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There are (some very nice) text fonts which do not have math support. Though there are ways to 'remedy' this, such as the mathastext package and some others, these are hardly satisfactory. All accents need to be manually adjusted every time they are used, spacing is a nightmare, and overall the document in general does not look professional. Leading to my

Question. How would one, given a text font, design a math package utilizing this font?

In particular, I am not interested (at the moment) in artistic font design issues like shape and slope of letters and such things. Some of the precise issues that I would like to solve are:

  • Positions for decorations like bars, tildes, etc.
  • Subscript / superscript size and positioning.
  • 'Box' sizes and position (I believe this is correct terminology), for instance how much space around an italicized $f$ so that the tail does not overlap the previous letter (an issue that occurs frequently with the remedies mentioned above).

And of course, there is the issue of the math symbols (including arrows, binary operators, greek letters, script alphabets, etc.). Obviously it would be nice to create from scratch my own set of such symbols, but that is far in the future and not an issue for now. Right now, I have symbols I like from a variety of places and packages.

Example. The package fouriernc is new century schoolbook with fourier math. This is similar to what I want. To design a math font package that is equipped with math symbols from another. (Indeed, fourier is a math set I am considering.)

So, now that the proposal is (relatively, I hope) clear, we return to the question. I don't have experience programming in TeX (though I know C and python quite well) beyond the basics. In particular, I have never done anything beyond what is in document. Thus I haven't a clue on how to begin with this project. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I guess that a relevant source is Knuth's "Computer and Typesetting", Volume E, "Computer Modern Typefaces" (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xvi+588pp (ISBN 0-201-13446-2) where the building of the Computer Modern math fonts is described with all the needed details. –  egreg Oct 2 '12 at 17:17
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There is a talk from BachoTeX2008 by Ulrik Vieth: youtube.com/watch?v=EwCG0r1tj5Q, and the paper (PDF): tug.org/~vieth/papers/bachotex2008/math-font-paper.pdf which you may find interesting. –  morbusg Oct 2 '12 at 17:32
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@egreg: That would be a start; but today a math font should be an OpenType math font. Here is a paper on the design of Cambria Math. –  Martin Schröder Oct 2 '12 at 23:28
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1 Answer

I suppose not the answer you want to hear:

It is really difficult to build or better create a good looking and working math font. Your question let me guess, that you are not a typographer. So please don't do it. Leave this job a typographer who has learned (tooks several years ...) to do this.

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