Before we can get to “how to glyph”, we need to know: What is a glyph?

1 : an ornamental vertical groove especially in a Doric frieze
2 : a symbolic figure or a character (as in the Mayan system of writing) usually incised or carved in relief
3 : a symbol (such as a curved arrow on a road sign) that conveys information nonverbally
For those of us creating digital art, we use glyphs in typography. A glyph is an alternate of a character, such as Y (or A, but I’m using Y today LOL). Here’s a quick little graphic:

Every character is a lowercase Y. Each “y” is a different glyph of the y character, whether that be different typefaces or alternate glyphs within one typeface. Today I’m going to show you how to find glyph alternates in your favorite fonts.

We’ve just released our Coordinated Collection Smitten. Not only am I in love, I am completely totally smitten (pun intended!). I also have the perfect font that coordinates just beautifully with Smitten,  Hello Bellandia. I decided an update on my forum siggie, ie. signature, was called for. I’ve been sporting a lovely winter siggie, but with the month of love here & the gorgeous pinks, purples & blues in Smitten, well, I wanted something more vibrant & prettier.

If you are new to forum signatures, Jill (Jilbert’s bits of bytes) runs a monthly Siggy Challenge that can help you every step of the way. This is my new Smitten & Hello Bellandia siggie:

Now, Jill is your go-to gal for how-to siggie, but I’m here for how-to glyph. Let’s focus on just my name, Toiny, and the Hello Bellandia font & glyph alternates. If I just type in my name & change the font to Hello Bellandia, I get this:

I love the little heart dot above the i. This I want to keep. But. I want a fancier Tand y.

I love this! It’s perfect. Let’s dig in on how I did this. I’m using Photoshop CC. Photoshop has a built-in Glyph panel that makes accessing built-in glyphs easy! However, if you do not use Photoshop (or another program with a Glyph panel), you can still access built-in glyphs via the character map using Copy & Paste.

In Photoshop, the best way to access glyphs is through the Glyph panel. Simply open the Glyph panel as you would any other panel in Photoshop. In your top menu:

  • select Type > Panels > Glyphs panel; or
  • Window > Glyphs

You can make several adjustments within, and to, the Glyph panel.

  • You can resize the panel to be bigger or smaller by dragging the corner of the pop-out box
  • You can view the Entire Font or just your selection, alternates, etc.
  • You can change the viewing size, by dragging the slider on the bottom left
  • And you can see recent glyphs on the very top row;
    note: this includes glyphs from recently viewed fonts

Personally, I like bigger glyphs in my panel, and the panel tucked out of the way. I do this by dragging & locking it into place next to my main panels.

  • Click & hold onto the top part of your Glyphs panel
  • Still holding down the mouse clicker, drag your Glyphs panel next to your main panels until a bright blue line appears;
  • This means you are in the right spot;
  • Release your mouse button

While you are dragging your Glyphs panel, it becomes transparent but still visible. Once it’s dropped into place it becomes fully visible again and you can adjust character size and/or width of your panel.

  • My Glyphs panel is locked into place next to my main panel; because
  • I want to see both my Character panel and Glyphs panel at the same time
  • My Glyphs are set to large view

I’ve reset my name, Toiny, to the default Hello Bellandia character glyphs. To change my T to an alternate glyph, I need to select the T only.

  • In your Layers palette click on the text layer (where you want to change glyphs)
  • Click on the text in your open document
  • Select one letter only
  • Move your mouse to the Glyphs panel
  • Scroll to choose your alternate glyph
  • Double-Click to apply the change
  • Click on the check mark in the top menu

I choose a lowercase t to replace my uppercase T

I repeat the process by selecting the y only:

  • The y has several attractive choices; and
  • I don’t like any of them
  • This is why I always leave the Entire Font visible

I like the swooshy thing that extends underneath my name. It’s not an alternate for y but it is an alternate for u. Nobody has to know that is not a y! And I’m happy. Win-win.

I’m completely happy with my new swooshy, gliphy, name. I finish up my siggie by clustering bits & pieces of Smitten, cheating just a tad by starting with a pre-made cluster from Erika (et designs).

The entire Smitten Coordinated Collection is on sale for only $1.00 per pack through February 18, 2022.