TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sat Sep 18 10:53:15 EDT 2021
FONT RECOGNITION VIA FONT MOOSE
Open source fonts
Abattis is a free software type foundry launched in 2009 by Dave Crossland. Auto-description on his wiki: I'm a designer and nerd in Bournemouth, UK, and I do systems and network consultancy for a living. I completed a BA (Hons) Interaction Design degree at Ravensbourne College in 2006, and am currently on the MA Typeface Design course at Reading, from October 2007 to July 2009. My design philosophy centers around the parameterisation and automation of design to improve the design process, and some of my old ideas are published at designprocess.com. He is a proponent of open source code and of free fonts, and involves himself with dedication in the Open Font Library project. He defines Free fonts as follows: Free Fonts are about freedom, not price. They are fonts you are free to use for any purpose, fonts whose internals you are free to study, fonts you are free to improve, fonts you are free to redistribute, and fonts you are free to redistribute improved versions of which means - in the specific context of font software - fonts you are explicitly free to embedded, subset, bundle and derive from to create any kind of artwork. To be truly Free they must allow commercial use and even to be sold by anyone - as it is about freedom, not price.
Dave dreams of a free culture of visual communication around the world, so he decided to free fonts. His Masters Thesis written in 2008 at the University of Reading is entitled The Free Font Movement.
In 2009, for his MA work at Reading, he designed Cantarell, a free humanist sans family, done together with Jakub Steiner, free at CTAN, Github and Open Font Library. OFL page. Cantarell was there at the launch of Google Fonts and has become widespread. In 2010 it was selected as the default User Interface font for GNOME 3. Petra Sans (2017) is a further development of Cantarell by Cristiano Sobral. Irene Vlachou added Greek support for Cantarell in 2018. The current state of Cantarell as reported on Github: After the GNOME project adopted the typeface in November 2010, minor modifications and slight expansions were made to it over the years. Pooja Saxena initially worked on the typeface as a participant of the GNOME outreach program and later developed her own Devanagari typeface Cambay, which included a redesigned Latin version of Cantarell. It was backported to the GNOME branch of Cantarell by Nikolaus Waxweiler, who also performed other janitorial tasks on it. The overall quality of the design was however far from good, given that the regular and bold face were worked on seperately and without consistency and had low quality outlines, and the oblique variants were simply slanted uprights without much correction. The GNOME design team also requested lighter weights. Up to this point, the work on Cantarell was mainly done with libre tools such as FontForge. Given the decaying state of FontForge (arcane user interface, heaps of quirky and buggy behavior) and the very early development status of alternatives such as TruFont, Nikolaus Waxweiler started redrawing Cantarell in the proprietary and Mac-only Glyphs.app under mentorship from Jacques Le Bailly ("Baron von Fonthausen"). Later, Alexei Vanyashin and Eben Sorkin reviewed the design.
Finally, in 2009 or 2010, he started work on the Google Font Directory. Dave works as a typographic consultant to the Google Fonts project and gives financial support to libre type projects including FontForge, Glyphr Studio and Metapolator.
Computer and software specialist. He made the Meslo LG font in 2010. As he says, Meslo LG is a customized version of Apple's Menlo-Regular font (which is a customized Bitstream Vera Sans Mono). He did not like certain spacing decisions in Menlo, and so decided to make Meslo LG, where LG stands for Line Gap. The free family, made in 2009-2010, consists of these styles: MesloLGL-Bold, MesloLGL-BoldItalic, MesloLGL-Italic, MesloLGL, MesloLGM-Bold, MesloLGM-BoldItalic, MesloLGM-Italic, MesloLGM, MesloLGS-Bold, MesloLGS-BoldItalic, MesloLGS-Italic, MesloLGS. [Google] [More] ⦿
Copenhagen-based designer (b. 1986) of Tal (2014), a full set of numerals in many weights for use on small devices. Tal is advertized as free, but there are no download buttons anywhere.
In 2014, he also created the Open Source fonts Gidole Play (later renamed Gidolinya) and Gidole Sans [micropage], which is patterned after DIN 1451 and uses Euler spirals. Dedicated page for Gidole Sans. Github link for Gidole.
In 2015, he published Gidole Regular and the monoline sans programming font families Monoid and Mono 16, which cover Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. Gidole was forked and extended in 2016 at Open Font Library by Cristiano Sobral as Normung.
He modified the free M+ font to design MonoMusic for chords and tabs.
Motivated by mathematical applications, the "Arev" set of fonts adds Greek, Cyrillic, Latin-A, and some Latin-B, and Symbol characters (music and math, mainly) to Bitstream's Vera fonts. Stephen Schrenk (whose nom de plume is Tavmjong Bah) created the Arev Sans font. The text accompanying the Arev Sans package is: The package arev provides virtual fonts and LaTeX packages for using Arev Sans. Arev Sans is a derivative of Bitstream Vera Sans created by Tavmjong Bah by adding support for Greek and Cyrillic characters. Bah also added a few variant letters that are more appropriate for mathematics. The primary purpose for using Arev Sans in LaTeX is presentations, particularly when using a computer projector. Arev Sans is quite readable for presentations, with large x-height, "open letters," wide spacing, and thick stems. The style is very similar to the SliTeX font lcmss, but heavier. Stephen Hartke converted Arev Sans to Type 1 format, and created the virtual fonts and packages for using Arev Sans in LaTeX. [Google] [More] ⦿
Arkandis Digital Foundry
French foundry, est. 2007, which published many extensive free sans and sans serif families by Hirwen Harendal, who supports Open Source projects. The purpose of ADF is to provide a large number of high quality fonts (174 fonts as of the end of August 2007). Harendal has help from Clea F. Rees, most notably on the TeX part and the extensive Venturis family.
The author of these free fonts, Gavin Graham, writes: Many people are still getting (by whatever means) the core MS fonts for their Linux Desktop. This project is meant to be as a replacement for some of these main fonts. They have been designed to match similarly with the fonts they replace. The fonts are derived from the Bitstream Vera fonts and are available under the same terms as Vera. With this set, you get Aerial instead of Arial, Tymes instead of Times New Roman and Veranda instead of Verdana. The actual list is: Aerial, AerialBd, AerialBdIt, AerialIt, AerialMono, AerialMonoBd, AerialMonoBdIt, AerialMonoIt, Tymes, TymesBd, Veranda, VerandaBd, VerandaBdIt, VerandaIt. [Google] [More] ⦿
Autotracing is the process of taking bitmap or pixel images and making smoooth, usually Bezier spline, outlines, as is required when taking a pixelized image of a glyph and making it into a possible opentype glyph. Tools in this genre include:
Help with the use of autotrace for making a font via Autotrace from an existing font is provided by this video made in 2021 by Piotr Grochowski (Poland). The (polite, but negative) reaction to this video by the typophiles was quite predictable---they do not like the promotion of piracy software. It is ironic that none of the people villifying Grochowski are criticizing Bitstream and Monotype for similar past sins (i.e., copying existing digital fonts). [Google] [More] ⦿
Canadian-Iranian software engineer and type expert. He worked at Google in Mountain View, CA, and at Facebook. At the time he quit Facebook, his annual salary, as reported by The New York Times, was 1.5 million dollars.
Behdad Esfahbod was born in 1982 in Sari, Iran. While at high school Esfahbod won a silver in the 1999 International Olympiad in Informatics and then gold in 2000. He studied computer engineering at Sharif University in Tehran while discovering the world of computer typography and open source.
In 2003 he moved to Canada, studied computer science at the University of Toronto (MSc, class of 2006), became a regular contributor to GNOME---he was a director at GNOME Foundation from 2007 to 2010, serving as the president from 2008 to 2009---and many other open source projects. Esfahbod was among the founders of Sharif FarsiWeb Inc. which carried out internationalization and standardization projects related to open source and Persian language. He worked at Red Hat, Google, and generally became the go-to person regarding everything font and text rendering in open source projects. Among the projects he has led are the cairo, fontconfig, HarfBuzz, and pango libraries, which are standard parts of the GNOME desktop environment, the Google Chrome web browser, and the LibreOffice suite of programs. He received an O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2013 for his work on HarfBuzz. In 2012, he obtained an MBA from the University of Toronto as well.
Speaker at ATypI 2014 in Barcelona. The abstract of his talk there explains the current status of the FontTools package: FontTools/TTX is a Python package for converting OpenType font fonts to / from XML. It was developed in early 2000s by Just van Rossum and has been in wide use by the type community since, mostly for testing and inspection, but its development has had stopped for the most part. In Summer 2013 I resurrected FontTools development by adding support for many tables that have not been supported before (EBDT/EBLC, CBDT/CBLC, sbix, COLR/CPAL, SVG, ...), as well as implementing new tools: a full font subsetting tool, font inspection tool, font merge tool. In this talk I will talk about the community gathered around the new FontTools development as well as my plans to expand FontTools into a full Open Source font production pipeline. Speaker at ATypI 2015 in Sao Paulo. Speaker at ATypI 2016 in Warsaw on The Open Source Python Font Production Pipeline.
Addendum: Read his personal story involving psychological torture by the Iranian government. New York Times article in August 2020 about his Iranian experience: Esfahbod was arrested by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' intelligence unit during a 2020 visit to Tehran. He was then moved to Evin prison, where he was psychologically pressured and interrogated in solitary confinement for seven days. They downloaded all his private data from his devices. Iranian security forces let him go based on his promise to spy on his friends once he was back in United States.
Programmer and font technologist in Hefei, China. He wrote a parametric program that can create fonts. His first adventure is the gorgeous (monoline monospaced) programming font Iosevka (2015), which is completely free: for the source code, see Github. It has 7 weights and 6 styles and is entirely programmed. Belleve says that he was inspired by Pragmata Pro, M+ and PF DIN Mono. Github link to the releases. The font covers Latin, Greek and Cyrillic, and is narrower than many fonts in order to be compatible with CJK characters. A tour de force that deserves an award. The 27-style Iosevka Extended was released in 2020. Jozsika (2015-2017) is a customized version of Iosevka Curly. Github link. Aardvark Sans (2020) by a mystery author is also based on Iosevka.
In 2019, he released the free semi-monospaced font Zapus Sans. It is based on his earlier typeface Iosevka Aile.
Sarasa Gothic (2020) is a CJK programming font based on Iosevka and Source Han Sans.
Danilo Segan added Cyrillic glyphs to Bitstream's Vera sans family, and created the Bepa family. Alternate URL. Apparently, they are now outdated, having been replaced by the DejaVu Sans and Serif families. He maintains the Cyrillic glyph set in DejaVu. The URW-CYR family contains cleaned-up and fixed Serbian glyphs---these are now outdated, since Valek Filipov has merged (and first improved) them back into upstream URW-CYR fonts available here. Danilo Segan also created Nova and Nova Light (2003-2004), an art deco Cyrillic unicase family. [Google] [More] ⦿
The Bera type 1 font pack comprises BeraSans-Bold, BeraSans-BoldOblique, BeraSans-Oblique, BeraSans-Roman, BeraSansMono-Bold, BeraSansMono-BoldOb, BeraSansMono-Oblique, BeraSansMono-Roman, BeraSerif-Bold, BeraSerif-Roman, all made in 2004. The developers, Malte Rosenau (University of Göttingen) and Walter Schmidt, write: The fonts were originally designed by Bitstream, Inc in TrueType format under the name "Bitstream Vera". These fonts are available from Gnome.org. Malte Rosenau converted them to the Postscript type1 format. The license required a different name ("Bera") to be assigned to the result. Ulrich Dirr (Art&Satz) reworked the kerning tables of the Bera Sans fonts. [Google] [More] ⦿
Berzulis is an ongoing experimental type foundry project created by Studio Cryo with a focus on Lithuanian mythology and alphabets. The project is funded by the Lithuanian Cultural Council. All typefaces are free to use and are licensed under the SIL Open Font License:
Besarion Paata Gugushvili
Birdfont is a free font editor by Uppsala, Sweden-based Johan Mattsson, launched in 2014. Supported by Mac, Windows, Linux and OpenBSD, it is based on the svg and ttf formats. It can generate fonts in TTF, EOT, SVG and BF format. Color fonts and OTF fonts are supported for a small fee. Github link. As of 2021, BirdFont had 90,000 lines of Vala code. Marko Jovanovac is listed as co-developer. [Google] [More] ⦿
Bitstream Vera Fonts
The Bitstream Gnome project has released a free no-strings-attached typeface family Vera (2003) for the Linux world. Developed by Bitstream's Jim Lyles, Vera comes in didone Serif, Sans and Sans Mono versions, with Bold, Oblique and Bold Oblique weights. The Sans Mono families have a characteristic dotted zero and an almost Z-shaped lower case l, and are in my view far from optimal. The serif fonts are a bit like Carter's Georgia.
Besarion Gugushvili (born 1945) is a Georgian politician and a former Prime Minister of the country. Gugushvili was appointed prime minister after Tengiz Sigua resigned in August 1991. The closest associate of Georgia's former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, he followed him into exile after the 1991-1992 coup and participated in the 1993 uprising. After the failure of the uprising and Gamsakhurdia's death, Gugushvili was granted political asylum in Finland.
Besarion Paata Gugushvili Gugushvili designed the Georgian glyphs for the DejaVu typeface. He was also involved in the design of the Georgian script for the Nokia Pure typeface. Finally, he made a series of Georgian fonts with the acronym BPG in the font names and ran BPG-InfoTech. These fonts include
They are now part of the Dejavu open source font distribution (see also here). Some downloads and discussions here. Google group presence. BPG Classic Medium. BPG Dede Ena Block. BPG Glaho (2005) is here. Other families less easy to locate include BPG Afxazeti (2005). BPG Dede Ena. Direct access to these BPG fonts: BPGAcademiuriUAm, BPGChveulebriviUm, BPGClassic99U, BPGDumbadzeU, BPGLortkipanidzeU, BPGMikheilStefaneUm, BPGNinoKhutsuriU, BPGPaataKhutsuriMtavruli, BPGPaataKhutsuriU, BPGParisianU, BPGSanSerDina, BPGSansSerifUE, BPGSanSerUE2, BPGSanSerUE!, BPGSanSerUEm, BPGSerifUE, BPGSysVarEU, BPGUcnobiU. Nice 19th century fonts, with characters in unicode positions. Alternate URL. Download link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Camille Bissuel, aka Nylnook, is a free spirit, an open source advocate, and French illustrator based in La Roche-des-Arnauds. He introduces himself in this manner: I'm Camille Bissuel and I'm creating free (as in freedom) graphic novels and illustrations about climate change. Sign-up to become one of my readers and receive a free (as in free beer) short comic! His comic strips are free, and even the font he uses, Comili Book (2016), designed by himself, is free. It is also refreshing to see his entire web site bathed in that wonderful nonchalant script.
He defines free software in this manner: You can use without restrictions. You can copy and distribute freely (as in freedom), and therefore often for free (gratis). You can study by reading its source code, its recipe. You can change to improve. In addition to the philosophical choice, there are three reasons behind my choice of free software, despite my initial training on the Adobe suite and 3ds Max. (1) Software and updates at no cost, even if I donate to projects. (2) Sustainability of my data, thanks to open formats. In 20 years, I will have access to my files, so my creations, without having to seek permission from Adobe! (3)Technical stability of Linux and theses softwares in general, which is a real working comfort.
Designer currently living in Los Angeles. She graduated from Otis College of Art and Design graphic design program, with a minor in illustration, and founded the open source type cooperative The League of Movable Type with Micah Rich in 2009. Designer, with Tyler Finck, of Junction (2009), about which she writes: Inspired by my favorite humanist sans serif typefaces, such as Meta, Myriad, and Scala, Junction is where the best qualities of serif and sans serif typefaces come together. It has the hand-drawn and human qualities of a serif, and still retains the clarity and efficiencies of a sans serif typeface. It combines the best of both worlds. Junction was updated in 2014.
Co-designer, with Micah Rich and Tyler Finck, of League Gothic (2009-2011), which is modeled after Morris Fuller Benton's Alternate Gothic No. 1 (1903), and League Spartan Bold (2014), which is a revival of ATF's Spartan.
Designer of the free (geometric, art deco) sans font family Metropolis (2015). According to Stephen Coles, it knocks off Gotham. That is of course not true, as Chris Simpson developed Metropolis from scratch using Glyphs. Fontsquirrel link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Christ Trek Fonts
Tim Larson (Christ Trek Fonts) is the Minnesota-based creator of the Open Font License fonts Marapfhont (2009, inspired by the logo font of the classic 1990s game Marathon) and Squarish Sans CT (2011, in Bank Gothic style). Both fonts are free and have tons of glyphs that cover many unicode pages, including mathematical symbols, Greek, Coptic and Hebrew. It is quite possible---but I am not sure of that--that this Bank Gothic family member is the only one that has such a coverage.
Tim is working on Brampton.
He writes about Squarish Sans: Squarish Sans is not a direct clone of any Bank Gothic. I have made conscious choices to deviate from existing designs. Yet it is strongly inspired by them, of course, particularly Michael Doret's DeLuxe Gothic, in that Squarish Sans has a true lower case as well as small caps. It should fit the bill should you have need of a Bank Gothic face.
Motivation for Marapfhont came from the Marathon Trilogy game: Remember the Marathon Trilogy by Bungie Games back in the mid-1990s? If you do, you remember it's iconic logo font, Modula Tall. There are no free alternatives to Modula Tall, and the few similar fonts miss important aspects of its character. I wanted to create a typeface inspired by the appearance of Modula Tall in Marathon. The lowercase of Modula Tall didn't fit the Marathon "feel" at all, for me, so I have redesigned the miniscules, to carry the signature look throughout. Thus, Marapfhont is not a clone of Modula Tall, but may nonetheless be used to generate the "MARATHON" title.
In 2013, he finished the pixelish typeface Looks Like Spht. In 2014, Tim Larson published the free Hebrew simulation font Hananiah (2014, OFL), which is based on Ezra SIL. It also includes regular Hebrew. In 2015, he published the German expressionist typeface Abibas [Abibas is a fork/extension of Gamaliel, a blackletter by Rafael Ferran i Peralta].
Programmer in Baltimore, MD, who designed the free (open source) monospaced typeface Hack (2015) specifically for writing source code.
Also known by insiders as El Pato Loco Atomico. Danish type designer (b. 1973, Kulby, Vestsjalland, Denmark) who obtained his BDes from The Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, and his MA in typeface design from The University of Reading (2009), based on his type family Markant, which was specifically designed for newspapers and cares about ink traps, wide open bowls, inflection points and other special features. It supports Greek and Cyrillic as well.
He says: I created a new design again taking inspiration from the early sketches of Dwiggins' Experimental No. 223. I was able to use the very open aperture design of the e in this experiment. The a again explored a inflexion points within the counters, and this was too integrated in the design. Finally lightly rounded wedge shaped base serifs were chosen.
In 2011, Claus placed Playfair Display with Google Web Fonts. He explains: Playfair Display is a transitional design. From the time of enlightenment in the late 18th century, the broad nib quills were replaced by pointed steel pens. This influenced typographical letterforms to become increasingly detached from the written ones. Developments in printing technology, ink and paper making, made it possible to print letterforms of high contrast and fine hairlines. This design lends itself to this period, and while it is not a revival of any particular design, it takes influence from the printer and typeface designer John Baskerville's designs, the punchcutter William Martin's typeface for the Boydell Shakespeare (sic) edition, and from the Scotch Roman designs that followed thereafter. As the name indicates, Playfair Display is well suited for titling and headlines. It was followed in 2012 by Playfair Display SC. Free download at CTAN and at Open Font Library. Free download of Playfair Display Italic.
In 2014, Claus designed Inknut Antiqua, a free angular text typeface family for low resolution screens, designed to evoke Venetian incunabula and humanist manuscripts, but with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the kinds of typefaces you find in this artisanal tradition. Google Fonts link for Inknut Antiqua. Open Font Library link. Inknut Antiqua covers Latin and Devanagari.
Type designer and type technician at Cardiff University (Wales), who has helped Hirwen Harendal at Arkandis Type Foundry, and who maintains several free font packages on the CTAN site. These include cfr-lm (2014). This package offers enhanced support for the Latin Modern fonts in TeX.
She also maintains EB Garamond Maths (a package for using the free EB Garamondc in a TeX environment), ADF Orn (TeX support package for Hirwen Harendel's Ornements ADF), and ADF Symbols (TeX support package for Hirwen Harendel's ArrowsADF and BulletsADF). [Google] [More] ⦿
Designer of the free Olwen family in 2003, about which he writes: Olwen is a family of free fonts based on the Bitstream Vera fonts. It aims to extend the coverage of the Vera fonts while remaining true to the original style. Olwen's additional glyphs have been merged into the DejaVu fonts, another extension of Vera. Olwen supports the Welsh language (accented w and y glyphs). [Google] [More] ⦿
Daniel Benjamin Miller (b. 2000, New York) is an undergraduate student in philosophy at McGill University. His type design work:
Miller is a supporter of free and open-source fonts, as well as free and open-source software. He uses FontForge for design, and releases all his work under free licenses: I really just want people to be able to use my designs, improve them and share them. First, on a pragmatic level, I know that my work will be imperfect, and I'd like others to be able to use their judgment to make adjustments (which I hope they'll also release under a free license). Second, I think that too much material (and not just fonts) is behind barriers of restricted access and artificial scarcity. This kind of thing---useful tools and information---wants to be free, so let it out for everybody to use.
David Crossland: The Free Font Movement
Masters Thesis written in 2008 at the University of Reading by David Crossland that explains the free font movement in detail. I reproduce its Abstract:
This dissertation examines the emerging free font movement, a small part of the larger free software and free culture movements.
Part A provides an overview of key concepts in the free software and culture movements. It starts by describing the hacker culture of the 1970s, the origins of Richard Stallman's GNU project, and his ethical basis for free software. Business and copyright practices are exam- ined, and the cultural values of projects are described.
This is followed by an account of Stallman's theory of culture, and the Wikipedia and Creative Commons projects that are associated with this theory. Debates within the movement are explored, such as how Wikipedia develops, the role of non-commercial licensings, and the definition of free culture.
Part B explores the implications of the principles of free culture for typeface design, attempting to answer whether typeface designs and fonts ought to be free. To do this it examines what typefaces are, who the users of typefaces are, and how type connects to Stallman's theory of culture.
It then discusses the relation of typefaces to font software, the different forms of digital type, and how font software connects to Stallman's theory. The legal status of typefaces and fonts is also considered.
Part C looks at what it means for fonts to be free, such as what font source code is. It examines how fonts are made free. The effects of various licensing practices and the ways font freedom is exercised are explored, such as collaborative community development processes.
A business model for sustainable commercial typeface design within the free culture movement is suggested, and a motivation for non-commercial typeface design activity is posed. Finally, areas for further research are suggested. [Google] [More] ⦿
The DejaVu fonts form an open source font family based on the Bitstream Vera Fonts. Free download. Its purpose is to provide a wider range of characters (see Current status page for more information) while maintaining the original look and feel through the process of collaborative development. Included are DejaVuSans-Bold, DejaVuSans-BoldOblique, DejaVuSans-Oblique, DejaVuSans, DejaVuSansCondensed-Bold, DejaVuSansCondensed-BoldOblique, DejaVuSansCondensed-Oblique, DejaVuSansCondensed, DejaVuSansMono-Bold, DejaVuSansMono-BoldOb, DejaVuSansMono-Oblique, DejaVuSansMono-Roman, DejaVuSerif-Bold, DejaVuSerif-BoldOblique, DejaVuSerif-Oblique, DejaVuSerif-Roman, DejaVuSerifCondensed-Bold, DejaVuSerifCondensed-BoldOblique, DejaVuSerifCondensed-Oblique, DejaVuSerifCondensed.
Authors and contributors comprise Adrian Schroeter, Ben Laenen, Dafydd Harries, Danilo Segan (Cyrillic), David Jez, David Lawrence Ramsey, Denis Jacquerye, Dwayne Bailey, James Cloos, James Crippen, Keenan Pepper, Mashrab Kuvatov, Misu Moldovan (Romanian), Ognyan Kulev, Ondrej Koala Vacha, Peter Cernák, Sander Vesik, Stepán Roh (project manager; Polish), Tavmjong Bah, Valentin Stoykov, and Vasek Stodulka. The idea is to eventually cover most of unicode. Currently, this is covered: Latin (+supplement, extended A and part of extended B), IPA, Greek, Coptic, Cyrillic, Georgian, Armenian, Hebrew, N'ko, Tifinagh, Lao, Canadian aboriginal syllabics, Ogham, Arabic, math symbols, arrows, Braille, chess, and many dingbats.
Denis Moyogo Jacquerye is the Belgian co-leader of the DejaVu font project (free fonts based on Bitstream Vera), the default GUI for fonts on several Linux OS distributions. He is working on extending various Open Source fonts to support African orthographies in Latin script. He is collaborating with a network of experts in African languages localization as part of the Pan Africa localization Network (ANLoc). Denis, with a Bs.C in Computer Science and a minor in Linguistics from McGill University, has experience in the Language Technology industry, Open Source software, Font Engineering and Unicode software support for African language. Denis currently lives in Brussels.
He designed the open license font family Molengo (2010, sans), which is part of the Google open font directory. He also participated in the GNU Freefont project, where he added new glyphs and corrected existing ones in the Latin Extended-B (U+0180-U+024F) and IPA Extensions (U+0250-U+02AF) ranges.
Speaker at ATypI 2008 in St. Petersburg on African fonts.
Dieter Steffmann, who started out as a typesetter before the digital age, has made about 400 fonts in his career. Initially, he corrected or extended public domain fonts, but later on he created several original typefaces. He explains why he offers them for free: Since I consider fonts to be cultural heritage, I do not agree with their commercialization. Fonts once made out of metal type obviously had a price along with their metal value, and the cost of designing, cutting and casting is convincing, particularly since the buyer also acquired ownership of the purchased fonts! Anyone who believes that they can buy a magazine nowadays and then have the property acquired as in the times of metal setting, is wrong: The font foundries only sell "licenses" for a file of nothing but "zeros and ones" with no real material value, and the buyer usually does not become the owner, but only a licensee! For all these reasons I am giving out my fonts to everyone for free for commercial purposes without any restrictions and I hope you enjoy in these fonts as much as I and many other font-friends around the world do! [Google] [More] ⦿
Font engineer and open source software advocate located in Seattle, WA. Before that, he studied mathematics at CUNY in New York. Github link. His typefaces:
Sheffield, UK-based electronics engineer who works on CAD systems both mechanical and electrobic. An ardent supporter of the open source paradigm, he works for the NHS. Designer of these free fonts:
Emmi Laakso (Chicago, IL) designed Manifesto, which is a friendly, but authoritative open-source stencil typeface intended to be used by non-profit organizations and individuals to propagate sociopolitical messages in public environments. There are Manifesto Rounded and Manifesto Geometric.
FiraGO (2012-2018) is an outgrowth of the open source Fira Sans typeface family by Carrois and Spiekermann. Script support has been considerably extended from Latin Extended, IPA, Pan African, Cyrillic Extended (+ locl BGR and SRB), and Polytonic Greek, already present in Firs Sans, to Arabic, Devanagari, Georgian, Hebrew, and Thai. Manual basic truetype hinting was done with Glyphs. Copyright of various parts of Firago: Carrois Corporate GbR, HERE Europe B.V., The Mozilla Foundation, Telefonica S.A., and bBox Type GmbH. Credits for the various additons and modifications:
George Williams' free Open Source UNIX-based font editor for type 1 and truetype fonts, previously called Pfaedit. Also does truetype collections (TTC) and opentype fonts. Note that FontForge can be used to do all conversions between all formats (type 1, truetype, OpenType; PC, UNIX and Mac): it's a formidable tool. The internal text format for fonts is called SFD. It is a format that is acceptable for communicating and storing fonts. Note also that there is a powerful scripting language that can automate conversions and various tedious tasks.
Footnote: the headline of this page is set in New G8 by Artifex and Michael Sharpe based on URW Garamond No.8, a project developed, like hundreds of others in the open source community, by FontForge.
Carefully crafted page by Stefan Unterstein who lists and discusses high quality free fonts. His list:
Fredrick R. Brennan
George Williams's site (now defunct) site was a discovery! George Williams (b. 1959) wrote spline-generating code and then went on to produce several fonts with his software between 1987 and 1998:
George Williams writes: I have been slowly working to provide free unicode postscript fonts for the three major groupings of styles used by European (Latin, Greek and Cyrillic anyway) type designs: serif, sans-serif and typewriter (or Times, Helvetica and Courier). Monospace is my approximation to Courier. Close examination will reveal that it is a bad copy of courier. Caslon Roman (1992-2001) is a serif font (designed by William Caslon in 1734), it's not a bad copy of Times, it's a bad copy of something else. Caliban is a bad copy of Helvetica. If Microsoft can call their version of Helvetica Arial, then Caliban seems appropriate for mine. Yet another URL.
George Williams is best known as the inventor and creator of FontForge, the biggest and best free font editor today. It made him the darling of the Open Software community. Interview with OSP.
GNU Freefont (or: Free UCS Outline Fonts)
The GNU Freefont is continuously being updated to become a large useful Unicode monster. GNU FreeFont is a free family of scalable outline fonts, suitable for general use on computers and for desktop publishing. It is Unicode-encoded for compatability with all modern operating systems. There are serif, Sans and Mono subfamilies. Also called the "Free UCS Outline Fonts", this project is part of the larger Free Software Foundation. The original head honcho was Primoz Peterlin, the coordinator at the Institute of Biophysics of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 2008, Steve White (aka Stevan White) took over.
British creator of the Open Font Library typeface family Railway Sans (2012), an open source version of Edward Johnston's typeface for the London Underground of 1916.
Greg explains: Railway Sans is a previously unpublished work, originally digitised by my late friend and partner, the typographer Justin Howes, in 1994, some seventy-eight years after the first appearance of Johnston's Railway type in 1916. Using an old SPARC station, some bitmap-to-vector software which I'd written which output in ASCII Type 3 font format and a Crosfield drum scanner to initially capture the outlines, these were then converted from bitmaps into vector font data. Justin had wanted to capture and make an experimental font of this version, drawn directly from Johnston's original artwork of 1913-1915 as part of the book he was writing on Edward Johnston and other Johnston-related research, and later revisions and variations which were originally the only characters in the typeface in various samples and working proofs kindly lent by Andrew Johnston.
He goes on: This version of the original Johnston typeface of 1916, in both TrueType and OpenType format, will work with Macs, Linux and Windows computers and will provide authenticity when recreating Underground signage. This is why I am making this version available for enthusiasts who seek an authentic-looking digital version of the original Underground type. It is not derived from the Banks's and Miles New Johnston Sans (so brilliantly realised by Eiichi Kono, 1979). Nor is it a copy or in any way a facsimile of any existing commercial typeface, such as P22's excellent version, Underground. It is rendered entirely from proofs done by Edward Johnston himself at the time the typeface was commissioned. Fontspace link. [Google] [More] ⦿
An open source font archive. Located in Genève and Neuchâtel, Switzerland, this project is led by Manuel Schmalstieg and groups mostly students of the Haute École d'art et de design in Genève. It intends to show specimens of most open source fonts. In 2012, they published the free font Karmilla (by Manuel Schmalstieg and Raphael Bastide), which is based on Jonathan Pinhorn's Karla from 2011. Fontsquirrel link. [Google] [More] ⦿
How to create a variable OpenType font using only open-source tools
Jeff Mcneill is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. His Github page features the open source geometrical and humanist sans serif typeface family Beteckna (2007-2021), which is co-designed by Johan Mattsson (Sweden), Gurkan Sengun (Switzerland), Alexander Fell (Germany) and Jeff Mcneill. [Google] [More] ⦿
Type designer (b. 1955, Indiana) who lives in Michigan City, IN. While living in NYC, he began working for Mergenthaler Linotype, learning the craft of letter drawing and typeface design. For the next 32 years, Jim worked in the Type group at both Linotype and Bitstream. When Monotype acquired Bitstream early 2011, Jim chose to go solo by founding Stiggy & Sands together with Brian Bonislawsky. He is also a partner at BluHead Studio, where he digitizes old photo fonts by Joseph Churchward. Jim is also active in Stuart Sandler's Filmotype project, where he has resurrected several typefaces, including Filmotype Reef and Filmotype Jade.
At Bitstream, he did in-house work, and had his signature on Candy Bits (1996, an M&M simulation font), Prima Sans (1998), Prima Serif (1998), Prima Sans Monospace (Bitstream, with Sue Zafarana, 1998) and Bitstream Vera (2003).
According to Lyles, Bitstream Vera is actually a detuned Bitstream Prima. Gnome asked that we modify some of the characters in the monospace, particularly for coding legibility. We added a center dot to the zero and modified the lcase l to distinquish it from the figure one. Although I designed Vera (Prima), it was actually Sue Zafarana who adapted it to a mono version, at times a very challenging task. The Vera fonts are also here.
Vera Sans is at the basis of Menlo (2009), a Snow Leopard system font, about which Apple writes: Apple's Menlo is based upon the Open Source font Bitstream Vera and the public domain font Deja Vu.
He revived some Filmotype fonts from the 1950s: Filmotype Jade (2012, based on an original connected script typeface from 1955), Filmotype Reef (2011), Filmotype MacBeth (2007), and Filmotype Austin (2009, brush face).
The upright connected script Grand Hotel (2012, Google Web Fonts, with Brian Bonislawsky for Astigmatic) finds its inspiration from the title screen of the 1937 film "Cafe Metropole" starring Tyrone Power. The free Rum Raisin was published at Astigmatic One Eye.
Stiggy & Sands is the American type foundry of Brian Bonislawsky and Jim Lyles, est. 2013. Their first commercial typefaces, all jointly designed, are Luckiest Guy Pro (a fat comic book font based on vintage 1950s ads) and Marcellus Pro (a flared roman inscriptional typeface with both upper and lower case, originally published in 2012 by Astigmatic; CTAN link).
At Hamilton Wood Type, he designed HWT Roman Extended Fatface (2014), which is based on 19th century didone wood styles.
In 2018, he published the connected script typeface Michiana Pro at BluHead Studio.
Khaled Hosny is a physician in Egypt. He loves Arabic and its type, and is interested in every aspect of letter forms and typography. A hobbyist translator, programmer and font developer, he supports software freedom and is actively participating in the free software community. Sourceforge link.
Designer of Punk Nova (2010), a free OpenType implementation of Don Knuth's Punk font, based on modified Metapost sources by Taco Hoekwater and Hans Hagan, dating from 2008. Hosny writes: Punk is a dynamic font, every time a glyph is requested Matafont draws a unique instance of it. On the other hand, OpenType is static, glyph outlines are drawn once and stored in the font and the renderer can not alter those outlines. To emulate the dynamic nature of Punk, we generate several alternate shapes of each glyph and store them in the font. Alternate shapes are mapped to the base character using OpenType [Randomize] feature (rand), which tells the renderer to select glyphs randomly from the list of alternate shapes. Pick up the free Punk Nova from CTAN or Open Font Library.
XITS (2011) is a Times-like typeface for mathematical and scientific publishing, based on STIX fonts. The main mission of XITS is to provide a version of STIX fonts enriched with the OpenType MATH extension, making it suitable for high quality mathematic typesetting with OpenType MATH capable layout systems, like MS Office 2007 and the new TeX engines XeTeX and LuaTeX. This free OFL package was developed by Khaled Hosny. Inside the fonts, we read Copyright (c) 2001-2010 by the STI Pub Companies, consisting of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Physics, the American Mathematical Society, the American Physical Society, Elsevier, Inc., and The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc. Portions copyright (c) 1998-2003 by MicroPress, Inc. Portions copyright (c) 1990 by Elsevier, Inc.
Euler OTF (2010) are OpenType Math fonts based on Hermann Zapf's Euler and implemented by Taco Hoekwater, Hans Hagen, and Khaled Hosny. Named Neo-Euler (2009-2010), it covers Latin, Greek and has a full blackletter set of glyphs. Copyright Hosny and the American Mathematical Society. Open Font Library link.
In 2010-2011, Hosny developed the free Amiri font (OFL; dedicated web page): Amiri font is an open font revival of the Arabic Naskh typeface designed and first used by Bulaq Press in Cairo (also known as Amiria Press) in the early part of the twentieth century. Amiri's uniqueness comes from its superb balance between the beauty of Naskh calligraphy and the requirements of elegant typography. Amiri is most suitable for running text and book printing. See also CTAN, Google Web Fonts, and at OFL. Dedicated web page.
In 2015, Khaled Hosny and Santiago Orozco cooperated on the Latin / Arabic typeface Reem Kufi. Github link. Khaled, who designed the Arabic part, explains: Reem Kufi is a Fatimid-style decorative Kufic typeface, as seen in the historical mosques of Cairo. It is largely based on the Kufic designs of the late master of Arabic calligraphy, Mohammed Abdul Qadir, who revived this art in the 20th century and formalized its rules.
In 2016, Khaled Hosny designed Mada (Google Fonts), a modernist, unmodulated Arabic typeface inspired by road signage seen around Cairo, Egypt. The Latin component is a slightly modified version of Source Sans Pro, led by Paul Hunt at Adobe Type.
Khaled Hosny contributed to and maintained the free Libertinus font package between 2012 and 2020.
In 2021, Hosny released Qahiri at Google Fonts and Github. Qahiri is a Kufic ypeface based on the modernized and regularized old manuscript Kufic calligraphy style of the late master of Arabic calligraphy, Mohammad Abdul Qadir.
Kickstand Apps (Travis Zehren, Stillwater, MN) is an upstart software development company currently focusing on iOS apps. Designer of the free font Weather Icons (2013), which was originally created for their own NOW Weather app. The typeface was modeled after but is quite different from the very popular Climacons by Adam Whitcroft. It was created by FontForge and its source files are free.
American designer of the free typeface family Adumu (2017), a display typeface inspired by the wildness of Africa. He also designed Bracheos (2017), an all-caps display typeface inspired by prehistoric times.
In 2019, he released the polygonal stone cut font Marinui (writing that Marinui is a tropical display typeface inspired by the islands of Polynesia) and Hypoxia (a grungy display typeface inspired by the rock music of the 1990s and bandaids). [Google] [More] ⦿
Large Unicode fonts
Alan Wood lists and discusses the main free Unicode fonts. As of 2010, these include:
Lasse Fister (Nuremberg and before that, Berlin) is a graphic designer. He embarked on a great project in 2010 called Graphicore Font Building. Starting from a bitmap (BMF format) font, via a free Python program written by him, one can generate OpenType fonts. The free program, graphicoreBMFB has many parameters/options/settings, that allow one to generate very many children of the BMF font. He showcases this by making his free superfamily GraphicoreBitmapFont. All is free and open source.
Lasse Fister also developed the Libre Barcode collection of fonts that includes, at Google Fonts, Libre barcode EAN 13 Text, Libre Barcode 39, Libre Barcode 39 Text, Libre Barcode 39 Extended, Libre Barcode 39 Extended Text, Libre Barcode 128, and Libre Barcode 128 Text.
Lasse is the lead developer of Metapolator, ufoJS and Atem. At the moment (2018) he is freelancing as a font-engineer on Arabic libre font projects for Google-Fonts.
Letterpunch, Kelvin Ma's web site, makes a strong and convincing case for font freedom and open source fonts. At Behance, Kelvin Ma is Kelvin Song from Riverhead, NY. American creator in Long Island of Wumbology (2012, sans family), Compass (2012, sans), Maritime Sans (2012), Bam It's Andrea (2012, hand-printed), The Blurry Effect (2012, hand-printed), Maritime Tropical (2012, clean hand-printing), AFE Jen's Handwriting (2012), Pineapples don't have sleeves (2012), Schmitacular (2012, hand-printed), Cassini (2012, a fat finger font) and Cassini Marker (2012).
Typefaces from 2014: Free Monogram, Rainbow Mansion, Sugarcubes.
Typefaces from 2015: In Screaming Color (script face).
A set of free fonts developed by Ascender Corp for Red Hat Linux. They state: On May 9, 2007, Red Hat announced the public release of these fonts under the trademark LIBERATION at the Red Hat Summit. There are three sets: Sans (a substitute for Arial, Albany, Helvetica, Nimbus Sans L, and Bitstream Vera Sans), Serif (a substitute for Times New Roman, Thorndale, Nimbus Roman, and Bitstream Vera Serif) and Mono (a substitute for Courier New, Cumberland, Courier, Nimbus Mono L, and Bitstream Vera Sans Mono). The list: Liberation-Mono-Bold, Liberation-Mono-Bold-Italic, Liberation-Mono-Italic, Liberation-Mono, Liberation-Sans-Bold, Liberation-Sans-Bold-Italic, Liberation-Sans-Italic, Liberation-Sans, Liberation-Serif-Bold, Liberation-Serif-Bold-Italic, Liberation-Serif-Italic, Liberation-Serif.
Kernest states that these fonts were designed by Steve Matteson and Caius Chance. But I believe that they were all derived from public fonts like the Bitstream Vera series and some public URW fonts. Contributors include Herbert Duerr (who added Sans Narrow) and Pravin Satpute, who is now the main maintainer, after Caius Chance quit the project.
Libertine Open Fonts Project
Now, here is a project with a name I like! This project by Philipp H. Poll has been started in order to create fonts that can be released under the GNU Public License. As of early 2005, we have the following Times New Roman lookalikes: LLibertineCaps, LinLibertine, LinLibertine-Italic, LinLibertineBd. Libertine Grotesque is next on the list of things to do. The fonts came in truetype and fontforge (SFD) text formats, but have now been extended to include opentype and type 1 as well. Linux Libertine covers a big range of Unicode, including all characters in MES-1 (Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, Frensh, Frisian, Galician, German, Greenlandic, Hungarian, Icelandic, Irish Gaelic (new orthography), Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxemburgish, Maltese, Manx Gaelic, Moldavian (with restrictions), Northern Sámi, Norwegian, Occitan, Polish, Portuguese, Rhaeto-Romanic, Romanian (with restrictions), Scottish Gaelic, Slovak, Slovenian, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Welsh (with restrictions)), IPA, Greek, Cyrillic, math symbols, and a host of other symbol and language sets. TeX archive. The typophiles are not impressed. Charles Ellertson writes: The bowl of the "a" doesn't fit other letters, the top and terminal of the "f" doesn't know where it is going, the descender of the "y" doesn't balance quite right, and the serif on the upper arm of the "z" (which probably reminded the original poster of Caslon) seems out of place. I get the impression, again from the small sample, that the font doesn't quite know whether it is supposed to be slightly condensed or slightly expanded.
In 2007, the following weights are available: Normal, Kursiv, Fett, Fett Kursiv, Kapitaelchen, Unterstrichen, Grotesk. As a measure of the success of the font, we find that is now used on the logo of Wikipedia.
As a companion font, they offer Linux Biolinum (2010): The Biolinum is an organic sans-serif and could be also described as organogrotesque (non-linear sans serif). It is still in a beta stage. Biolinum is meant for emphasizing titles but could be used also for short passages of text. For longer texts a serif font such as the Libertine should be used in favour of readability The Biolinum has the same vertical metrics and visual weight as the Libertine, so that it fits perfectly to the Libertine and can be also used for emphasizing within the body text. In 2017, Biolilbert was born out of Biolinum. Biolilbert's name is a portmanteau from Biolinum and Hilbert.
In 2016, LibertineGC was published by Michael Sharpe at CTAN, adding LaTeX support files for Greek (essentially complete LGR, supporting monotonic, polytonic and ancient features) and Cyrillic.
Another effort at corrections was undertaken by Khaled Hosny in 2016 in his Libertinus family. The Libertinus font family is a fork of Linux Libertine and Linux Biolinum with many bug fixes and improvements. Also included are Libertinus Math, Libertinus Serif (from Lunux Libertine), Libertinus Sans (forked from Linux Biolinum) and Libertinus Mono (from Linux Libertine Mono). Github link. CTAN link for Libertinus, maintained by Herbert Voss.
Sebastien Sanfilippo founded Love Letters in Brussels, Belgium, under the motto Single-handedly drawing letters for world peace. He designed these open source typefaces:
Born in Besançon, France, in 1983, Ludivine graduated from Ecole Estienne in Paris in 2006 and now lives and works in Brussels as a freelance graphic artist and illustrator for the Speculoos agency. Font creations include the handwritten Alphajet (2005) and the Ethiopian/Latin/Turkish/Hebrew mixed experimental font Kassidy. In 2008, she made NotCourier Sans (Open Font Library, a free typewriter family based on Nimbus Mono; Cyrillic glyphs added by Valek Filippov).
Alexis Reigel (b. 1980) is a co-founder and developer of Metaflop. He is a software developer and has his main focus on web applications, and contributes in his spare time to several free and open source projects and organizes the Pantalks at Colab Zurich.A the other cofounder is graphic designer and Metafont specialist Marco Müller (b. 1979). Simon Egli and Linus Romer are participants in the free software project.
The Metaflop site offers the source code of Metaflop (2012-2016) and several of their Metafonts. They created three metafonts, Fetamont (MF Fetamont (2014) by Linus Romer is an extended version of Knuth's rounded elliptical logo font), Bespoke (sans) and Adjuster (octagonal, techno), both with about fifteen parameters. Visitors can adjust the parameters to generate Opentype fonts that can be downloaded. [Google] [More] ⦿
Melbourne, Australia-based designer (b. 1989) of the free font Select Mono Italic (2021), which emulates the IBM Selectric typewriter's Light Italic font.
Minsk, Belarus-based designer in 2005 of the Hindi fonts Chandas and Uttara. Latin and Cyrillic glyphs were added from DejaVu font and modified according to GPL by Dharmo Raksati Raksitah. I quote: The font contains 4347 glyphs: 325 half-forms, 960 half-forms context-variations, 2743 ligature-signs. It is designed especially for Vedic and Classical Sanskrit but can also be used for Hindi, Nepali and other modern Indian languages. The font includes Vedic accents and many additional signs and provides maximal support for Devanagari script. In version 1.1 were added Latin and Cyrillic characters and corresponding Open Type tables for Sanskrit transliteration. Chandas font represents Southern (most commonly used today) style of Devanagari script. And Uttara font represents Northern style of Devanagari Script. These styles are sometimes also called Bombay (Southern, contemporary) and Calcutta (Northern, old) pen families accordingly. Uttara is today the only Devanagari OTF font which supports Northern variations in simple glyphs and in ligatures.
He also created the free Devanagari Unicode opentype font Siddhanta. Siddhanta font home page. The font can be used for Sanskrit, Vedic, Hindi, Nepali and other languages which use the Devanagari script. Siddhanta supports many ligature variations and script variations---Calcutta, Bombay and Nepali styles.
Mooniak is a collective of designers and creatives based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Mooniak type studio works with designers to produce quality fonts for South Asian scripts, and supports free culture by releasing almost all of their work under libre licenses. In 2016, they published Abhaya Libre via Google Fonts: Abhaya Libre is the Unicode compliant and complete libre version of Pushpananda Ekanayakes's FM Abhaya font, the most popular Sinhala typeface on Earth, with a new and original Latin [didone style] designed by Sol Matas. They were helped by Pathum Egodawatta, Ayantha Randika, Sumantri Samarawickrama and Liang Hai.
In 2011-2013, Kosala Senevirathne, Siva Puranthara, Lasantha Premarathna and Tharique Azeez co-designed the free stencil typeface family Post No Bills.
In 2021, Mooniak published Yaldevi at Google Fonts. Yaldevi is a narrow font intended for titles and short texts in the web supporing Latin and Sinhala scripts, designed by Sol Matas, Rajitha Manaperi and Kosala Senevirathne. Github link for Yaldevi. Fontsquirrel link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Type consultant and researcher based in West Texas. Graduate of the type design program at the University of Reading, class of 2017. His graduation typeface there, Sark, covers Bengali, Cyrillic, Latin and Greek: Sark's serif styles are arrayed for constructing multi-script text documents, while its sans-serif styles are attuned to the needs of contemporary display technologies. [...] Sark Bengali offers two styles: an upright style designed for setting body text and an auxiliary style with a calligraphic feel that can employed for emphasis. It supports contextually sensitive matras and kars, initial and final forms. Currently, he lives in London and is a PhD student at the University of Reading under Fiona Ross and Matthew Lickiss. At Reading, he explores algorithms for spacing, kerning, and letter fitting across typographic styles and writing systems.
Designer of the free font News Cycle (2011, OFL), a sans typeface that can be downloaded at Google Font Directory. News Cycle is a realist sans-serif font family based on specimens of the 1908 News Gothic typeface from ATF. It covers Latin, Greek and Cyrillic, but, incredibly, the fonts have no number 6.
Vernon Adams (born England, 1967) was a furniture restorer, woodcarver and typeface designer. On August 24, 2016 Vernon Adams passed away from injuries sustained in a scooter accident in May of 2014. New Typography was his type design site. Vernon graduated in 2007 with an MA in type design from the University of Reading and lived in San Clemente, California. His wife Allison now holds the trademark and/or copyright to most of his fonts.
He developed Mako (2007), a type family for text and image in magazines. Earlier, he created AutoPacHousehold. Nobile (2010) is part of the Google font directory. Through the Open Font Library, one can get the source Fontforge code for this open source sans family. About Mako, he writes that he submitted the font to Fontsmith, which sat on it for a while and rejected it, only to publish a few weeks later Lurpak, which according to Vernon is too similar to his rejected design. Free fonts at Google Code by Vernon, as of the end of 2010 include Coda (a heavy elliptical face), Nobile (mentioned above), Corben (a curvy bold typeface in the style of Cooper Black), and Gruppo (a thin sans).
In 2011, he added Coustard (a slab serif family), Damion (connected signage script), Smythe (Victorian), Radley (display face), Oswald (a reworking of the Alternate Gothic style: see this dedicated page; Oswald was updated continually by Vernon Adams until 2014. Vernon added Light and Bold weights, support for more Latin languages, tightened the spacing and kerning and made many glyph refinements throughout the family based on hundreds of users' feedback. In 2016 the family was updated by Kalapi Gajjar and Alexei Vanyashin to complete the work started by Vernon, and support languages that use the Cyrillic script), Candal (sans), Pacifico (connected signage face), Bangers (comic book face), Anton (heavy sans), Bevan (a reworking of Beton, a traditional slab serif display typeface created by Heinrich Jost in the 1930s), Six Caps (a condensed headline face), Meddon (a display font created from the handwritten script of an Eighteenth century legal document), Rokkitt (an Egyptian), Paytone One (headline face), Holtwood One SC (wood block simulation face), Monofett (white on black), Carter One (casual face), Francois One (gothic sans), Sigmar One (think mid twentieth century pulp magazine advertising), Bigshot One, Metrophobic, Mako, Francois One, Nunito (rounded; CTAN link), Shanti, Sigmar, Muli (minimalist sans), Kameron (an Egyptian), Stardos Stencil, Bowlby One, Bowlby One SC (fat poster face), Tienne (serif), Monoton (a multiline face in the style of Koch's Prisma, 1931), Sancreek (emulating an ornamental wood font), Amatic SC (hand-printed poster family), Sancreek (a Tuscan face), Oswald (in the old Alternate Gothic tradition of sans typefaces---a free Google font; CTAN link), Rammetto (based on the Stephenson Blake uppercase display font Basuto, released in 1926), and Michroma (modeled after Microgramma).
Typefaces made in 2012 include Bench Nine (Google Web Fonts: based on old Stephenson Blake typefaces), Oxygen (a sans typeface available from Google Web Fonts; forked in 2016 at Open Font Library as Comme and in 2017 as Oxygen Sans, with two new oblique styles), Oxygen Mono (Google Web Fonts), Norican (free script font at Google Web Fonts based in part on Stephenson Blake's Glenmoy from the 1920s), Cutive (free at Google Web Fonts, based on the IBM typewriter typefaces Executive and Smith-Premier), Pontano Sans (Google Web Fonts: a light basic sans), Trocchi (Google Web Fonts: derived from Nebiolo's Egiziano, and Caslon & Co's Antique No.4 and Ionic No.2), Seymour One (Google Web Fonts: derived from Sigma One), Anaheim (sans, Google Web Fonts), Cutive and Cutive Mono (Google Web Fonts: based on the typewriter typefaces of IBM's Executive and the older Smith-Premier).
In 2016, Jacques Le Bailly extended Nunito to a full set of weights, and an accompanying regular non-rounded terminal version, Nunito Sans. Another extension of Nunito is Iunito (2019, unknown designer).
In 2020, Jacques Le Bailly, Cereal and Vernon Adams (posthumously) released the sans typeface family Mulish at Google Fonts. Mulish is a minimalist sans, designed for both display and text typography. It was initially drawn in 2011 by Vernon Adams under the name Muli and then refined until 2014. In 2017 the family was updated by Jacques Le Bailly to complete the work started by Vernon after he passed away, in collaboration with his wife Allison, an artist who holds the trademark on the typeface family name. In August 2019, it was updated with a variable font weight axis.
An open source icon set with 223 marks in SVG, webfont and raster formats. The OpenIcoic font was first created in 2014 by P.J. Onori using Fontforge. It evolved from his 2011 font that was simply called Iconic. Github link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Open Source Fonts
A discusion of and links to open source fonts, organized by Abhijit Nadgouda. It recommends these free font families for web use: Gentium, Bitstream Vera, Deja Vu, Charis SIL, Andika, Inconsolata, Utopia, MgOpen. [Google] [More] ⦿
Open Source Publishing (or: OSP)
Free software project based in Belgium and run by four people (and I quote from their web page):
On April 9, 2011, the people at OSP, an open source foundry in Brussels, sent an open letter to Monotype in which they ask for permission to use the digital data of Gill Sans to make a reiniterpretation called Sans Guilt. See also here. It is unclear how Monotype replied. Whatever happened, we find the result for free download at Open Font Library in 2015: Versions of Gill Sans based on three different sources. Sans Guilt MB: Based on a rasterized pdf made with the Monotype Gill Sans delivered with Mac OSX. Sans Guilt DB: Based on early sketches by Eric Gill. Sans Guilt LB: Based on lead type from Royal College of Arts letterpress workshop. [Google] [More] ⦿
Belgian type foundry established in 2006 that tries to promote libre fonts. They explain and motivate their approach nicely:
Here you find all fonts produced by OSP. Some of them are complete typefaces, others works in progress. They are all Libre Fonts, meaning they are released under libre software licenses that allow modification, re-distribution and use.
For us, typography is more than the work of solitary masters passing on their secret trade to devoted pupils, committed as they are to a specialist work overlooked by most common people. This image that is carefully preserved in the closed world of type design, obscures the fact that typography today is lightweight and widespread. It certainly contrasts with the invitation of Free Software to anyone to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve.
Could the production and distribution of Libre Fonts turn this patriarchal system inside out? What if expert and amateur users work together and make improvements to the typefaces they use, what if they share these fixes with others? What if the design of a typeface would benefit from the many eyes of designers working around the world? What if a typeface was not a fixed entity, but a networked set of elements, responding to context and types of use?
At OSP we feel typography is inherently generative, especially since digital files have everything to gain from being copied and re-mixed. We would rather work with their constraints and affordances, than rely on a contradictory business model that invests more in copyright enforcement than in creative development itself. Typographers forge by nature and (sadly often without credit) appropriate the ideas and designs of their colleagues. We prefer to be explicit about the provenance of our glyphs and curves and hope you enjoy the result as much as we do.
The OSP members, also called the caravan include Colm O'Neill, Sarah Magnan, Gijs De Heij, Eric Schrijver, John Haltiwanger, Seb Sanfilipo, Stephanie Vilaphiou, Alexandre Leray, Pierre Marchand, Ludivine Loiseau, Ivan Monroy Lopez, Yi Jiang, Pierre Huyghebaert, Nicolas Maleve, Harrison, and Femke Snelting. [Google] [More] ⦿
Very prolific Argentinian type designer (b. 1976) located in Rosario. His extensive repertoire:
Dafont link. Fontspace link. Google font directory link. Klingspor link. Abstract Fonts link. Fontsquirrel link. Google Plus link. On Snot and Fonts link. Another Google Plus link. Creative Market link Behance link. Blog. Home page. [Google] [More] ⦿
Paul James Miller
Portuguese type designer in Porto, b. 1972, who created NewBodonesque (2004-2005) as part of Pedro Amado's Typeforge open source font project. Creator of Gentesque (2009), an Open Font Library family based on a scan of the Gentium family. Aka Nitrofurano.
In 2009, he and others started work on OpenDinSchriftenEngshrift, an open source typeface that is as close as possible to the original DIN font done for the Prussian Railways. It was made with open source tools such as Inkscape and FontForge.
In 2014, he published Cyrillic versions of Not Courier Sans (2008, Ludivine Loiseau).
Philipp H. Poll
Belgian type designer, font software expert, and defender of the principle of Open Source publishing. He had a hand in many typefaces at OSP Foundry. His work includes
Letterer, open source supporter, and visual designer from Russia (b. 1988) who is based in San Francisco. Graduate of BHSAD (the British Higher School of Art and Design) in Moscow, class of 2013. She founded Popkern. Her typefaces:
Ralf S. Engelschall
Raphaël Bastide, graphic designer, hacker, open source evangelist, was born in 1985 in Montpellier, France. He currently lives in Paris and works as a freelance graphic designer and artist. FontStructor who made the pixelized typeface Terminal Grotesque (2011, OFL) for which he was inspired by Radim Pesko and Paul Renner. He also made the pixel typeface LYPC (2009).
He proposes Unified Typeface Design for the standardization of typeface design in an open source context. It also aims for the promotion of open source typography by introducing a transversal and flexible classification. Technically, UTD is a folder architecture to organize font sources, inspirations and references. It is also a JSON file containing useful meta informations about the typeface and its repository. Further font software by him includes Ofont, a tool to list and organize fonts online.
At Velvetyne, he published the free pixelish typeface Terminal Grotesque (2014). Avara (2013) is a free polygonal typeface. Avara Two (2013) is a derived typeface by Raphaël Bastide, Wei Huang and Lucas Le Bihan.
Swedish software expert who lives in San Francisco and who has worked for Dropbox, Facebook, Spotify, Lear Corporation and Spray. His own company is called Notion. His typefaces:
Richard Stallman (b. 1953) is an American software freedom activist and programmer who studied at Harvard and MIT. He campaigns for software to be distributed in a manner such that its users receive the freedoms to use, study, distribute and modify that software. Software that ensures these freedoms is termed free software. Stallman launched the GNU Project in 1983, founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and wrote the GNU General Public License. In 1989 he co-founded the League for Programming Freedom. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against software patents, digital rights management, and other legal and technical systems which he sees as taking away users' freedoms, including software license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, activation keys, dongles, copy restriction, proprietary formats and binary executables without source code. As of 2016, he has received fifteen honorary doctorates and professorships and is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1990.
Stallman professes admiration for whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden; he advocates for Snowden in his email signature, which can be found in several mailing lists, after Snowden leaked the PRISM scandal in 2013: To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example.
Stallman's campaign against software patents, digital rights management, software license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, activation keys, dongles, copy restriction, proprietary formats and binary executables without source code apllies in a general way to fonts if fonts are indeed software (they are not, in my opinion). But they do come with software-style licenses and they are binary executables. Stallman argues in some of his work for reduced copyright---about ten years. I especially applaud his stance on binary formats (like truetype or opentype). Fonts should be available in source code format, readable by ordinary people, and that format should not be proprietary---in other words, neither truetype, nor type 1 nor opentype.
Palakkad, Kerala-based computer scientist. He is responsible for Autonym Font (2013). He explains: A font that can render all language autonyms. If we want to show a large number of languages written in their own scripts (autonyms), we cannot apply the usual webfonts to it. This is because when each script requires a webfont, we will end up using a large number of webfonts. This can cause large bandwidth usage. An example of this use case is a language selector on a website. Autonym font tries to solve this. The font contains glyphs and opentype rules for rendering the language autonyms. And it contains only those glyphs for a language. The glyphs for the font are taken from a large number of free licensed fonts.
The sources for the glyphs, by language, are:
Free software, anti-cyber spying, UNIX philosophy and open source guru and speaker who studied at the University of Connecticut in Storrs (class of 2008) and is Asst. Director for Technology, Office of International Students & Scholars at Tale University in New Haven, CT, since 2013. At Open Font Library, where he published as Sean Diggity O'Brien, Sean created the cartoonish handwriting font Diggity (2015). [Google] [More] ⦿
Sebastian Kosch (b. 1989, Germany) studied Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. He designed the open license garalde font family Crimson Text (2010), which is part of the Google open font directory. This was followed by Crimson (2011) and Crimson Bold (2011). Free downloads at OFL, CTAN and Aldus Leaf. See also Crimson Pro, originally designed by Sebastian Kosch and in 2018 expanded by Jacques le Bailly. The Crimson fonts were corrected in 2016 by Michael Sharpe and are available as Cochineal. Michael writes: These remarkable fonts are inspired by the famous oldstyle fonts in the garalde family (Garamond, Bembo) but, in the end, look more similar to Minion, though with smaller x-height and less plain in detail..
Sebastian's motto: free as in both "free beer" and "freedom."
Designer from Canberra, Australia, but born in Mainz, Germany. Leader of Open Baskerville, an open source project for a digital revival of the famous Baskerville typefaces. Open Baskerville is based upon Fry's Baskerville, a Baskerville derivative from ca. 1768 created by Isaac Moore, a punchcutter who worked for John Baskerville. Besides Klein, contributors include James Puckett and Robin Mientjes. Typophile discussion. OFL link. They explain the project:
In order to be historically correct and entertain typophiles, Open Baskerville is to be a revival of a Baskervillian ‘clone’ by Isaac Moore, a punchcutter who worked for the type foundry of Joseph Fry in Bristol and later in London. It is believed that he did so because Baskerville had little financial success, never selling his types which were at their making considered vulgar in their stark contrast of the lettershapes and ‘damaging to the eyes’. Further, no other printer had the technology to accurately print with the high-contrast, sharp hairline punches at the time anyway. Fry’s Baskerville was created as a derivative of Baskerville that could be used with the less expensive papers, presses, and the inks that were common.
Moore created a huge series of fonts in this style, complete with ornaments, a (subjectively weak) italic, and old-style figures for the text weights. The typeface was cut around 1766 and the original matrices still exist. They were purchased from the Fry foundry by Stephenson, Blake & Co. in 1910 having already acquired the Fry foundry materials off the Sir Charles Reed foundry. The surviving punches and even original matrices are in the collection of the Type Museum, London and The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, though both inaccessible, the latter due to their location in a warehouse containing asbestos.
Sadly only two complete original specimens exist, both in libraries that are currently inaccessible. The first, a broadside specimen printed in Bristol in 1766 is currently housed at the Providence library and the second specimen is in the Royal Library in Stockholm. A copy of the 1766 specimen was reprinted in Updike’s Printing Types, figure 276 though obtaining a high-quality scan is desireable. A contact attempt was made at the Providence with no luck whereas the cost of having a Stockholm copy digitized is presumed to be around the USD $100 mark — this is an option worth considering. There is a very large, multi-page specimen in the Library of Congress, but it only shows the ‘
Morris Fuller Benton revived the Moore design for ATF and it first appears in the 1923 ATF specimen (also note a 12pt scan from 1923), as well as later again in the 1934 ATF specimen and in the 1941 ATF specimen. Interestingly Benton did not choose to use Moore’s italic, instead opting for an italic which was in fact copied from the type of Richard Austin that English Monotype later made under the name of ‘Bell’ and also very similar to ‘Bulmer’. So also up for discussion is the selection of an italic; Moore’s italic has been received poorly and as just noted, even Benton choose to replace it. We may do the same, using or basing it off an existing italic or if we’re feeling particularly fruity, draw our own.
Dunwich Type Founders [James Puckett] explains in an abrasive style Open Baskerville's origins, and destroys it as a possible web font: In 2007 I was working in-house at an organization that used ITC New Baskerville as the serif typeface of its identity. New Baskerville is a great design, but it lacks the high contrast needed for large sizes. This inspired me to start work on Large Fry's, a revival of Fry's Baskerville by Isaac Moore. Large Fry's had extreme contrast for big print use. I left that job in 2008 and never finished Large Fry's. Later a heated discussion about free/open-source/libre fonts occurred on a web forum. I ended up releasing my unfinished Large Fry's into the public domain in hopes that some of the libre fonts geeks could turn it into something worthwhile. That never happened; the project went off track when open-source zealots wanted to move the entire thing to Fontforge, which nobody with type design skills really wants to use to design type. So the files wasted away in online repositories, which is not really a loss to anyone. Then, in 2010, web fonts happened. And someone decided to make web fonts out of Open Baskerville. This was a horrible idea---Open Baskerville was not intended to be a general purpose print font. It needs to be used larger than 36 pixels just to be readable. [Google] [More] ⦿
Chris Simpkins (Source Foundry, Baltimore, MD) wrote these free font tools:
In addition, Chris designed the free programming font Hack (2018).
The League of Movable Type
Another cooperative where one can submit open source fonts, which is currently located in Anaheim, CA. Initial contributors in 2009 are Micah Rich, Caroline Hadilaksono, Haley Fiege, and Andrea Bergamini. The project was started by Micah Rich and Caroline Hadilaksono. Their manifesto: As designers on the web, we have a calling to raise the standards of the web-design world. We're not the only ones who value good design, and it's time for the web world to catch up with it. We understand the challenges that comes with the internet, but with our recent discovery of @font-face, we started getting excited. For those who aren't up to speed, @font-face is a fairly new addition to web styling, letting a designer specify the location of their own font files. Instead of having to design with just a handful of web-friendly fonts, we'll be able to use any typeface we desire. Well, that's our vision, anyway. There are people who design typefaces for a living, and we want them to make money off of something that they do well. This revolution is not a movement against type foundries and type designers; it's quite the opposite. The kind of revolution we want is a change in the way people think about doing business. We want type foundries and typographers to start thinking, "Maybe there's nothing wrong with giving things away sometimes." It's not always about the money, sometimes it's also about making a contribution to the society, in this case, the design community. Giving one typeface away for free will most likely only boost sales, and it's a good deed. We want more people to look at it like that: like they have a responsibility to do something good for their peers. We're not asking type designers and type foundries to sacrifice profit, we're asking them to contribute to a greater cause, to create a community where we not only have a high design standard for print and web alike, but also a community where we're able to share our creations, knowledge, and expertise with our peers and the world. Blog.
In-house free font creations include League Gothic (2009-2011) [League Gothic is a revival of an old classic, and one of our favorite typefaces, Alternate Gothic No.1. It was originally designed by Morris Fuller Benton for the American Type Founders Company (ATF) in 1903. The company went bankrupt in 1993. And since the original typeface was created before 1923, the typeface is in the public domain.] and League Spartan (2014) [a bold geometric sans based on ATF's Spartan].
Developers with Bitstream of this family of fonts in 2003: Lynn-Sans-Bold, Lynn-Sans-Bold-Italic, Lynn-Sans-Italic, Lynn-Sans, Lynn-Sans-Mono-Bold, Lynn-Sans-Mono-Bold-Italic, Lynn-Sans-Mono-Italic, Lynn-Sans-Mono, Lynn-Serif-Bold, Lynn-Serif-Bold-Italic, Lynn-Serif-Italic, Lynn-Serif. Apparently, these are all based on Bitstream Vera. [Google] [More] ⦿
Tribby Type (San Francisco) is custom typography, design, and engineering shop run by Jeremy Tribby. Jeremy is a designer native to California, where he studied art at UC Berkeley, and finished the TypeWest program in 2020. He has worked with large brands like Google and NBC, non-profits like EFF and Edupath, agencies like Instrument and Character, and startups like Chefs Feed and Shift. Github link. His typefaces:
TypoPRO is at once a repository of free fonts and a site that offers recommendations. Started in 2013, it is continuously updated by its founder, Dr. Ralf S. Engelschall (Munich, Germany), b. 1972. Dr. ret. nat. Dipl.-Inf. Univ. Ralf S. Engelschall is the the founder of the popular Open Source software organizations Apache Software Foundation, OpenSSL, OpenPKG and OSSP. He is an active developer in Apache, FreeBSD and GNU software development projects. He studied computer science at TU Munchen (class of 1999) and obtained a PhD in computer science from the University of Augsburg in 2018.
In 2020, TypoPRO consisted of 1613 individual fonts or 182 hand-picked font families. He provides this table of his favorite fonts in the collection:
Raphael Bastide's site with links to great open source fonts. His list of libre foundries. He writes: Use & Modify is a personal selection of beautiful, classy, punk, professional, incomplete, weird typefaces. Open source licenses make them free to use and modify. This selection is the result of deep search and crushes. This selection is yours. His goal is to provide a contemporary set of fonts distributed under libre or open source licences, hand picked by a typography and free culture lover. The project is based on ofont. [Google] [More] ⦿
Xanthi, Greece-based designer Vangelis Karageorgos grew up between Grevena and Larisa, in northern Greece. In 2003 he completed his studies on Environmental Engineering at the Polytechnic of Democritus University of Thrace and is currently (2007) carrying out a PhD on atmospheric chemistry and physics in Xanthi, Greece. At Parachute, he created PFMuse and PFArmonia (2007), his first commercial typefaces. PF Muse was withdrawn in 2008 as a reaction to comments by the typophiles (being too close to its genetic parent, Delicious, by Jos Buivenga). He also created Morpheus Hellenic (2006; see also here), a Greek version of Eric Oehler's famous Morpheus font from 1996. He is also working on a Greek version of the DejaVu fonts (2006). Comments on typophile. He works at the University of Thrace, Greece. Alternate URL. [Google] [More] ⦿
At Walter van Rijn's site, called Symbiotext, one finds a description of his Symbiote projects. One of these led to the grunge-style typeface Symlogidins (2012, free at OFL). This sans typeface is partially based on OSP-DIN.
In 2014, Walter van Rijn created the Latin/Cyrillic typeface Putintin, showing both languages at the same time. He explains: If you type on a Latin keyboard the Latin letters appear on top and on a line underneath appears the Cyrillic, creating two lines of text at the same time. Please double the font size to get a readable text. If you type on a Cyrillic keyboard the Cyrillic appears on top with the Latin underneath. Putintin was created in response to the Russian annexation of the Crimea, which clearly breached UN resolutions and memoranda affirming Ukraine's territorial integrity, which Russia signed as well. To be precise, Resolution 2625 of 24 October 1970 and the Budapest Memorandum of 5 December 1994 (the Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine's Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). OK now it is confirmed that the UN is dead, we need to re-establish East West communication, for which I propose this font. It is free at Open Font Library. This typeface remixes work by Harrisson, Pierre Huyghebaert, Femke Snelting, Ivan Monroy-Lopez, Yi Jiang, Nicolas Malevé and Ludivine Loiseau.
In 2016, in keeping with socially relevant type design, he published Sym Being Human, and writes: I have inserted words within the capitals of this digital font. Words which are only readable by us, humans, and not by the computers which use the font. The words relate to the human rights and freedoms as they are formulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
A German wiki entry on Open Source fonts, listing Bitstream Vera, Caslon Roman, Computer Modern, DejaVu, Gentium, GNU Unifont, Junicode, Liberation fonts, Linux Libertine, MPH 2B Damase. [Google] [More] ⦿