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Dancing Letter issue in small size

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(sorry for my english)

I am new in font creation, i am making a kind of Helvetica font in Upper case.

I am working on fontographer, I am alinging perfectly the font on guidelines but i see in very small size on illustrator for exemple, the letters looks not aligned.

The Upper optical alignement line looks not straight, its like "dancing letters".

Is there any rules to have a beautiful font in small sizes ? do i have to make a "small version" inside the same font ?


Thank you for your help.


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Hi Ralf, Thank you for your answer, i will study this then i will come back if i have more questions.

thank you ! ;)

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Hello Ralf, 

I started to study hinting, this is very interesting. What do you think about auto hinting on fontlab ? is it clean ?

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Ralf Herrmann

There is nothing wrong with using auto-hinting (of any font editor). However, it is only as good as your settings. 

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Thank you again for your answer, before anwsering you i had a look on my setttings.

I havn't touched the fontlab settings. Is there a good thing to do to change, to basically have the good basic settings ?

anyway, with auto hinting in 8pt and 12pt for exemple i still have "dancing letters" effect. Then i suppose i have to correct manually. Right ?

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Ralf Herrmann

It’s not something that can be explained quickly in a forum post. As said before, you need to learn the basics of hinting. Then you know which settings to choose for a specific font, and then when you apply auto-hinting, you won’t have dancing letters anymore. You need to tell the auto-hinter the stem-widths you want. You need to set alignment zones, so the curve of an o going above the x-height won’t push out one pixel to the top, but will be forced to the height of an x. That’s the stuff you need to understand and apply. But it’s a big topic …

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