Type Design: Background and guidelines for designing the Umlaute (ä Ä, ü Ü, ö Ö) of a serif typeface

I am working on the editorial design of a book and Lucas Bihan of Bretagne
Type Foundry
was kind enough to give me access to a trial version of his serif typeface »Self Modern«, which I am now using for a draft.

A preview of Self Modern:

Self Modern Sample1
Self Modern Sample2

Unfortunately, the typeface does not include the Umlaute (ä Ä, ü Ü, ö Ö), which I need since parts of the book are in German. What I would like to do for the draft, is to use Glyphs and take the existing a A, u U and o O of the typeface as the basis for creating the Umlaute myself, of course in communication with Lucas.

Not being a fully professional type designer, is there someone who could provide me with some information regarding the design of the Umlaute, specifically in a serif typeface? I assume there are things to keep in mind and an Ä is not created by merely copying the A and putting a couple of dots taken from the i above it.


You can find a lot of useful information and resources for designing diacritics here:

When designing a latin-based typeface, how are diacritics handled?

Specifically in this case The Diacritics Project. Which says:

The basic form of diaeresis and umlaut are two dots. The symbol thus may be created of two dots same as the one above i, placed in the same height. Sometimes, it is visually more pleasing to scale down the dot accents. However, even the scaled down dots should be of the same shape as the dot accent.

So in theory you can just take the existing characters and dots in the typeface.

Creating the glyphs…

In Glyphs you need to create new glyphs for the diacritics you’re missing and set up anchors for those diacritics so Glyphs can auto-generate the combined glyphs for you.

Right clicking the relevant item in the Languages section of the left sidebar of the font view will show you the glyphs you’re missing and let you generate them…

enter image description here

Note; the glyph you want is the “Dieresis“, what Glyphs calls the umlaut is actually a double acute.

To make things easier, first generate only the diacritic glyph.

Then you need to create the paths in the glyph (so copy/paste some dots and scale/reposition as needed). Set the anchors while you’re there too (cmd+U); the anchors are used to position the components in the generated combined characters so you may or may not need to adjust the anchors.

Then go back and generate the combined characters.

Creating the diacritics first allows Glyphs to auto-generate the combined characters as they are created. Otherwise it would have generated everything as an empty glyph and you would need to go through each and go to Glyph → Make Component Glyph to auto-generate them.

More info on setting up diacritics in Glyphs here:

Source : Link , Question Author : JoSch , Answer Author : Community

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