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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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You are here: Type Design > Resources > Gentium
Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/Gentium

Gentium — a typeface for the nations


‘Purpose: to build a free multilingual font to bring better typography to thousands of languages around the globe. I can think of no higher calling.’

‘...an interesting blend of economical use of space, a serious tone of voice and a modern informal dress code.’

‘Beautiful - a wonderful way to make knowledge look great! Open-source fonts are a gift to humanity.’

‘I’ve been enamored of the Greek alphabet for years, but with Gentium, every now and then I just stop and look at a word and think, “lovely”.’


Google Web Fonts

Gentium Basic is now available for use on web pages via the  Google Web Fonts service! This makes it very easy for you to use on your website. For more information on this and other ways to use SIL fonts on web sites see Using SIL Fonts on Web Pages.

Gentium is a typeface family designed to enable the diverse ethnic groups around the world who use the Latin, Cyrillic and Greek scripts to produce readable, high-quality publications. It supports a wide range of Latin- and Cyrillic-based alphabets.

Gentium Latin and Greek

The design is intended to be highly readable, reasonably compact, and visually attractive. The additional ‘extended’ Latin letters are designed to naturally harmonize with the traditional 26 ones. Diacritics are treated with careful thought and attention to their use. Gentium also supports both polytonic and monotonic Greek. Gentium Plus now includes more extended Latin glyphs (Unicode 5.1), archaic Greek symbols, and full extended Cyrillic script support. Download the new Gentium Plus fonts here

The Gentium and Gentium Plus font families currently include only regular and italic faces, but Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic give a preview of what a whole range of new weights will eventually look like. The 'Basic' fonts only support a limited Latin character set (no Greek or Cyrillic). Gentium Book is a companion family to Gentium that is altogether slightly heavier, and better suited for some publishing needs. It supports only the Basic character set at present, but will eventually match the full Gentium character set. More info and download link here

The Gentium font families are freely available and may be used by anyone at no cost. They are released under the SIL Open Font License, a free and open source license that permits modification and redistribution. Our hope is that it will stimulate literature production and elevate extended Latin alphabets to greater parity with the basic Latin alphabet. We also hope it will encourage other type designers to appreciate and support those fascinating and beautiful extra letters.

Follow the links above to find out more about Gentium, download a detailed type specimen and get the latest release.

Gentium News [ see details ]
2011.08.25 Gentium Plus 1.506 released. Minor update that includes official Unicode codepoints for all PUA characters which were added to Unicode 5.2 and 6.0 [ more ]
2011.06.24 Gentium (original) license updated to SIL Open Font License version 1.1. [ more ]
2010.11.18 Gentium Plus 1.504 released. Minor bug fix for Cyrillic. [ more ]
2010.11.01 Gentium Plus released. [ more ]
2010.09.01 Gentium Plus test version released. [ more ]
2008.04.04 Final version of Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic released. [ more ]
2007.11.13 Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic released in first test version. [ more ]
2005.11.28 Gentium released under the SIL Open Font License. [ more ]
2004.01.09 Gentium for GNU/Linux released! [ more ]
2003.11.19 Interview with designer in current issue of  LISA Globalization Insider Report. Also available on this site. [ more ]
2003.10.31 Gentium FAQ expanded and updated [ more ]
2003.09.19 Transfer of Gentium to SIL International becomes public [ more ]
  Maintenance release (1.01) of Gentium posted [ more ]
  New Gentium SIL site debuts [ more ]
2003.07.18 Design characteristics of Gentium highlighted at  TypeCon 2003
2003.03.07 Gentium is a winner of the  TDC2003 Type Design Competition
2003.01.17 Gentium was exhibited as part of the bukva:raz! exhibit at the UN Headquarters Main Lobby, 17 Jan - 13 Feb, 2002
2002.10.22 Some of the research behind Gentium, including a dissertation on diacritic design, is available on Victor Gaultney’s  academic site
2002.09.22 ‘Multitudinous Alphabets’ essay, discussing the design of extended Latin typefaces (like Gentium), was presented at the ATypI-Roma conference
2002.09.16 First public release of Gentium posted
2001.12.05 Gentium is one of the winners of the bukva:raz! international type design competition
2000.12.24 Design drawings begun


Backlinks (20 most popular; affiliated sites and popular search engines removed)
 http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/hayes/120a/PhoneticFonts.htm
 http://www.paranoidfish.org/
 http://www.biblicalgreek.org/links/fonts.html
 http://blogdex.net/
 http://www.ncf.ca/~ek867/wood_s_lot.html
 http://www.simiandesign.com/blog-fu/
 http://www.grasshopperllc.com/
 http://www.simiandesign.com/blog-fu/2004/03/001965.cfm
 http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/toc/set_eresource.htm
 http://www.leuschke.org/log/


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