PT Sans, An Excellent Free Font For Screen

Aug 22, 2010

Alexandra Korolkova of ParaType spoke at TypeCon 2010 about two new freely licensed fonts: PT Sans and PT Serif. They were commissioned by the Russian government. PT Sans is available for download and PT Serif will be released later this year.
Alexandra writes:

“In 2009, the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications commissioned the development of two type families – PT Sans and PT Serif. The intention was to develop a set of fonts that could serve all official languages of the Russian Federation and make them publicly available. Russian territory is inhabited by many peoples using about 200 languages: around 50 of them have official status. On one hand, the project is an example of collaboration between linguists and type designers, on the other hand, it’s an example of proper attitude of government to type design. PT Sans was released at the end of December 2009 and is already widely used within and outside of Russia. PT Serif will be released later this year.”

These are well hinted TrueType fonts, designed for screen, and are very freely licensed. Highly recommended for text at small sizes.

In addition to the TTF package, there’s also a package for instant web gratification, containing uncompressed EOT “Lite” files and WOFF files. (Hey, ParaType, ain’t ya heard of EOTFAST?)

[Caution: FOUT Alert] Because of the extensive language support, there are a lot of glyphs and so the files are relatively large. If your site is in English, you might want to subset down to more manageable sizes. The Font Squirrel @Font-Face Generator can be of help with that. Also – just a tip – the TTF files in the package are strangely named – preview them to find out which font is the regular, which the bold, the italic, etc….

Here are images of what PT Sans looks like:

Can’t wait to see the serif font later this year.

Note: A quick search reveals that all the members of the PT Sans family are available individually from free font service Kernest and Font Squirrel, too.

In a comment on this post, Richard Rutter – who’s done such terrific work on web typography, reports that PT Sans (in subsets for quicker download) is featured at Fontdeck, as well.

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