Noto unified font

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Sun Oct 9 09:14:50 CDT 2016

This was not the first prority of the project I think. Monospace fonts were
used for text input in web forms but this old use id now deprecating,
except probably for CJK, due to poor readability and design and the
inability to handle lot of scripts.
Monospace fonts are still used for programming languages where code is
almost always in Latin and translatable contents are preferably stored in
external resources. For editing the external resources, there's no need of
complex data structures, the format is most often linear and you don't need
any monospace fonts.

But there are still programs created mixing code and UI text in static
strings and some limited usages in internationalized regexps (which is a
sort of programming language with complex rules). I suggest that such
editors should have an interface to swtich instantly from a monospace and
normal font. There are decent text editors that are friendly with Latin/CJK
monospace fonts and proportional fonts for other scripts or symbols.

And the Noto project is not finished :

- Its monospace can still be improved to cover more than just Latin and
general punctuation.
- Adding Cyrillic, Greek, and a few other scripts that work well in
monospace styles (e.g. Hebrew, possibly Georgian and Armenian or even
Cherokee) would seem a good future goal (monospace fonts for Arabic are
most horrible, except in very creative/fancy designs, even if the Arabic
script is very flexible using long joining, but some complex ligatures
which don't fit well in a character cell).
- However it is really not needed for CJK scripts (that have their own
fonts already with monospace metrics), including the Japanese kanas and
Bopomofo (as well as mappings for subsets of Latin/Greek/Cyrillic inherited
from legacy non-Unicode charsets).

But another project should now target more urgent needs: fonts with
excellent typographic features for printing, advertizing, titling, to be
used for finalized publications (printed or in PDFs) which would be
beautiful, or that would better reproduce the best handwritten/painted
artworks, or that woudl restore the best typographic traditions used since
centuries. Peoiple now start rediscovering the beauty of these traditions
but rarely with solutions that are usable with our modern languages using a
richer repertoire of characters (many borrowed directly from other scripts
or languages), so the best-looking fonts are only designed for some limited
languages (most often the major European languages, but frequently only
Basic English and Classical Latin or Greek) :

- the serif style fonts still need extensions of their coverage (I think it
is more urgent than the monospace styles).

I like also the fact that the Noto project opted for distinguishing the two
major traditions for the Arabic script.

About each year, there's an updated version of the set, but most often this
occurs due to the extension of the universal repertoire (and it is easier
to separate the designs per script as it eases the updating process and
tests if they are just extended with some new characters, new encoded
variants, or new pairs with diacritics or complex ligatures and layouts for
Indic scripts.

And in fact I'd like that Windows Update to also include this distribution
(independantly of the many legacy fonts for MS Office). For now Noto Sans
still competes with the "Segoe" families made for the Windows UI, but it
has a limited coverage (May be Noto should be installed by default with
Chrome and Safari, probably also with JRE/JDK for Java). It is highly
preferable to the older Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman family whose
coverage is now old (but still distributed and updated with MS IE/Edge).

For monospaced fonts, "Consolas" from Microsoft is still better than Noto
and the older "Courier New".

2016-10-09 14:14 GMT+02:00 Oren Watson <oren.watson at>:

> I am disappointed with Noto Mono, which only covers Latin script, and not
> Greek, and Cyrillic when most existing monospace fonts do.
> On Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 7:28 AM, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at> wrote:
>> 2016-10-09 8:17 GMT+02:00 Luke Dashjr <luke at>:
>>> On Sunday, October 09, 2016 4:37:24 AM Philippe Verdy wrote:
>>> > The licence itself says it respects the 4 FSF freedoms. It also
>>> explicitly
>>> > allows reselling (rule DFSG #1):
>>> >
>>> No, it doesn't. That link is just a commentary, and of no relevance to
>>> non-
>>> SIL-owned fonts.
>> The link is the one directly used on the Noto description page when it
>> refers to the OFL licence. It is not saying that it is only for SIL-owned
>> fonts. Google/Monotype would have linked to another page if needed but this
>> is the most relevant one explicitly stated by Google on the Noto site.
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