Re: Writing a proposal for an unusual script: SignWriting (colors)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Jun 21 2010 - 18:41:54 CDT

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     "André Szabolcs Szelp" <>
    > On 2010.06.14., at 22:18, Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
    > >>> SignWriting has the unusual requirement of a 2 color font. One font
    > >>> color for the line of the symbols and another for the fill. The fill
    > >>> is needed when symbols overlap.
    > >> Hmm.
    > >
    > > AFAIK, Unicode can't do color. I remember someone mentioning that
    > > once. But someone who knows the exact rules can explain better.
    > Actually, the example given by Stephen does not need a "fill color",
    > but can be handled by a "ligature" glyph... given, that we _can_
    > reduce the logical relations to a certain number, and not have
    > arbitrary x,y-placement-coordinates. I still firmly believe this
    > should be possible, but I'm not an expert of the matter, at all, and
    > will be happy to be proven definitely wrong.

    Unicode cannot encode color itself, but it can still encode its
    semantic meaning, just like it encodes diacritical modifiers that may
    change the appearance (or even shape) of a base letter (e.g. combining
    halants in Indic scripts).

    The actual rendering of the color semantic does not necessarily have
    to use the exact canonical colors, as long as it conveys the semantics
    in a predictable way for readers (and we've already seen that with
    patterns used in heraldic symbols or discussed recently for emojis, or
    with some hollow symbols and bullets that only differentiate from
    filled symbols with identical shapes : they were encoded separately).
    This means that monochrome fonts can still be created for the symbols.

    If there are only two meaninful colors, nothing forbids to encode each
    color variant separately.

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