Advanced Text Layout

Abstract

There’s a lot of focus in user experience on graphics and animations. It can be easy to forget about the workhorse of most interfaces: text. Text can seem mundane and simple, but that’s only because modern systems do so much work to make it beautiful automatically. Great text layout is actually very complex. But powerful as modern systems are, sometimes the defaults aren’t good enough. In this talk, you’ll go beyond the basics to learn how fonts and text layout really work, based on lessons learned over the centuries since the invention of the printing press. You’ll learn the language of fonts, from ascenders and glyphs, to small capitals and lowercase numbers.

This talk will walk you through the entire layout process, from decoding UTF-8, character composition, glyph generation, ligatures and swashes, and positioning. Examples will be discussed for iOS, Android, and Web.

Session Info

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Rob Napier

iOS Developer