Brick by Brick, the FontStruct Blog

The FontStruct Blog

Going off grid

News | | May 13th, 2014


Brick in a square, brick in a square, brick in a square … Until today this was the FontStructors’ collective mantra.

Now, with the introduction of “nudging”, you can push any selected bricks off their home grid squares – up to half a square in any direction. For now, these nudges are in quarter square increments.

There are menu commands for this (Menu > Modify > Nudge) which will become active once you’ve made a selection, but most people will probably find the keyboard shortcuts easier (hold  down shift and then use the arrow keys).


I think this will open up a whole new world of exciting possibilities for the endlessly inventive FontStruct community.

Solving the Macaroni Conundrum

Even before the launch of FontStruct I was aware of the limitations of shapes such as the “macaroni” bricks on the grid. When building with them, you are limited in the ways you can connect – you can only ever “turn” in one direction. Such bricks demand some freedom from the grid. Today, with the introduction of nudging, we liberate the macaroni.


I think nudging will legitimate the addition of more new bricks with similar properties in the future.

Please Note

The feature is in “alpha” and is available in “Expert Mode” only.

Also, you cannot make composite bricks out of nudged components (or rather they won’t compose as you might hope).

Happy FontStructing!




  1. opipik

    It doesn’t workfor me. I have no “Nudge ” command in the “Modify” menu.

    opipik — May 13, 2014 #

  2. Umbreon126

    So much more potential now :) I’m interested to see what everyone will create using this :o

    Umbreon126 — May 13, 2014 #

  3. Rob Meek (meek)

    @opipik – you may need to clear your browser cache to see the new feature, and remember to choose “Expert Mode”.

    Rob Meek (meek) — May 13, 2014 #

  4. opipik

    YXes, I have alwazs Expert Mode

    opipik — May 13, 2014 #

  5. Yautja

    Yes! Thank you so much!

    Yautja — May 13, 2014 #

  6. j4s13

    super-pixel curves!

    j4s13 — May 13, 2014 #

  7. architaraz

    Great news! Thank you, FS staff!

    architaraz — May 13, 2014 #

  8. four

    Wow, looking forward to seeing how this will be used!

    four — May 13, 2014 #

  9. demonics

    Wonderful idea. Thank you so much!

    demonics — May 13, 2014 #

  10. elmoyenique


    elmoyenique — May 13, 2014 #

  11. elmoyenique


    elmoyenique — May 13, 2014 #

  12. aphoria

    Excellent addition!

    aphoria — May 13, 2014 #

  13. Upixel

    That sound realy cool
    Thank you

    Upixel — May 13, 2014 #

  14. cablecomputer

    Yeay, awesome! Looking forward what people will create on this…

    cablecomputer — May 13, 2014 #

  15. aphoria

    @meek I’m still not seeing the new nudge command. I’ve cleared my browser cached and tried Firefox and Chrome.

    aphoria — May 13, 2014 #

  16. Rob Meek (meek)

    @aphoria hmm. it’s there for me. anyone else having such problems? you do need to select something first before you can nudge it of course.

    Rob Meek (meek) — May 13, 2014 #

  17. opipik

    I have these problems.

    opipik — May 13, 2014 #

  18. SymbioticDesign


    SymbioticDesign — May 13, 2014 #

  19. aphoria

    @meek It’s showing in Chrome now…not sure what is different. I’ll try clearing the cache and restarting Firefox again.

    aphoria — May 13, 2014 #

  20. opipik

    In Chrome they aren’t.

    opipik — May 13, 2014 #

  21. djnippa

    Looking forward to seeing what this may bring to my designs. Great work Rob, you know we love new additions. :)

    djnippa — May 13, 2014 #

  22. time.peace

    This is going to to greatly improve the quality of fonts, and I love to see what can come from this, not just from me, but from everybody

    time.peace — May 13, 2014 #

  23. aphoria

    @meek Still not working in Firefox…I’ve cleared the cache and restarted Firefox multiple times.

    aphoria — May 13, 2014 #

  24. Rob Meek (meek)

    @aphoria Sorry to hear that it’s not working for you yet. I can’t make it not work in Firefox!
    I don’t have any other ideas at the moment I’m afraid. If you control-click or right-click anywhere inside the FontStructor it should show a menu including a version number. The current version number is 1a48c18. If you see a different number, you have an older version of the FontStructor and it’s stuck in a cache somewhere.

    Rob Meek (meek) — May 13, 2014 #

  25. aphoria

    @meek Ok…I’ll keep looking. My version shows v47d4c8c. :(

    aphoria — May 13, 2014 #

  26. riccard0

    For those like me that love to use a small grid, spacing is where I hope this will bring much needed help. Thanks!

    riccard0 — May 13, 2014 #

  27. elmoyenique

    @aphoria: It works to me very well using Firefox 29.0 in my Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. Also it works with Chrome 26.0, but I can’t put it at work under Safari or Opera… yet.

    elmoyenique — May 13, 2014 #

  28. ETHproductions

    It seems that every time a new feature is added, it’s not what I thought I wanted, but it’s much, much better. ;-)

    I can’t thank you enough, Mr. Meek, for continuously changing and adding new features to the Fontstructor. This nudging option is incredibly agile, and I can see thousands of possibilities that can be opened up with it.

    ETHproductions — May 13, 2014 #

  29. kix

    Im really looking forward on testing this. the amount of possibilities and ways of solving issues just blew through the roof. thank you for this brilliant solution, i agree this will definately reduce the need for new bricks!

    kix — May 14, 2014 #

  30. kix

    If you`d add a “rotation” function in the future, controlled the same style, the possibilities would be endless…

    kix — May 14, 2014 #

  31. p2pnut

    Nice work! I’m looking forward to what will come from this – especially from the more adventurous members of our FS family. Thank you Mr M.

    p2pnut — May 14, 2014 #

  32. funk_king

    worked for me off the bat. a welcome feature. i just don’t know what to do with it :) i guess this will give me a reason to go back into my catalog and play around with some old stuff. thanks meek, you’re incredible!

    – funk_king — May 14, 2014 #

  33. funk_king

    another note: i think this feature will be useful for those of us who do dot fonts. generally when i do dot fonts, the idea is to use the dots to “trace” the glyphs i design. many times the grid limited me from getting the curves just right. this feature will truly free up the grid for dots to pretty much go where they need to go. thanks again, meek. this is sweet.

    funk_king — May 14, 2014 #

  34. laynecom

    Oh man! Thank you. It solves so many problems. It resolves so many restrivtions. I’m loving it already.

    The only thing is that the preview can’t cope with the new feature. But, as you said, it’s still alpha.

    laynecom — May 14, 2014 #

  35. laynecom

    That’s “restrictions”, of course…

    laynecom — May 14, 2014 #

  36. laynecom

    Ok, I see the preview problem is solved after pressing Crtl-F5.

    laynecom — May 14, 2014 #

  37. Icelar


    Icelar — May 14, 2014 #

  38. djnippa

    I’m on MAC and Chrome. I had to clear my cache. Then re-boot, before it would work. OMG it’s AWESUM-O. The ‘nudge’ has just solved so many slight alignment, small missing brick and spacing problems.
    How they come up with these ideas, is beyond me, but it is ultra creative.

    djnippa — May 14, 2014 #

  39. kix

    okay, after testing this, im a little disappointed. this feature is nothing i coulod use the way i wanted, but that was mainly because the steps are in quarter bricks… if nudging becomes more precise, like e.g. the existing letterspacing-controls, i’m on board again

    kix — May 14, 2014 #

  40. thalamic

    I tried it out; it works like a charm.
    I’ve said this before…and I’ll say it again:
    Rob Meek is a usability genius.
    The usage is so intuitive that it already feels second nature.

    thalamic — May 15, 2014 #

  41. 1saac


    1saac — May 16, 2014 #

  42. Cohnisgone

    This new feature has made all small grid fonts that use real curves much easier. My only issue is that you can’t stack on bricks where you first put the nudged brick. This is a tricky problem to overcome when working in tight spaces.

    Cohnisgone — May 16, 2014 #

  43. ente3000

    @opipik me too…

    ente3000 — May 17, 2014 #

  44. Aarilight

    omfg i might get back into making fonts with this addition. =DD

    Aarilight — May 21, 2014 #

  45. Abneurone Fluid Types

    Nudge will be useful to design and place better diacritics, especially on small grids. For me who came in days where there wasn’t any composite, stack, grid filter feature, any arc, fin or house brick, it’s like if Fontstructor has passed from a Twingo to a Ferrari. Though it is still frustrating that with the marvellous fontstructions we can achieve now we still can’t show them in a decent way because of the erratic and bad resolution of the different fs previews, hope staff has some project on improving them as they so wonderfully made progressing all other aspects of our marvellous tool… (I know we had the beautiful “full screen” evolution, but the basic resolution, and the erratic spacing preview when grid filtering is used still need improvement

    Abneurone Fluid Types — May 25, 2014 #

  46. j4s13

    it helped with an almost abandoned font! THANK YOU SO MUCH I CAN’T EVEN MEEK

    j4s13 — May 25, 2014 #

  47. winty5

    YES this helped me SO MUCH on proxy mutations. Thanks so much meek ur the best!!!

    winty5 — May 25, 2014 #

  48. architaraz

    Is it possible to make letter width guide movable too?

    architaraz — June 4, 2014 #

  49. Rob Meek (meek)

    @architaraz. Good question. I ignored letter spacing when adding nudging. That would be a good enhancement.

    Rob Meek (meek) — June 5, 2014 #

  50. four

    Great, an adjustable letter width guide in expert mode (using the same quarter square increments) is the logical next step and would be much appreciated!

    four — June 6, 2014 #

  51. Bismuth

    Hurrah! :)

    Bismuth — June 10, 2014 #

  52. opipik

    The nudge is like a goldmine.
    It offers plenty of new techniques, but when you discover all of them, FS is as good as it was before the nudge.(I mean very good, but not awesome.)
    Now, FS is awesome.

    opipik — July 25, 2014 #

  53. angel7878


    angel7878 — August 25, 2014 #

  54. LoganDark

    Now I can finally center the line in my T!

    LoganDark — September 14, 2014 #

  55. LoganDark

    I think you should allow us to start nudging bricks all over the place instead of just half a tile :)

    Just a suggestion.

    LoganDark — September 14, 2014 #

  56. intaglio

    I have a perverse streak. First glyph of a new font I started: a lower case s and immediately fell foul of the “no stacks” rule. Hah hah!

    intaglio — October 20, 2014 #

  57. someone-stupid

    This feature is awesome!

    someone-stupid — October 25, 2014 #