This is my first attempt to design a font. I'm using Affinity Designer (latest version) on an ipad, and Adobe Illustrator 2020, and FontForge (latest version) on a Macbook Pro. I exported the glyphs: a, b, c, d, e, f, and g as separate svg files from Illustrator to FontForge. On the individual glyph editing screen, they each looked like FontForge understood them. However, when I used the metrics window to preview, only the b, d, and g showed up. The other letters were entirely blank.

Things I tried:

  • Exporting them as eps files instead of svg
  • Exporting them as pdf files instead of svg
  • Exporting them as svg, eps, and pdf files in both Illustrator and Affinity
  • Using the "simplify" tool in Illustrator before exporting
  • Looking for similar questions and solutions online

I get the feeling it has something to do with the "hammered metal" look confusing FontForge, but I feel like there should be some way to make that work since that's what I'm going for in the design.

Since I'm new to this, it's very likely there's some option either in the exporting or the importing that I have to adjust.

Any help would be appreciated if anyone knows how to get FontForge to read the file uploaded below (the "a"):


Some photos:

The SVG file: The SVG file

fontforge seems to understand "a" in the editing mode: fontforge seems to understand "a" in the editing mode

fontforge showing a blank "a" in metrics: fontforge showing a blank "a" in metrics

Thank you and please let me know what else I can add to make this clearer!

1 Answer 1


I think the most likely cause of this problem is that the path of your 'a' glyph isn't closed.

Here's a simple example. Here, the 'a' glyph is open near the top of the stem. Although it is filled in the glyph preview window, it doesn't appear in the metrics window and probably won't render properly when exported to a font.

FontForge glyph editor and metrics windows. The lowercase 'a' is missing in the metrics window because the path is not closed

If you drag one end point over the other, FontForge will close the path for you. This fixes the problem. (Or in Affinity Designer, just select the path and click the close path button.)

Same image, but now the 'a' glyph has a closed path and appears in the metrics window


I just checked your SVG file and as I expected, the path isn't closed:

<path class="st0" d="M686.18,350.66c ... ,690.74,358.32,686.18,350.66"/>

This <path> element starts and ends at coordinates 686.18,350.66, but there is no closepath instruction. So another fix would be to delete ,686.18,350.66 at the end of the path data and replace it with Z.

<path class="st0" d="M686.18,350.66c ... ,690.74,358.32Z"/>
  • Well spotted!! Yeah, I opened the SVG in Inkscape, it's definitely not a closed path. Rather than code this, might be easier just to select the two offending anchors and do a Join operation in Illustrator/Inkscape etc.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 28, 2021 at 14:22
  • In this case the two end anchors are in the same place, so you would end up with a zero-length path segment. That might not affect the end result, but it's probably best avoided.
    – r3mainer
    Dec 28, 2021 at 14:27
  • Thank you! This is really helpful! I will check for open paths now every time. Dec 28, 2021 at 18:18

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