Beta version of Gentium Plus fonts is available
SIL International and Victor Gaultney released beta version of their excellent font family called Gentium. This release is the first significant update in last eight years, and the amount of changes was large enough to rename the family to Gentium Plus (please note this page will expire in a while when the final version is released).
So, in few words, what's new?
- over 3800 new glyphs;
- full extended support for latin and cyrillic scripts;
- new OpenType and Graphite code for smart diacritic positioning and alternate glyphs;
- typographic small caps, even for extended Latin and Cyrillic (but not Greek);
- a richer set of archaic Greek glyphs.
The Unicode range coverage is not exactly surprising when you know that the other name for Gentium is "a typeface for the nations", a font for diverse ethnic groups around the globe.
The new font family mostly preserves horizontal metrics of the original Gentium typeface, but has larger vertical metrics to fit all the tall compound diacritics.
Some things are missing in this release:
- bold or bold italic;
- a Book weight family (as found in Gentium Basic);
- support for Apple Advanced Typography features;
- a full range of typographic OT features, such as old style figures;
- manual hinting.
Some of those, such as bold and bold italic faces, are in the works, but getting them finished is months and months of hard work ahead. Other things are only planned.
Getting cyrillics into Gentium seems to have been a challenge. The first version of Gentium was released with very rough and incomplete set of cyrillic characters, missing in the italic face completely. Later in 2006 Victor introduced significant changes to their design and was planning to release the updated font family in mid-2007. That, however, didn't happen. Same year Victor attended a cyrillic workshop by Maxim Zhukov in NYC. However a year later Gentium Basic was released in for generic faces without cyrillics.
Now, finally a test version of Gentium with a complete coverage of cyrillic characters is out in the wild. The TTF archive contains a 10 pages long PDF file that explains features of the font family. It's quite worth having a look.
We are sure that you will fall in love with this beautiful typeface too, just like we did back in time. As for Gentium Basic that was released in 2008, it will be available in the future, just not updated. Eventually multiweight Gentium Plus and Gentium Book Plus will replace it.
A special note has to be given about beta nature of this release: there are known bugs that need fixing, so even though you have access to sources (the typeface is under Open Font License after all), pretty please don't start spin-offs just now and wait for the final release scheduled for later autumn this year.