Text Visualisation - Glyphs (Character Rendering)


Glyphs are units of visual rendering.

A set of glyphs makes up a font.

Glyphs can be construed as the basic units of organization of the visual rendering of text, just as characters are the basic unit of organization of encoded text.

Glyphs are defined by ISO/IEC 9541-1 as “a recognizable abstract graphic symbol which is independent of a specific design”.

Characters / Glyphs mapping

There is not a one-to-one correspondence between characters and glyphs:

  • A single character can be represented by multiple glyphs (each glyph is then part of the representation of that character). These glyphs may be physically separated from one another.
  • A single glyph may represent a sequence of characters (this is the case with ligatures, among others).
  • A character may be rendered with very different glyphs depending on the context.
  • A single glyph may represent different characters (e.g. capital Latin A, capital Greek A and capital Cyrillic A).

Documentation / Reference

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