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A unique nationwide open font design contest: Arsenal becomes the standard Ukrainian font
SIL subset fonts for web and mobile use!


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  • Alphabetum is a large, multilingual font (over 5,780 characters in version 9.90) designed for typing ancient languages. A free demo of the font is available to download, containing around 500 fewer characters than the full version. The full version is available to purchase for EUR 15 - 60, depending on the status and purposes of the customer.


    From the download site: Only a Windows version of Alphabetum is currently available, however this font should be usable on Macintosh running OSX. For Unix/Linux systems, there have been reports of people using Alphabetum successfully under these systems, however the font designer has only tested it under Debian. In any case, you need to configure your Xfree server to recognize and to use TrueType fonts in Unix/Linux.

    Copyright© 2010 Juan José Marcos
    LicenseRestricted - see terms below

    Purchase of a license is required in order to gain full use of this font.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  •  BRAMA provides information and links to custom-encoded fonts for processing Cyrillic text. Software is listed according to OS, and is available for Mac, Unix/Linux, Windows, and DOS users.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • In order to create small and compact fonts, in Character Requirements for basic Cyrillic Orthographies and Character Requirements for extended Cyrillic Orthographies we list subsets for basic Cyrillic orthographies and for extended use of Cyrillic.

    Included in the attached .zip file is a basic text file which merely lists all the usvs we recommend for inclusion in each subset font.

    Also included in the .zip file is a .nam file which allows the user to map unicode values to Postscript names for every one of the recommended characters in FontLab. This gives the font developer a starting point in FontLab to know which characters to support.

    Naming files should be placed in FontLab’s ‘Mapping’ directory.

    In order to understand our file names, the short name is expanded here:

    • Cyr = Basic Cyrillic (Codepage 1251)
    • CyrE = Cyrillic Extended (characters required for other orthographies)
    ContributorLorna Evans
  • Charis SIL and Doulos SIL were created to provide two Unicode-based font families that would contain a comprehensive inventory of glyphs needed for processing Latin or Cyrillic text.

    Charis SIL was produced specifically for laser printers. Of the two, Charis SIL tends to be more useful in general publishing. It is available in regular, bold, italic and bold italic styles. Doulos SIL is available only in regular style.

    Both fonts make use of state-of-the-art font technologies to support complex typographic issues, such as the need to position arbitrary combinations of base glyphs and diacritics optimally.

    LinkCharis SIL page (links to Doulos page from Charis Overview)
    LicenseSIL Open Font License 1.1 Allows use, study, modification, redistribution
    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • The Russian-American site  Friends and Partners provides information on how to install Apple's Cyrillic software, as well as links to other free and commercial Cyrillic fonts.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) provides a number of  Cyrillic fonts and keyboard drivers for Mac OS users. It also hosts links to sites for 'Cyrillicizing' a Mac, and links to font lists / archives.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • The DejaVu fonts are a font family in Sans, Serif and Mono styles. Supported scripts include Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian and Georgian (available in all styles). In addition, Hebrew, N'Ko, Lao, Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, Ogham and Arabic are supported but may not be available in all styles.

    LinkDejaVu Fonts
    Copyright© 2003 Bitstream, Inc., © 2006 Tavmjong Bah
    LicenseRestricted - see terms below

    The fonts have a generous copyright, allowing derivative works (as long as "Bitstream" or "Vera" are not in the names), and redistribution; however, they may not be sold by themselves. They can be bundled, redistributed and sold as part of a larger software package. Please see  Bitstream Vera Fonts README for details.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • The Serbian Orthodox Church provides an accurate  list of links to downloadable Cyrillic fonts.

    ContributorScriptSource Staff
  • Freelang is a non-profit project started in 1997 and developed by the user community. The site hosts dictionaries, translation software, and fonts for a wide variety of languages.

    LinkFreelang Fonts
    Copyright© Beaumont 1997-2011(Please note: this copyright refers to the Freelang site, not to the individual fonts hosted there.)
    LicenseRestricted - see terms below

    All the fonts provided by Freelang are either freeware or shareware. However they remain the property of their respective authors and there may be restrictions on their use or distribution. Please check the individual license information for any font you download.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • 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 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.

    LinkGentium Font Page
    LicenseSIL Open Font License 1.1 Allows use, study, modification, redistribution
    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • Google has been developing a font family called Noto, which aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel. Noto is Google’s answer to tofu. The name Noto is to convey the idea that Google’s goal is to see “no more tofu” (tofu being the nickname for the small square boxes displayed when characters are missing from a font). Noto has multiple styles and weights, and is freely available to all.

    LinkGoogle Noto Fonts download
    CopyrightCopyright Google Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    LicenseSIL Open Font License 1.1 Allows use, study, modification, redistribution
    ContributorLorna Evans
  • The following link describes how to add a keyboard layout to Windows that is already supported by Microsoft. More comprehensive information on keyboard installation and use can also be found here

  • This is a set of multilingual keyboards for use with Latin alphabets as well as quite a few other scripts. An online keyboard is very helpful when you don't have to type a lot of text. It makes it possible to type within a webpage, copy and then paste your text into a working document. This kind of keyboard is probably not suitable for everyday usage. A regular, installed keyboard might be more suitable for a language that is being constantly typed.

    LinkLexilogos online keyboard
    CopyrightXavier Negre © Lexilogos 2002-2016
    LicenseLicense not specified
    ContributorLorna Evans
  • The Libertine Open Fonts Project has created a free OpenType font family intended as an alternative to Times New Roman. The fonts cover the codepages of Western Latin, Greek, Cyrillic (with their specific enhancements), Hebrew, IPA and many more. It also includes Graphite features and XeTeX example files.

    CopyrightNot indicated
    LicenseSIL Open Font License 1.1 Allows use, study, modification, redistribution

    Fonts are dual licensed with both the OFL and the GPLv3+font exception

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • Mark Williamson's MPH 2B Damase is a free font encoding many non-Latin scripts, including the Unicode 4.1 scripts in the Supplementary Multilingual Plane: Armenian, Cherokee, Coptic, Cypriot, Cyrillic, Deseret, Khutsuri, Glagolitic, Gothic, Greek, Hanunóo, Hebrew, Linear B, Old Italic, Old Persian Cuneiform, Osmanya, Phoenician, Shavian, Tai Le (no combining tone marks), Thaana, Tifinagh, Ugaritic, and Vietnamese. A few of these scripts do not display perfectly; Tai Le does not have combining tone marks, and Hanunóo does not support the ligatures needed for writing Buhid.

    LinkMPH 2B Damase Font
    Copyright© 2005 Mark Williamson
    LicenseGNU General Public License 3.0 (GPLv3) Allows use, study, modification, redistribution
    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • Old Standard is a multilingual font family, based on Russian and German editions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Old Standard font family currently includes three shapes (regular, italic and bold) and has more than 1400 glyphs in the regular version.

    LinkOld Standard Font Family
    Copyright© 2006-2008 Alexey Kryukov
    LicenseSIL Open Font License 1.1 Allows use, study, modification, redistribution
    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • PT Sansfont

    The PT Sans family are open fonts developed as a part of the project “Public Types of Russian Federation”.

    The main aim of the project is to offer the possibility to the peoples of Russia to read and write in their own native languages. The project is dedicated to 300-year anniversary of the civil type invented by Peter the Great in 1708–1710 years and was financial supported by the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications.

    The fonts beside standard Western, Central European and Cyrillic code pages contain wide coverage of various languages used throughout the Russian Federation.

    PT Sans is based on Russian sans serif types of the second part of the XX century, but at the same time has a very distinctive features of modern humanistic design. The family consists of 8 styles: 4 basic styles; 2 captions styles for small sizes and 2 narrows styles for economic setting.

    Designed by Alexandra Korolkova, Olga Umpeleva and Vladimir Yefimov. Released by ParaType in 2009.

    LinkParatype public

    Operating system with support for TrueType/OpenType.

    Copyright© 2009 Paratype
    LicenseSIL Open Font License 1.1 Allows use, study, modification, redistribution

    Paratype has also released the font family under their own specific unrestricted license in parallel but using the OFL is recommended.

    ContributorNicolas Spalinger
  • This is a collection of Latin and non-Latin Unicode keyboard layouts for Mac OS X.

    LinkQuinon Mac OS X Keyboards
    CopyrightNot indicated
    LicenseRestricted - see terms below

    These key layouts are made available for free download; however, restrictions may apply to their modification and/or distribution.

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • This typeface attempts to provide full coverage for all languages using the Latin,Cyrillic and Greek scripts. Although the licensing is quite restrictive, the fonts are freely available for non-commercial use.

    LinkThe Brill

    Brill (publishing house)

    Copyright© 2012 Brill
    LicenseRestricted - see terms below

    Free for non-commercial use, but with significant restrictions. See

    ContributorVictor Gaultney
  • Titus Cyberbit Basic is a Unicode-encoded font which supports typesetting in the Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian, Hebrew, Ethiopic, Thaana, Ogham, and Runic scripts. It is compatible with Windows and Mac OS, and can be downloaded for free upon submission of a form. Limited information about the font is available from  Wikipedia.

    LinkTITUS Cyberbit Font
    Copyright© 2000 Bitstream Inc / TITUS project
    LicenseRestricted - see terms below

    This font is distributed as freeware for non-commercial use only. Distribution is forbidden.

    ContributorSteph Holloway

  • Posted by Nicolas Spalinger on 2012-11-06 08:37:00

    I recently came across a rather unique open font design contest happening at a country-wide level in the Ukraine. The goals of this contest were to help revive - in a practical way - the distinctive traditions of the Ukrainian language through the creation of a custom high-quality font family. The resulting font could then be made widely available to the general public and not limited to typography connoisseurs only.

    The contest was organized and funded by the  Mystetskyi Arsenal, a large museum and cultural institution with the help of the  Stairsfor design studio. Over 50 font designers from different backgrounds (professional unions, companies, and independent foundries) have contributed their skills by engaging with the idea of creating a quality and unrestricted font that would be distinctively Ukrainian.

    You can read more about the motivation and ideas behind the contest, as well as the event itself, in the Ukrainian press: The Day - Ukraine is working on its fonts and  The Day - Ukraine has its own font now.

    The winner of the contest is designer Andrij Shevchenko from  Andrij Type, and his creation, called Arsenal, is now released under the  Open Font License on

    Beyond the coverage of the needed characters, this font also provides various smart features like alternates, stylistic sets, small caps and ligatures, and it looks like a version specifically designed for use on the web is in preparation to make it easier to bring distinctive Ukrainian typography to more websites.

    This contest strikes me as an elegant and creative way to bring together the practical need for fonts in daily use and the desire to cultivate and promote typographic and historical heritage. Establishing a common standard via the creation of a custom open font is likely to be a tremendous boost to many speakers of the language in their daily life. This font is quite likely to take on a life of its own thanks to its unrestricted licensing model, and this gives Arsenal the potential to help the Ukrainian language develop a more prominent and distinctive presence on new media and new means of communication.

    Maybe other countries will be inspired to do something similar for their own languages and follow in the footsteps of the Arsenal font project?

  • Posted by Lorna Evans on 2015-03-25 07:18:02

    SIL's Non-Roman Script Initiative has created very comprehensive fonts for Latin and Cyrillic character sets.  Charis SIL,  Doulos SIL,  Gentium Plus and  Andika are very large fonts that cover just about every need we know about in the Latin and Cyrillic world. Now, as we move into the age of mobile phone and web usage, there is a need for fonts that are small and compact. Our fonts are over a megabyte each and that is considered much too large for mobile phone usage.

    In October 2014 we released version 5.000 of SIL's Charis SIL, Doulos SIL, Gentium Plus and Andika fonts. We have now created regional subsets based on each of these fonts. These fonts currently only contain OpenType smart code (we hope to add Graphite soon). Each regional font only contains the characters (and glyphs) that are known to be used in that region of the world. We have attempted to use the most common glyph required for that region.

    Our regional subsets are as follows:

    • Africa [Afr]
    • Americas [Am]
    • Asia/Pacific [APac]
    • Europe/Eurasia [Eur]
    • Vietnam [Viet]
    • Phonetic [Phon]
    • Cyrillic (Basic) [Cyr]
    • Cyrillic Extended [CyrE]

    You can download the subset fonts from here: Both .ttf and .woff fonts are included in the download. The .woff fonts will especially be helpful for those using these fonts on websites.


Copyright © 2017 SIL International and released under the  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA) unless noted otherwise. Language data includes information from the  Ethnologue. Script information partially from the  ISO 15924 Registration Authority. Some character data from  The Unicode Standard Character Database and locale data from the  Common Locale Data Repository. Used by permission.