Have you ever opened a document, only to find that the text has turned into gibberish? The most famous kind of text error is tofu: . These little boxes appear when your computer can’t display a character. If you speak a common language, like English, tofu probably isn’t a problem for you. For endangered language speakers, though, it’s a serious barrier. After all, how can you use your language online if you can’t type it in the first place?
Google’s newest font family, Noto, aims to change all that. The goal of the project is to create coordinating fonts for all the world’s languages. In fact, “Noto” stands for “no more tofu.” Noto currently covers 800 languages and 63,000 of Unicode’s 128,237 characters.
In this video, experts from Google and Monotype discuss the challenges of supporting hundreds of languages in a single font system:
The Noto project is still a long way from its goal. For one, the fonts only support about a tenth of the world’s languages. But, for those languages that are supported, Noto lets speakers communicate freely on the web — maybe even for the first time.
You can download Google’s Noto fonts for free here: https://www.google.com/get/noto/.