5 Fonts To Keep Your Eye On

Keep an eye on these fonts...

As you may know, I am slightly obsessed with typography. I’m always on the lookout for new typefaces, experimenting with typographical layouts and following the development certain typefaces that catch my eye. There are a lot of very interesting font projects on the internet these days; it’s an exciting time for type on the web.

And occasionally, I come across some typefaces that are fresh, new, very beautiful and still in heavy development. These I keep an eye on and actively follow their progress.

I encourage you to do the same.


The Ubuntu Font

Click on the images for a bigger view.

The Ubuntu Font was designed by London-based studio DaltonMaag after being hired by Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu operating system, to develop a modern, sans-serif typeface specifically designed for high screen legibility and user interfaces. In its current state of development, the Ubuntu font comes in regular, bold and italic styles and supports a wide range of alphabets and glyphs with a lot more to come. There is a also monospaced variant on the horizon, too.

With the excellence of DaltonMaag and Canonical driving the development of this font, with further input from the wider opensource community, the Ubuntu font promises to be a much sought-after typeface, clocking over 83million serves already on Google’s Web Font Directory.

In particular, I love the simple, almost minimalist shape of some of the characters, especially the ‘u’ and ‘a’; you can imagine drawing those shapes in a single stroke.

The font is free and you are permitted to modify, share and redistribute.

Download it from Google’s Web Font Directory.

Maven Pro

Maven Pro

To this day I still cannot recall where I discovered this beauty, but I’m glad I did. This modern sans-serif is being developed by Joe Prince of Vissol Ltd. What started as a small, on-going project has quickly developed into a full-blown typeface with over 500 glyphs and more weights to come. Currently the regular and medium weights are free to download, with the bold in construction.

Maven Pro exhibits letterforms that are more rounded compared to a similar typeface such as Ubuntu above. Consequently, it feels friendlier whilst still presenting a modern air. I can confirm that this typeface works beautifully in print as well as at small point sizes in user interfaces.

Thought I can’t be certain on the typeface’s license, what I do know is that the regular and medium weights are free to download from the Maven Pro website. You can also subscribe to receive email updates when new glyphs and weights are added. I recommend doing so.



Cantarell was designed by Dave Crossland during his Masters study of Typeface Design in the Department of Typography at the University of Reading, England. It’s a modern, sans-serif typeface again specifically designed for high legibility on screens and in user interfaces. Dave hints that eventually he’ll be looking to optimise the typeface further for print-friendliness.

In recent times, the development of the typeface was picked up by the GNOME Project: a desktop environment and user interface that features on many Linux operating systems. With the advent of GNOME’s new user interface, the GNOME Shell, rolling out soon, Cantarell has therefore seen its heaviest development since being adopted as the new GNOME3 font. It is still, as we speak, being tweaked daily by the GNOME typographers and designers.

In terms of UI, the regular weight is beautiful and clear, I use it quite a lot myself. I still have my concerns over the bold weight though, to my eye the bold letterforms are actually different and don’t accurately reflect the beautiful characters of the regular weight. More work is to be done, and thankfully more work is being done on this very promising project.

You can download the font on Google Web Fonts.

M Plus

M Plus

I have mentioned the MPlus font family before but with good reason: it’s designed for screen, also works beautifully in print, the font family is huge, supports a massive amount of alphabets and glyphs and is being actively developed further. What’s included in this family? Well:

The M+ OUTLINE FONTS are distributed with proportional Latin (4 variations), fixed-halfwidth Latin (3 variations) and fixed-fullwidth Japanese (2 Kana variations) character set. 7 weights from Thin to Black are included, but fixed-halfwidth Latin with 5 weights from Thin to Bold.

All fonts were completed with Basic Latin, Latin-1 Supplement, Latin Extended-A, and IPA Extensions. And most of Greek, Cyrillic, Vietnamese, and extended glyphs and symbols were prepared too. So the fonts are in conformity with ISO-8859-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, Windows-1252, T1, and VISCII encoding.

Like I said, character support is fantastic. And it has been optimised for web type use as well. It’s modern, clean, professional and highly legible. This is definitely a font family to watch.

The typeface is completely free to use, download, modify, share and redistribute. Grab it here.


The Lato family

Finally, and certainly not least, this is an excellent family of opensource fonts: Lato by Łukasz Dziedzic of tyPoland.

Lato is a san-serif typeface family designed in the Summer 2010 by Warsaw-based designer Łukasz Dziedzic (“Lato” means “Summer” in Polish). In December 2010 the Lato family was published under the open-source Open Font License by his foundry tyPoland, with support from Google.

Lato exhibits some beautiful character shapes, and with good reason. In the author’s own words:

When working on Lato, Łukasz tried to carefully balance some potentially conflicting priorities. He wanted to create a typeface that would seem quite “transparent” when used in body text but would display some original treats when used in larger sizes. He used classical proportions (particularly visible in the uppercase) to give the letterforms familiar harmony and elegance. At the same time, he created a sleek sanserif look, which makes evident the fact that Lato was designed in 2010 — even though it does not follow any current trend.

This is certainly true; I can definitely detect hints of the likes of Syntax as well as a whiff of old American grotesque’s like Trade Gothic, but it conforms to neither and has become a unique typeface in it own right.

And to cap it off, the typeface currently comes in five weights (plus a hairline) with corresponding italics.

Want it? You can, once again, grab it on Google’s Web Font Directory.

Recommend Me Fonts!

Have you discovered a new favourite typeface here? Or perhaps you’d like to share a particular typographical treasure you’ve discovered? The comment boxes below are here for you.

Ian Cylkowski aka Izo

Logo & Identity Design

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2 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. You may want to check Máirín Duffy’s blog for other nice open source fonts:

    By the way, Maven license is not free (that is, we won’t be seeing in our distros anytime soon); from the README file in the archive:

    Maven Pro is a licensed trademark of Vissol Ltd.
    Font License Information:
    – This font may not be tampered with in any manner
    – This font may not be redistributed in any manner
    – This font may not be resold in any manner
    – The contents of this font may not be modified or changed in any way
    – This font may be used in context with other design materials, as long as it does not profit solely to the party
    – This font can be used with @font-face and is free to use on web for commercial and/or personal use

    • Izo,

      Thanks Gianluca! Yeah, I’ve seen that blog before, shame Unpackaged Font Of The Week isn’t updated all that often.