Google and Adobe Release Serif Version of Universal CJK Font

Saturday, 8 Apr, 2017

Holy serif! Google and Adobe have released “Noto Serif CJK” aka “Source Han Serif”.

These are the same typeface, part of an ambitious and important project to design a set of typefaces to cover the world’s languages, this time focused on Chinese, Japanese and Korean (hence the “CJK” in the name). The “Noto” in the name Google uses comes from “no tofu”, and “tofu” describes little squares that people sometimes see when their chosen font does not have the characters in the text. It’s a common problem; with apologies to the actual food.

We have had the “Sans Serif” version of this typeface for a few years now, and now the “Serif” version is available. That’s great. The “Sans Serif” is the “blockier” version, also often known as “Gothic” in Japan. For the “Serif”, they added the traditional flourishes at the ends of the lines in the characters, representing brush marks. “Serif” fonts are often known as “Mincho” in Japan.

What I really love about these typefaces is, they include English characters that balance well with the CJK characters. This is a bigger deal than it seems. Used to be, when you’d type in English using a Japanese font like “MS Mincho”, the resulting English was just unbalanced and awful-looking. Not the case with these.

Thank you Google, Adobe and the other participating organizations. This is a fantastic win for computer users in Asia.

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