I'm designing a print publication in InDesign CC using Adobe Caslon, and the typeface appears to be missing these characters:

ḥ ḍ ṣ ṭ

This is how the text is rendering:

screenshot of text with missing-character glyphs

Switching to a different font isn't an option because it's a 140-page periodical, and that would mean changing the whole darned thing. I'd like to avoid using images of the missing characters if I can, as those are so tricky to size and align correctly with the text flow. I can't just add the characters in FontForge because of the licensing, and because Adobe CC locks its font files down tight.

What would be the best way to solve this? If inserting the characters as vector images is the best way to go, then I'd appreciate any advice on how to fit them smoothly into the text (other than zooming in to a million percent and sizing/aligning them by hand).

Thanks, hive mind!

  • Can't you combine two glyphs, a letter+underdot? See this possibly related question: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/1380/… – Billy Kerr Mar 24 at 19:15
  • Have you tried contacting adobe? I mean it shouldnt be out of the question for the foundry to change the font for you. Offcourse the fee might be big. – joojaa Mar 25 at 7:23

Transliteration of Egyptian uses all these four characters as well, and several fonts have been made specifically for Egyptian transliteration based on classic typefaces. Unfortunately, though such fonts exist based on Garamond (Aegyptus/Nilus) and Bembo (Cardo, for general philological use), I’m not aware of any which are based on Caslon.

Adobe Caslon doesn’t have the dot-below diacritic at all (neither combining nor spacing), so even Billy’s suggestion of combining two glyphs won’t work without some extra tweaking.

There is, however, a free (OFL) Unicode font called Junicode, which is based on an early-17th-century font which is quite similar to Caslon. While there are some fairly obvious differences between Adobe Caslon and Junicode if you compare them directly – in particular, Caslon’s italics are much more slanted than Junicode’s – they’re not a half-bad match visually, particularly if it’s only these specific characters.

This is what Adobe Caslon Italic looks like with a GREP style in place to apply Junicode Italic and 8° skew to ḥ, ḍ, ṣ and ṭ:

Junicode in Caslon

Not an exact match (the ascender on the d is higher than other ascenders, and the slanting still isn’t quite a match), but I would venture that if this is for a technical periodical and these characters only appear occasionally and not all over the place, very, very few readers will ever notice.

If you don’t think this blends in well enough, I think you’ll have to split the precomposed characters up into sequences of the base letter and the combining dot below (U+0323), and then use a separate font (such as Junicode) just for the dot-below and adjust the kerning between the letter and the diacritic, as Lauren’s answer and Alan’s answer suggest in the thread Billy linked to.

There’s a good chance you’ll have to create separate character styles for each of the four letters, but you can still use them as GREP styles quite easily.

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