What is a glyph symbol?

A glyph symbol is a character used to represent a specific word. The glyph and all letters that make up the character are placed in the font’s code page, and then the code page is scanned as text. On a modern operating system such as Ubuntu, this is done through the /usr/include/fonts/fontconfig.h file, but I’ve never noticed that these files are actually required, since they simply contain a list of glyphs for the operating system’s user-provided default font (if it’s a Mac, they’ll be located in /usr/share/fonts/Arial, Verdana, Courier, etc.). However, for older systems such as Irix and Amiga, those glyphs can be added by hand, and then translated into the OS’s user-configured font.

So, if the glyph name is not an identifier of a particular character, and the first letter of the glyph is one of the ones in the default font (e.g. fontname ), we can just go ahead and fill in the rest with our own glyph name. When using a system font, I prefer to use the font-name format for my glyphs; the name is what you see on the screen, with the other characters just describing what the character could do.

So, how do we determine the appropriate glyph? To do this, all you need to do is create a font to represent the character, and name it (not the glyph name, even). For example, you can create a small font, with only a few characters, like a serif typeface, and name it serif. Open a plain text editor, and create a file called serif.pcf, and put this code snippet inside:

Serif Regular Serif Regular Regular Bold I U P

Post navigation