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I want to know what people think about contextual variants, as seen in arabic, in latin scripts. I am trying to design a typeface that consists of different letterforms according to their context. In otherwords, an a would look different depending if it was interacting with an a straight edge letterform, a curved letterform etc... My hypothesis is that if we can eliminate some of the unnecessary positive and negative space between letters, we can facilitate a more comfortable reading experience. I was wondering if people had any insight? resources that I might consider looking into? Or any examples where this has already been done.
I've recently learned how to use Fontlab Studio 5, and I also learned how to script ligatures. But I noticed Illustrator for example has more buttons in the type tool section: Standard Ligatures, Contextual Ligatures, Discretionary Ligatures, Swash, Stylistic Alternates, Titling Alternates, Ordinals and Fractions.
So out of that list, I only know how to script the standard ligatures. Does anyone know how to script the others, or do you know a source to learn about it? Most font families contain all the ligatures and swash letters as seperate fonts rather than putting it into a single font (OpenType). Is there a reason for doing this?