Isotope takes advantage of Stylistic Sets, an OpenType feature that makes it easy to transform text with a single click.
Many fonts contain stylistic or functional variations of individual glyphs, commonly known as “alternates.” When using such fonts, designers have traditionally had to hunt for these characters in a vast palette of glyphs, from which individual characters could be inserted, one at a time, into the text. OpenType fonts, when used in a type-savvy application, offer a much more convenient approach: related alternates can be grouped together as “Stylistic Sets,” which when activated will render all the changes at once, throughout the selected text. Below are some of the Stylistic Sets we’ve created for Isotope, accessible in the Adobe Creative Suite, Try.typography, the Cloud.typography webfont dashboard, and other supporting applications.
Isotope includes two styles of the letter K that satisfy the design’s rationalist tendencies in different ways. The default version tends toward the same squareness as the rest of the alphabet; the alternate version favors a more mathematical symmetry.
Because Isotope’s broad-shouldered capitals invite tight framing, an alternate Q is included whose tail doesn’t disrupt the baseline.
In addition to its standard form, which follows the traditional diagonal construction, Isotope includes a ‘commercial’ ampersand adapted from a cursive E, a design that comes to typography from signwriting. Stylistic Set 3 introduces this form in all of the Isotope fonts.
In its standard position, the colon sits on the baseline, to align visually with the position and scale of the lowercase. Each style of Isotope includes as Stylistic Set 4 an alternate design for the colon, which is raised to center on the capitals and the figures, an appropriate choice when setting timetables.