Multi-script Web Fonts

One benefit of web fonts that many designers may not immediately think of is the potential to serve fonts for languages that website visitors may not have font support for on their local devices. In case you may have missed this information in earlier communications, the web fonts we are serving on Typekit are full analogues of desktop fonts. This means that the web versions of all our fonts have all the same glyphs and all of the OpenType features found in their counterparts. Although there is currently no mechanism for exploring language support on Typekit, I have been assured that this will be forthcoming. In the meantime, I thought it would be worthwhile to review the language support provided by our current set of web fonts.

Firstly, all of our fonts marked with the suffix “Std” contain the most basic Latin character set, which is defined by our Adobe Latin 2 character set (AL2). Fonts designated as “Pro” will support the major European languages which utilize the Latin script and will support our Adobe Latin 3 character set (AL3), but might contain additional characters. For example, Myriad Pro supports Vietnamese, monotonic Greek, and basic Cyrillic in addition to the AL3 characters. Beyond this level of support, Minion Pro, and Garamond Premier Pro also support polytonic Greek. Hypatia Sans Pro and Adobe Text Pro offer our widest linguistic coverage. These two families support our Adobe Latin 4 character set (AL4), which covers all European languages that are written with Latin script, several Romanization transliteration schemes, polytonic Greek, and extended Cyrillic for several minority languages. A listing of languages that are supported by each of our character sets, as well as a table showing which character sets each font family covers is attached at the end of this posting.

To take advantage of these additional language capabilities on Typekit, make sure your kit’s “Subset” option is set to “All Characters.” As you can imagine, not subsetting the fonts has the potential of greatly increasing the size of your type assets and the Typekit machinery will warn you of this. If you are sure that you don’t mind this increase in size, simply ignore this warning. Otherwise, implement your kit as usual.

Language support of Adobe character sets

Adobe Latin 2 (AL2): Afrikaans, Basque, Breton, Catalan (without the l-dot, added in AL3), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Javanese (Latin), Malay (Latin), Norwegian, Portuguese, Sami (excepting Northern and Skolt), Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, and Walloon.

Adobe Latin 3 (AL3): All the languages supported by AL2 plus Croatian (Latin), Czech, Estonian, Gagauz (Latin), Hungarian, Kashubian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moldovan (Latin), Polish, Romanian (Latin), Serbian (Latin), Silesian, Sorbian, Slovak, Slovenian and Turkish.

Adobe Latin 4 (AL4): All the languages supported by AL3 plus Afar, Azerbaijani (Latin), Belarusian (Latin), Chamorro, Chichewa, Esperanto, Filipino/Tagalog, Gikuyu, Greenlandic, Guarani, Hawaiian, Igo/Igbo, Kuskokwim, Luba (Ciluba), Maltese, Maori, Marquesan, Ndebele, Oromo, Samoan, Setswana, Sidamo, Somali, Sotho (Northern and Southern), Swazi, Tahitian, Tetum, Tongan, Tsonga, Tuareg, Uzbek (Latin), Vietnamese, Wallisian, Welsh, Xhosa, Yoruba, and Zulu. For Romanization it supports several schemes for Indic and Arabic, as well as Cyrillic and Pinyin Chinese.

Adobe Cyrillic 1 (AC1): Balkar, Belarusian (Cyrillic), Bulgarian, Erzya, Karachay, Kumyk, Macedonian, Moksha, Nanai, Nogai, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian (Cyrillic) and Ukrainian.

Adobe Cyrillic 2 (AC2): All the languages supported by AC1 plus Abaza, Adyghe, Agul, Avar, Bashkir, Buryat, Chechen, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar (Cyrillic), Dargin, Dungan, Ingush, Kabardian, Kalmyk, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Khinalugh, Komi, Kyrgyz (Cyrillic), Lak, Lezgian, Moldovan (Cyrillic), Mongolian (Cyrillic), Ossetian, Rutul, Tabasaran, Tajik, Tat, Tatar, Turkmen, Tuvan, Uyghur (Cyrillic) and Uzbek (Cyrillic).

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Font Family Latin Greek Cyrillic
Adobe Garamond Pro AL3
Adobe Text Pro AL4 polytonic AC2
Bickham Script Pro AL3
Caflisch Script Pro AL3
Chaparral Pro AL3
Cooper Black Std AL2
Cronos Pro AL3
Garamond Premier Pro AL3 + Vietnamese polytonic AC1
Hypatia Sans Pro AL4 polytonic AC2
Minion Pro AL3 + Vietnamese polytonic AC1
Myriad Pro AL3 + Vietnamese monotonic AC1
News Gothic Std AL2
Poplar Std AL2
Rosewood Std AL2
Trajan Pro AL3
Voluta Script Pro AL3

[This is the fifth installment of "Web Font Wednesdays," our continuing series of posts regarding fonts on the web.]

6 Responses

  1. Miguel Sousa says:

    Typekit announced today that you can now filter and browse fonts by language. The list of languages currently available on Typekit’s sidebar is English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Polish, Swedish, Czech, Dutch, Catalan, and Russian.

    http://blog.typekit.com/2010/10/28/announcing-speakeasy-a-new-open-source-language-tool-from-typekit/

    I also learned that the “Default” language option includes support for English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. To support other languages in your kit, you must use the “All Characters” option.

    http://typekit.zendesk.com/entries/306478-support-for-different-languages-on-typekit

  2. Does anybody know when one of the Garamond fonts will have the AL4 character set?

    1. Unfortunately, there currently is no plan to extend Adobe Garamond or Garamond Premier to include the glyphs for AL4. But, to quote FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, it is not outside the realm of extreme possibilities.

      In any case, it is good to know of such demand so that we can set priorities accordingly.

  3. Dear Ken,

    thanks for this update. Demand is strong!!! If you could pass this on to the higher-ups, that would be great.

    The following blog got my hopes up: http://blogs.adobe.com/typblography/latin_charsets/Adobe_Latin_4.html

    Best,

    Peter

  4. LJ says:

    I just want to put this out there…Latin is supported in many fonts, I’d like to see a larger variety of web fonts extended to include the extra few Vietnamese vowels/tones. Supposedly, two sans-serif fonts, Hypatia Sans & Myriad Pro, as well as two serif fonts, Garamond Premier Pro & Minion Pro, support Vietnamese but have yet to figure out if it is in fact so.

    I’ll be happy when World Wide Interweb Fonts grow beyond their infancy to at least toddlership. Ok, maybe past their terrible threes. Oh, wait, I just realized I’m asking far too much, far too early. (I know, I know, I must have patience. Trợi ơi!).

    Have a great one folks!
    LJ

    1. Christopher Slye says:

      If you’re interested to know exactly which characters and glyphs are present in our fonts, you can look for the “Glyph Complement” PDFs in our online store — for example, Hypatia Sans Pro. (Warning: 3.9 MB.)

      Also, keep in mind that most font services will only deliver a basic Latin subset by default. Check your settings to ensure you are using the entire font if non-Western language coverage is important.

Comments are closed.

Paul D. Hunt

Typeface designer & font developer at Adobe. Connoisseur of language, culture and design. Occasional jetsetter. Notorious recluse. @pauldhunt on twitter (and most everywhere else).

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