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03 August 2012, 11:28

Adobe open sources its first font family

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Source Sans Pro specimen

Adobe has announced the release of its first open source font. Source Sans Pro is a fully fledged font family that includes six weights and is designed for use in software. Preliminary versions of Source Sans Pro were included as the user interface font in Adobe's open source code editor Brackets and Adobe has said that it plans to use the font in other open source applications in the future.

The font was designed by Adobe designer Paul D. Hunt and is licensed under the SIL Open Font License 1.1 which allows modification and distribution as long as the designer is credited. The font comes complete with all sources that were used in its production, is available as a Google Web Font and will soon be included in Google Docs as well.

Hunt explains that the visual aesthetics of the font were inspired by the News Gothic and Franklin Gothic fonts designed by Morris Fuller Benton in the early 20th century. One particular detail that sets Source Sans Pro apart is the visual differentiation between the upper- and lowercase "i", the lowercase "l" and the number one. The font currently includes support for Latin script (including glyphs for Western and Eastern European languages), Vietnamese and pinyin Chinese. Support for Navajo is also included as well, as Hunt calls it "an often overlooked orthography that holds some personal significance for me".

Future plans for the font already include the addition of Cyrillic and Greek support and the creation of a mono-width version for use in terminals and consoles. A PDF specimen sheetPDF is available showing all glyphs and weights. The font and its sources are available for download from SourceForge but the designer stresses that development of the font family will not cease and that he invites the community to collaborate on future versions. The licence also encourages variations of the font to be created, which Hunt welcomes as well.


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