Open-source Unicode typefaces

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Screenshot of type set in several different free (libre) sans-serif typefaces: Latin Modern Sans, Liberation Sans, Arimo, FreeSans, Nimbus Sans L, Tex Gyre Heros, Droid Sans, Roboto, Noto, Bitstream Vera Sans, and DejaVu Sans.
Examples of several libre, sans-serif typefaces.

A few projects exist to provide free and open-source Unicode typefaces, i.e. Unicode typefaces which are open-source and designed to contain glyphs of all Unicode characters. However, there are also numerous projects aimed at providing only a certain script, such as the Arabeyes Arabic font. The advantage of targeting only some scripts with a font was that certain Unicode characters should be rendered differently depending on which language they are used in, and that a font that only includes the characters a certain user needs will be much smaller in file size compared to one with a large number of glyphs. Unicode fonts in modern formats such as OpenType can in theory cover multiple languages by including multiple glyphs per character, though very few actually cover more than one language's forms of the unified Han characters.


GNU Unifont[edit]

GNU Unifont is a bitmap-based font created by Roman Czyborra that is present in most free operating systems and windowing systems such as Linux, XFree86 or the X.Org Server. The font is released under the GNU General Public License Version 2+ with a font embedding exception.


The Fixed X11 public-domain core bitmap fonts have provided substantial Unicode coverage since 1997.

21st Century[edit]


Free UCS Outline Fonts[edit]

The Free UCS Outline Fonts [1] (also known as freefont) is a font collection project. The project was started by Primož Peterlin and is currently administered by Steve White. The aim of this project has been to produce a package of fonts by collecting existing free fonts and special donations, to support as many Unicode characters as possible. The font family is released as GNU FreeFont under the GNU General Public License. It also supports several font formats, including PostScript, TrueType, and OpenType. For this reason the fonts are derived from original work made in FontForge, and stored in .sfd (Spline Font Database) files. The most recent release is from May 2012.

SIL fonts[edit]

SIL International offers a large number of fonts, editors, translation and book production systems[2] as part of their goal to bridge the digital divide to minority languages. This site contains many utilities for Windows systems, including right-to-left editors, keymappers, RTF translators, and high-quality, free Unicode fonts. SIL publish their fonts under their own SIL Open Font License. Typefaces include Charis SIL, Doulos SIL and Gentium.

MPH 2B Damase[edit]

Mark Williamson's MPH 2B Damase is a free font encoding many non-Latin scripts, including the Unicode 4.1 scripts in the Supplementary Multilingual Plane: Armenian, Cherokee, Coptic, Cypriot Syllabary, Cyrillic, Deseret, Georgian, Glagolitic, Gothic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Limbu, Linear B (partial coverage), Old Italic, Old Persian cuneiform, Osmanya, Phoenician, Shavian, Syloti Nagri (no conjuncts), Tai Le (no combining tone marks), Thaana, Tifinagh, Ugaritic, and Vietnamese.[3]

IndUni fonts[edit]

The IndUni fonts are a GPL-licensed font family with many accents and combining characters, especially suitable for Indic, Indian and Nepali (Sanskrit, Prakrit, Hindi) and Middle Eastern languages and Urdu in transliteration. It also includes characters for Avestan and for the Pinyin representation of Chinese, a set of Cyrillic characters and a basic set of Greek letters. The fonts implement almost the whole of the Multilingual European Subset 1 of Unicode. Also provided are keyboard handlers for Windows and the Mac, making input very easy.

They are based on fonts designed by URW++ Design and Development Incorporated, and offer lookalikes for Courier, Helvetica, Times, Palatino, and New Century Schoolbook.[4]


Noto fonts[edit]

Noto is a font family designed to cover all the scripts encoded in the Unicode standard. It is designed with the goal of achieving visual harmony (e.g., compatible heights and stroke thicknesses) across multiple languages/scripts. Commissioned by Google, the font is licensed under the SIL Open Font License.[5] Until September 2015, the fonts were under the Apache License 2.0.[6]


Font name License Version / date Notes
Amiri Font OFL 0.111 (30 Dec 2017) Arabic script, Naskh style
Bitstream Vera Bitstream Vera fonts license 2002
Cardo OFL Unicode 6 and MUFI v3-compatible
Caslon Roman OFL or BSD-like license 2001-12-16
CMU family OFL An updated version of Computer Modern (CMU is an abbreviation for Computer Modern Unicode).
Culmus GPL 2 + font exception 0.132 (18 Jan 2018) A basic collection of Hebrew fonts aimed at Hebrew-speaking GNU/Linux and Unix community
DejaVu fonts license 2.35 (17 May 2015) A modification and wide extension of Bitstream Vera fonts
Droid fonts Apache license A collection of fonts developed for Google's Android mobile phone operating system
EB Garamond OFL
Fedorovsk Unicode GPL, OFL Old Cyrillic script
Fira Sans OFL
Fixed 1997 The Fixed X11 public-domain core bitmap fonts have provided substantial Unicode coverage since 1997.
Fixedsys Excelsior public domain 3.01 / 2007
Gentium OFL or BSD-like license 5.000 (2014-10-28)
Ghostscript GPL, AFPL, LPPL[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] URW ++ Type 1 fonts, a free alternatives to 35 basic PostScript fonts—e.g. Type 1 version of Nimbus Roman No9 L, Nimbus Sans L, Nimbus Mono L, URW Bookman L, URW Gothic L and others
GNU Unifont GPL 2+ GNU Unifont is a bitmap-based font created by Roman Czyborra that is present in most free operating systems.
Hanazono Minchō[in Japanese] (permissive license) One of the few free software fonts that includes the whole CJK Unified Ideographs Extension C block, as well as many other (related) CJKV characters, such as the Kangxi Radicals and CJK Radicals Supplement blocks.
Jomolhari OFL Tibetan script
Junicode GPL 0.7.8 / 30 December 2012
Kelvinch Font OFL, free for any use Most Latin blocks fully populated + Cyrillic, Georgian, Armenian & Runes. Comes in Roman, Italic, Bold & Bold Italic.
Latin Modern GUST licence
Lato OFL 2.015 / 6 August 2015 Covers all Latin alphabets, along with Cyrillic, Greek, and IPA
Linux Libertine GPL, OFL 5.3.0 / July 2012 Linux Libertine is a digital typeface created by the Libertine Open Fonts Project, which aims to create free and open alternatives to proprietary typefaces such as Times Roman.
Liberation fonts OFL 2.00.0 / July 18, 2012 Liberation is the collective name of four TrueType font families: Liberation Sans, Liberation Sans Narrow, Liberation Serif and Liberation Mono. These fonts are metrically compatible with Monotype Corporation's Arial, Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, and Courier New (respectively). Versions since 2.00 use OFL while older versions use GPL + font exception.
Liberastika fonts GPL + font exception Is a derivative of Liberation fonts with improved Cyrillic
M+ FONTS Permissive free software licence[15] v 060 / 2015-06-15
Menaion Unicode GPL, OFL Old Cyrillic script and Glagolitic script
Monomakh Unicode GPL, OFL Latin and Old Cyrillic script
New Athena Unicode OFL
Noto fonts OFL Commissioned by Google
Old Standard TT GPL, OFL A Unicode font family for classical, medieval and Slavic studies — alternative download at
Ponomar Unicode GPL, OFL Old Cyrillic script
Roboto Apache license 2.001047; 2015 A collection of fonts developed for Google's Android mobile phone operating system
SIL fonts OFL Typefaces include Charis SIL, Doulos SIL and Gentium.
Ubuntu Font Family Ubuntu Font License Ubuntu 11.10 / 7 March 2011
UniFraktur OFL
Source Sans Pro and Source Code Pro OFL 2012 By Adobe
Source Serif Pro OFL 2014 By Adobe
Source Han Sans OFL 2014 By Adobe
Source Han Serif OFL 2017 By Adobe
Symbola No license, "free for any use"[16] 10.23 (December 2017) Versions of Symbola from version 10.24 onward are released under a license that prohibits commercial and educational use.
TeX Gyre collection of fonts GUST licence
Oxygen fonts GPL + font exception or OFL Created by the KDE community, this font is optimised for the FreeType font rendering system and works well in all graphical user interfaces, desktops and devices. Alternative download at

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Free UCS Outline Fonts
  2. ^ NRSI: Computers and Writing Systems
  3. ^ Details for MPH 2B Damase
  4. ^ IndUni fonts, by John Smith
  5. ^ "Noto Font". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  6. ^ "Add NEWS for license change - googlei18n/noto-fonts". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  7. ^ "Ghostscript SVN - URW fonts". Google Code. Google. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  8. ^ "Debian package - gsfonts". Debian. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  9. ^ "Fonts and font facilities supplied with Ghostscript". Ghostscript. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  10. ^ URW++ making original 35 fonts available under LPPL,, retrieved 2010-05-06
  11. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts., archived from the original on 2002-10-23, retrieved 2010-05-06
  12. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts. (TXT),, retrieved 2010-05-06
  13. ^ "Fonts and TeX". 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  14. ^ Five years after: Report on international TEX font projects (PDF),, 2007, retrieved 2010-05-06
  15. ^ "License". M+ Outline Fonts.
  16. ^

External links[edit]