On July 15, Adobe, in partnership with Google, released the largest ever open source typeface. Source Han Sans, which works with Google’s Noto Sans font families and with Adobe’s Source Sans typeface, supports Japanese, Chinese and Korean, as well as Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets.
With a remarkably broad scope, the Adobe Source Han Sans font family covers languages spoken by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, serving a quarter of the world’s population. This typeface provides one unified font solution for international audiences so that designers only need to license one font, increasing efficiency and consistency while reducing development costs.
This impressive, breakthrough new typeface includes seven weights, from ExtraLight to Heavy, and it utilizes the maximum number of glyphs (65,535) for the OpenType format. Source Han Sans possesses an unprecedented small file size for a Pan-CJK font of its magnitude.
Developing this unique typeface so that the design harmonizes across the languages, while paying attention to details and regional variations, including Taiwanese and Hong Kong character sets, was a complex project and collaborative process.
Ryoko Nishizuka, senior designer on Adobe’s Tokyo-based type team, created the primary designs for Source Han Sans. Designing the font with a modern and sophisticated aesthetic, she utilized simplified strokes to create a versatile, all-purpose typeface that is easy to read on mobile devices.
Adobe also worked with in-country type foundry partners – Iwata Corporation in Japan, Sandoll Communication in Korea, and Changzhou SinoType in China – who contributed their expertise and ensured the quality of the regional considerations. Google defined requirements, provided in-country testing and feedback, and funded the partner efforts.
While a project of this magnitude was first discussed at Adobe fifteen years ago, it wasn’t until talks with Google four years ago that this extraordinary project began.
During a personal briefing prior to the Source Han Sans release, Adobe Originals’ product marketing manager Nicole Miñoza described, “In the end, we pulled together five different companies to build this font, and it took a little over three and a half years. But we are very happy with the end result and the fact that we were able to obtain this with a very distributed but successful development model.”
Currently celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary, Adobe Originals released Source Han Sans as its 101th typeface and provided the original source files as an invaluable gift to the community. Google also released this font, which will provide text for Google products, under the name Noto Sans CJK as part of their Noto pan-Unicode font family.
Source Han Sans is available for free from the Adobe Typekit font library as well as from SourceForge and GitHub as a download.