Hello Noto: Google And Monotype Unveil A Clean, Beautiful Universal Font Project For All Languages

Google's gone to great effort to remove language as a barrier from communication on the web with its continually evolving translation technologies, and along a similar vein it just released a new open-source font called Noto, a single typeface family that "aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel." It supports more than 800 languages and 100 writing scripts.

Noto is a massive undertaking, but one deemed necessary by Google. It's been working on the project over the past five years in collaboration with Monotype in hopes of eradicating so-called "tofu"—the blank boxes you see when a PC or website can't display a particular text—from the web. Noto, or No more tofu, is Google's answer and it's available now to download.

Noto font

"The Noto project started as a necessity for Google’s Android and ChromeOS operating systems. When we began, we did not realize the enormity of the challenge. It required design and technical testing in hundreds of languages, and expertise from specialists in specific scripts," Google explains in a blog post. "In Arabic, for example, each character has four glyphs (i.e., shapes a character can take) that change depending on the text that comes after it. In Indic languages, glyphs may be reordered or even split into two depending on the surrounding text."

Solving the challenge meant partnering with various experts in type and font design. Monotype played the biggest role, though Google also collaborated with Adobe and had a network of volunteer reviewers. As far as Monotype is concerned, Noto is one of the expansive typography projects ever undertaken.

"We are passionately dedicated to type and helping to advance the use and adoption of type across many cultures, languages and geographies. We are thrilled to have played such an important role in what has become one of the most significant type projects of all time," said Scott Landers, president and CEO of Monotype. "The combination of Monotype’s type expertise and Google’s innovation has proven to be a productive relationship and we look forward to continued collaboration that helps advance the use of type to new places."

Noto fonts are available in eight weights. A whopping 110,000 characters comprise the entire set, and in an effort to keep consistent with Unicode, Google will update Noto as new characters are introduced to it. That includes the recent emoji additions.

You can download all the Noto fonts here.