Localize Your Font: Polish Kreska

  • by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
  • Tutorial
  • – Modified on

There are five letters in the Polish alphabet that can take an acute accent: C/c, N/n, O/o, S/s and Z/z. Most of these also appear in other languages. That would not be a problem if the Poles didn’t draw their acutes differently. Simply put, a Polish acute, also known as ‘kreska’, is steeper than usual and originates from the optical center of the base letter.

This is what an acute usually looks like:

And this is what a Polish kreska looks like:

Building the Polish Kreska

Technically, you have two options here. You can either make a compromise and draw your acute letters in such a way that it looks okay for Polish and other languages.

Or you can add a Polish version of your acute accent. Copy and paste your existing acutecomb and you will get an acutecomb.001. Rename it to acutecomb.loclPLK. Now you can adjust the Polish acute to what a kreska should look like. And then, you can build the Polish variants of the acute letters. Choose Add Glyphs from the Font menu (Cmd-Shift-G) and enter the appropriate glyph names:

Cacute.loclPLK
Nacute.loclPLK
Oacute.loclPLK
Sacute.loclPLK
Zacute.loclPLK
cacute.loclPLK
nacute.loclPLK
oacute.loclPLK
sacute.loclPLK
zacute.loclPLK

Now we have the kreska letters in our font. But how can we actually use them? OpenType features to the rescue!

The locl Feature

Since we have properly named glyphs, we can have Glyphs take care of the locl feature automagically. Just choose Font Info from your File menu (Cmd-I), switch to the Features tab and click on the circled arrow in the bottom left corner of the Font Info window. Boom, Glyphs automatically adds the PLK language system and the Polish substitutions to the locl feature:

That’s all there is to it, you now have successfully implemented a Polish kreska in your font. You can apply it by choosing Polish from your language menu in InDesign’s character palette.

Further Reading

The kreska is not the only Polish specialty, but usually the only one that needs this kind of special OpenType attention. For more info on Polish, read Adam Twardoch’s excellent ‘Polish diacritics: how to?’ where he also covers the infamous slashed L/l and the ogonek. A must-read if you want your font to speak Polish.

Update 2014-09-02: Updated to new glyph names in Glyphs 2.
Update 2016-02-19: Updated screenshots for Glyphs 2.