In what can only be described as the largest typeface project in history, Google and font extraordinaires Monotype have launched the Noto font. A typeface that has taken over 5 years in production and resulting in an open source font family which, according to Google, includes “every symbol in the Unicode standard, covering more than 800 languages and 110,000 characters”.
Noto, the name for the new font came from Google’s initial brief to Monotype which was for ‘no more tofu’. ‘Tofu’ being the name given the blank boxes that appear when a computer or website is unable to display text because the font being used does not support it and/or is not available to the computer, therefore causing confusion and a breakdown in communication.
Not only was Google’s challenge to create fonts for all of the 800 languages included in the Unicode Consortium standard, which includes many little-spoken or ‘dead’ languages, thus eradicating the ‘tofu’ boxes from our screens, but they also created letters in multiple serif and san serif styles across up to eight weights, as well as numbers, emoji, symbols and musical notation for each of these languages.
Being open source under Open Font License, designers and developers around the world can contribute to the design of the scripts. The font is also free to use, reinforcing Google’s goal of helping enable communications across borders and cultures.
Here at Zimpleweb we can see the relevance and power for us by using the example where we design and develop a website with a truly international audience. We look forward to seeing more from Google and Monotype’s relationship as they continue to collaborate and advance the use of type to new places.