Variable Fonts italic axis

Hi everyone,

I have noticed that Figma does not display a slider for the italic axis. This only happens if the font is created with a slant axis. Is there a reason why it is not possible to select a position within the italic axis on a slider interface? According to the specs, the italic axis allows a scale interpretation.

Let me know, Céline

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Hi Céline,

Thank you for getting in touch. I want to make sure I’ve fully understood your question—are you asking about how to italicize text? As you noted, this can be achieved by applying a slant. If you’re working with static fonts, you’ll need to select the specific font styles that are italicized.

You might find this page helpful for a deeper understanding: Variable fonts support in Figma.

If there’s something crucial I’ve overlooked, could you please direct me to the specific documentation that mentions the italic axis allows a scale interpretation? I’d be more than happy to look into it!

Thanks,
Toku

Hi Toku,

Thank you for your fast reply. Exactly, I was working with a variable font and intended to achieve an “animation” between upright to italic. However, the font I was using was mastered with an italic axis. (Because of the styl-linking in Microsoft, which is not working if you have a slant axis btw.) As I said, accordingly to the specs it’s not forbidden to create a semi-italic, see here: ital design-variation axis tag (OpenType 1.9) - Typography | Microsoft Learn it only specify that the value should sit somewhere between 0 and 1. So I wondered weather Figma is planing to change that in the near future?

Merci,
Céline

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Yes, the italic axis slider is missing. Currently, we can either use an upright (ital=0) or italic (ital=1) version of the font, but not semi-italic (ital=0.5) or other italic angles in between (ital=0.2 or ital=0.6). This should be fixed as it’s limiting the potential of variable technology. If you are giving variable axes to choose from, then it should include all the axes a font supports.

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Oh this is great news. Can you give already a date by which you will have fixed it?

Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback. As I shared with the internal team, we took the approach of interpreting it as a on/off value, so the current spec for variable font italics is on or off. We keep hearing you and consider for the future improvements.

Thanks,
Toku

Folks at Figma, please reconsider this issue.

Since ital is a full-fledged variable axis, it should at least be listed in the Variable tab, even if the axis only would allow values of 0 and 1.

However, as rightly noted above, not allowing intermediate values for this axis limits the entire purpose of variable technology.