Review: Gentium font speaks many languages

25.12.2012, von Clare Brandt

Gentium, a TrueType typeface designed by J. Victor Gaultney, is part of SIL International's Non-Roman Script Initiative. The ideas behind Gentium is to provide diverse ethnic groups around the world with a digital resource to present their complex languages. Even without that lofty goal, the typeface itself is refined and modern, yet classically elegant.

To the casual observer, Gentium may seem similar to Times New Roman, with a stacked letter-press type lowercase, delicate serifs, and legibility at very small sizes. But Gentium has more rounded glyphs, and a much less harsh overall appearance. Gentium supports a wide range of Latin- and Cyrillic-based alphabets, and is available in a number of versions to fit all your business needs.

Gentium Basic includes upper and lowercase, numbers, punctuation, special characters, and a limited Latin character set. Gentium Book (designed by Gaultney with Annie Olsen) is a slightly heavier version. Both Gentium and Gentium Book include italic, bold, and bold italic faces. In addition, Gentium Plus offers extended Latin glyphs, archaic Greek symbols, and full extended Cyrillic script support; but currently includes only regular and italic faces. Gentium Alt includes more than 2400 kerning pairs and flatter diacritics designed to improve appearance when writing non-English (and offers fun options that may not be typographically correct, but add flair).

Gentium fonts are free for both personal and commercial use, in addition to being open source under the SIL Open Font License (which permits both redistribution and modification). Embedding is installable.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.