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Google develops open source font system that standardises over 800 languages

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As a single font plays a vital role in the growth of apps and websites, Google started focusing on fonts five years back. And now, the search giant has released its open source first-ever font system that already consists more than 800 languages and over 110,000 characters.

Google partnered with font maker Monotype to develop the new font system under the Noto Project back in 2012. That years-long partnership has finally brought the open source font family that includes a consistent digital type for every symbol in the Unicode standard.

“When we began, we did not realise the enormity of the challenge. It required design and technical testing in hundreds of languages, and expertise from specialists in specific scripts,” write Bob Jung, director of internationalisation at Google, and Scott Landers, president and CEO of Monotype, in a joint blog post.

Originally designed for Android and Chrome OS, Google’s Noto comes as an answer to blank “tofu” boxes that are commonly available if there is a lack of font support on a system. The prime goal of the open source project is to make “no more tofu” by enabling multiple sets of characters under one, unified font.

Noto fonts

Google’s Noto fonts with several styles and characters

The font family includes efforts of not only the internationalisation team at Google and the Monotype unit but also some experts from Adobe and various volunteer reviews. Further, Noto fonts are licensed under OFL (Open Font License) and come in a variety of styles and weights.

Developers can access the design source files behind Noto to enhance the open source project. But if you are particularly looking for some unique fonts, you can download them directly from the official website. The entire package is over 472MB in size.