Cantarell (typeface)

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Designer(s)Dave Crossland
Date created2009
LicenseSIL Open Font License Edit this at Wikidata
Latest release version0.303[1]
Latest release date13 September 2021

Cantarell is the default typeface supplied with the user interface of GNOME since version 3.0, replacing Bitstream Vera and DejaVu. The font was originated by Dave Crossland in 2009.

Operating systems that ship GNOME (version 3 and later versions) include this typeface family by default, such as Fedora Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes the font family in its Google Fonts directory, making the typeface available for use in Web sites. It is notably absent in Ubuntu which includes the Ubuntu typeface instead.


In 2009 the Cantarell fonts were initially designed by Dave Crossland during his studies of typeface design at the University of Reading.[2] In 2010, the fonts were chosen by GNOME for use in its 3.0 release, and the font sources were moved to GNOME's Git repository.[3] The fonts are maintained there, allowing contributions from a variety of designers including Jakub Steiner and Pooja Saxena. In 2013 Pooja Saxena joined the GNOME foundation's “Outreach Programme for Women” internship,[4] and was tasked with improving the design and language support.[5] In 2014 Pooja was given financial support by Google Fonts to extend the design to Devanagari, but due to unavoidable vertical metrics adjustments the family was published with a new name, Cambay.[6]

In GNOME 3.28 (March 2018), the font was re-designed with two additional weights, light and extra bold.[7]


Cantarell initially received both criticism and support from the free software community. It was argued that GNOME's use of Cantarell reduced legibility in desktop applications, it was not kerned and has deformed glyphs.[8] Other users enjoyed the design, calling it “stylish and beautiful, but most importantly, crisp and easy to read.”[9] The initial release notes stated that it was designed for legibility on screens.[10]

GNOME's choice was also criticized since Cantarell only supports some Latin languages, far fewer than the previously used DejaVu fonts.[11] When the fonts were first published, Crossland invited others to extend the language support[10] and this finally began in 2013 when Saxena began applying the design to the Cyrillic script.[5]

Cantarell does not include native italics or oblique glyphs.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index of sources/canterell-fonts". GNOME.
  2. ^ "Work from the MA typeface design class of 2009". Archived from the original on 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  3. ^ "Cantarell, a Humanist sans-serif font family". GNOME GIT source code repository. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  4. ^ "OutReachProgramForWomen - GNOME Wiki!". Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  5. ^ a b Saxena, Pooja (2013-05-29). "Becoming an OPW intern". Pooja Saxena. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  6. ^ Saxena, Pooja. "Google Fonts Cambay". Google Fonts. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  7. ^ "GNOME 3.28 Release Notes". Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  8. ^ Fortin Tam, Jean-François (2011-04-13). "On Cantarell". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  9. ^ Martin, Chema (2011-10-25). "Cantarell, a new favorite font of mine". Chema Martin. Archived from the original on 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  10. ^ a b Crossland, David (2011-07-23). "Cantarell". Dave Crossland. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  11. ^ "The Grumpy Editor's GNOME 3 experience". Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  12. ^ "Generated obliques have no hinting applied to them (#16) · Issues · GNOME / Cantarell-fonts". 2 January 2020.

External links[edit]