A Weird Imagination

Custom Bullshit Sans

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So, you saw Sans Bullshit Sans (which I previously blogged about) and thought that Sans Bullshit Sans font is cool, but its word list doesn't really match up with my field's bullshit?

As mentioned in that previous post, Sans Bullshit Sans is open-source and comes with a detailed blog post explaining how it was made. Which means we can follow those instructions to modify the word list.

FontTools

You will need have to the fontTools package installed:

$ sudo apt-get install fonttools

FontTools includes the ttx tool which converts back and forth between TTF or OTF fonts and its own .ttx XML format. Then we can use standard tools like Python's etree module to edit the XML before converting it back.

Extracting the word list

Step one is to download SansBullshitSans.ttf and convert it to .ttx:1

$ wget http://pixelambacht.nl/downloads/SansBullshitSans.ttf
$ ttx SansBullshitSans.ttf

Then I wrote a script that extracts the word list from the .ttx file called ligature_xml_to_list.py:

$ wget https://gist.githubusercontent.com/dperelman/81fb4d94124178f35966/raw/feb138d8852d4125a2245bedfcf0ebb3ef55241d/ligature_xml_to_list.py
$ sed -n '/<LigatureSubst /,/<\/LigatureSubst>/p' SansBullshitSans.ttx \
    | python ./ligature_xml_to_list.py \
    | tee words
DNA
DRM
MVP
ROI
SEM
SEO
accelerate
accountability
action items
...

The sed command extracts the lines inside the <LigatureSubst> tag and passes them to the Python script, which uses the etree module to parse the XML along with fontTools to convert from glyph names to Unicode characters.

Inserting a new word list

Now edit the word list ./words to your liking. Once you have done so, you can use the following to build a font with your new word list:

wget https://gist.github.com/dperelman/d78e4897743f32e88a4b/raw/6017b403fbd54ef7dc410a7d37a7d61feb9e6ffd/gistfile1.py
FONTNAME=Sans Custom Bullshit Sans
WORDLIST=./words
ttx SansBullshitSans.ttf
(
    sed -n "s/Sans Bullshit Sans/$FONTNAME/;0,/<LigatureSubst /p" SansBullshitSans.ttx
    ./gistfile1.py $WORDLIST | sed 's/^/          /'
    sed -n '/<\/LigatureSubst>/,$p' SansBullshitSans.ttx
) >newFont.ttx
ttx newFont.ttx
rm newFont.ttx

gistfile1.py is based on the script given in the blog post about making Sans Bullshit Sans; the original had the word list hard-coded, I changed it to use fileinput instead. The sed commands copy the rest of the .ttx file except for renaming the font to $FONTNAME so it doesn't conflict with the real Sans Bullshit Sans. The three commands are run in a subshell by surrounding them with () in order to concatenate their output together. The output font file will be newFont.ttf.


  1. The GitHub repository has a SansBullshitSans.ttx, but my version of ttx can't read it, so I just created a fresh one from the .ttf file. 

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