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Revival of the fittest

Finally time to take this quasi-public.  I’ve been working on an open font, a revival of the 1908 News Gothic by ATF.  I’m calling it News Cycle, and you can find the Launchpad project at https://launchpad.net/newscycle/

I chose News Gothic for a couple of reasons.  (A) there is not currently an open source implementation of it. (B) I kinda like it.  (C) News Gothic was a stalwart newspaper font, which appeals to me as a journalist.  (D) There’s room for improvement. The various proprietary revivals cover only Basic Latin, which leaves out much of the world.  Orthogonally, although there are several other good realist open source typefaces out there, the original News Gothic was designed at multiple weights: meaning Regular, Demi, Light, Heavy, etc.  To my knowledge there are extremely few open fonts that have this property, so reviving one built for it would potentially be useful in a lot of different ways.

That said, this is also intended to be a learning experience for me, which it certainly has been thus far.  Learning about type design, learning the open source font toolchain, and so on.  Not to mention learning about writing systems.  Thus far, I’ve only implemented Latin-based glyphs, and although I’ve done more than were originally included in the original 1908 specimens, I’ve already learned a lot about the writing system that I use and that much of the “Western” world uses.  That part’s quite entertaining.

In any event, this is only the beginning, but if you’re a die-hard glutton for punishment, you can download the FontForge sources from the Launchpad project page, or a binary TrueType font file (.ttf).  You can drop it into ~/.fonts/ on Linux, /Users/Yourname/Library/Fonts/ on OS X, or C:\Windows\Fonts\ on Windows. It is licensed under the SIL Open Font License, which grants users the right to modify and redistribute the font.  That said, if you know someone else who might be interested in it, you would be doing them a tremendous favor by pointing them here rather than simply emailing them a copy of your copy; this is an ongoing work that will change.

I’d appreciate all kinds of feedback; I’m relatively happy with the basic glyphs and metrics, but the glyphs I’m adding now are the ones I’m less familiar with — including accented characters.  In particular, if you’re a non-English reader and you find something that looks out of place in your language, let me know or file a “bug report” on the Launchpad project page.

Right now, News Cycle Regular covers 74% of Basic Latin, 74% of Latin-1 Supplement, 77% of Latin Extended-A, and a teeny tiny percentage of Latin Extended-B.  I’ve only just started the hinting.  Many thanks to the fine folks at the Open Font Library project and the wider open font community, particularly Dave Crossland (who puts up with a ton of lame questions from me), Nicolas Spalinger, and Denis Jacquerye.

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