyphs
by 140% or something. This seems to have gotten my line spacing, but I'm
concerned about the behaviour of the font in editors. Of all the 7-bit ASCII
characters for which I've made glyphs, there are only encodings for
uppercase chars and 5 lower case ones. No numbers or punctuation. However,
when using the font, other chars are still rendered. When they are, the
cursor becomes much bigger and the line spacing increases and it's all got
me wondering if I know what I'm doing.
Here are some samples of what I'm talking about. One image shows only the
glyphs I've encoded: the other shows the same with a 0 which I haven't
encoded. The ascent is 1638, then descent is 410 and the EM is 2048. None of
my glyphs go below the baseline. Am I doing this right?

1. Tallest glyph: I’d say you could have kept the EM square at 1024 and just scaled that tallest glyph down a little to give it some air above. How much space above (and below descenders) is needed? That is a matter of design: by it, you as the font creator decide what is the default leading (line spacing). One point to think of here is that upper-case letters can still have accents above them, like É – although I’m not sure if runes can have accents :)

2. Your font-in-process is doing fine in that text editor! When text is rendered in a certain font and some asked-for glyphs are not present in that particular font, the text editor (or actually the OS) usually "fills in" for it automatically. The OS has built in at least one "fall-back" font (containing a huge number of glyphs) and inserts glyphs from that font, so that at least the text is all there. Of course, those filled-in glyphs will look different from the ones in the applied font (your font in progress) and if they are larger, the editor’s automatic line spacing will change to accommodate them.

(Please cut all the old text when starting a new thread.)

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