IBM Plex

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IBM Plex Sans
IBM Plex Sans sample.svg
CategorySans-serif
ClassificationGrotesque
Designer(s)Mike Abbink, et al.
FoundryIBM, Bold Monday
LicenseSIL OFL
Latest release version3.0
Latest release date27 May 2018
IBM Plex Sans Condensed
IBM Plex Sans Condensed sample.svg
CategorySans-serif
ClassificationGrotesque
Designer(s)Mike Abbink, et al.
FoundryIBM, Bold Monday
LicenseSIL OFL
Latest release version1.1
Latest release date18 February 2018
IBM Plex Mono
IBM Plex Mono sample.svg
CategoryMonospaced
Designer(s)Mike Abbink, et al.
FoundryIBM, Bold Monday
LicenseSIL OFL
IBM Plex Serif
IBM Plex Serif sample.svg
CategorySerif
ClassificationTransitional
Designer(s)Mike Abbink, et al.
FoundryIBM, Bold Monday
LicenseSIL OFL
Latest release version2.5
Latest release date15 October 2018

IBM Plex is an open source typeface superfamily conceptually designed and developed by Mike Abbink at IBM in collaboration with Bold Monday to reflect the brand spirit, beliefs and design principles of IBM and to be used for all brand experiences across the company internationally. Plex will replace Helvetica as the corporate typeface after more than fifty years, freeing IBM from the extensive license payments that face required.[1]

As of version 1.0 the family has four typefaces, each typeface has 8 weights (Thin, Extra Light, Light, Regular, Text, Medium, Semi-bold, Bold) and true italics to complement them.[2]

  • IBM Plex Sans – A grotesque sans-serif typeface with a design that was inspired by Franklin Gothic. Other sans-serif classifications were rejected on the basis of being too soft (humanist), inefficient (geometric) and overly perfected (neo-grotesque). Some of Franklin Gothic's features such as the angled terminals, a double-storey g and a horizontal lined 1 are used in IBM Plex Sans.
  • IBM Plex Sans Condensed – A condensed variant of IBM Plex Sans.
  • IBM Plex Mono – A monospaced typeface based on IBM Plex Sans. The italic design was inspired by the Italic 12 typeface used by the IBM Selectric typewriter, which is particularly evident with the italicised i, j, t and x letters.
  • IBM Plex Serif – A serif typeface with a design that was inspired by Bodoni and Janson. Other serif classifications were rejected for being too humanist and outdated (old-style) and too clunky and unrefined for long text (slab-serif). Some of Bodoni's features such as ball terminals and rectangular serifs are used in IBM Plex Serif.

Unicode coverage[edit]

As of version 1.0, the IBM Plex typefaces currently support most of the Latin languages including Vietnamese, as well as the Cyrillic writing system (except in IBM Plex Sans Condensed). In version 3.0 of IBM Plex Sans, support for the monotonic Greek alphabet was added.[3] Additionally IBM Plex Sans Hebrew (a separate typeface similar to IBM Plex Sans without italics) was released adding support for the Hebrew writing system. On 15 October 2018, IBM Plex Thai was released adding support for loopless Thai script.[4]

In addition, both Mike Abbink and Bold Monday have confirmed to be working on support for Arabic, Devanagari, CJK, Bengali and Tamil.[5][6]

There is also support for common mathematical and currency symbols (including Bitcoin (₿) #U+20BF which was ratified into Unicode in 2017) as well as ligatures such as fi and fl, along with stylistic alternates for a, g and 0.

There are a few unreleased symbols for IBM Plex Sans Condensed, IBM Plex Mono and IBM Plex Serif such as the generic currency sign (¤), prime symbol (′) and double prime symbol (″). In addition Mike Abbink has confirmed support for the Mathematical Operators block and support for the symbols used in the APL programming language in 2019.[7][8]

The FCC #ECE0 and CE marking #EFCC logos are encoded as glyphs within the Private Use Area.[9] Prior to version 1.0, the IBM logos #EBE1 to #EBE7 were also encoded as glyphs.

Licensing[edit]

IBM has licensed the font files for all four typefaces only under the SIL Open Font License (SIL OFL).[10] Although between 9 August 2018 and 21 August 2018, the fonts were additionally dual-licensed under the Apache License. This dual-licensing arrangement was rescinded due to concerns that the Apache License is unsuitable for fonts.[11] The SIL OFL license is free and open-source, however FontLab Studio which is proprietary software is required in order to build the fonts from source.[12]

Bold Monday also provide web development code in CSS, SCSS and JavaScript that is related to the fonts under the Apache License.[13]

IBM Plex's name is reserved, as allowed by the SIL OFL and trademarked as of December 2017.[14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quito, Anne. "IBM has freed itself from the tyranny of Helvetica". Quartz. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ "IBM Plex - 03 Plexness". IBM. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Add support for (modern) Greek. #179". GitHub. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  4. ^ "CHANGELOG.md". GitHub. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  5. ^ "IBM Plex editable sources? #68". GitHub. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  6. ^ "IBM Plex – 05 Specs". IBM. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Suggestion: ≔ and ≝ #122". GitHub. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  8. ^ "APL Glyphs Absent #176". GitHub. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  9. ^ "IBM Plex". Font Squirrel. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ "LICENSE.txt". GitHub. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Add Apache license into all font folders (This will live as a dual license with the OFL) #190". GitHub. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Please allow building from source with a free toolchain #98". GitHub. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  13. ^ "README - Building the fonts from source". GitHub. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Trade mark number UK00003255123". Intellectual Property Office (United Kingdom). Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  15. ^ "IBM Plex – Trademark Electronic Search System". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 21 August 2018.

External links[edit]