A generic FAQ for all of our Roman fonts can be found here: Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek Fonts – FAQ. FAQ’s specific to Gentium Plus and Gentium Basic are found below.
What characters are included with this release?
See Character Set Support for the full listing.
How do you pronounce Gentium?
The preferred pronunciation is with a soft G as in ‘general’, not a hard one as in ‘gold’: JEN-tee-oom.
What is GentiumAlt? (only in the original Gentium package)
It is a version of the font with redesigned diacritics (flatter ones) to make it more suitable for use with stacking diacritics, and for languages such as Vietnamese. The Greek glyphs also use the Porsonic (single-curve) design for the circumflex. Since the original Gentium fonts do not include any ‘smart’ rendering routines, there is no easy way to access these alternate diacritic shapes from within the original Gentium font. The encoding of the fonts are the same, so the same text can be viewed with either one. There is also no problem with having both font families installed at the same time.
Where is the ‘fi’ ligature?
In Gentium-Regular there is really no need for a ligature, and because of the design of the f and i, a ligature would tend to look out of place. But if you look in Gentium-Italic, you’ll see ‘fi’ and ‘ffi’ ligatures. They still have a separate dot on the ‘i’, but are connected.
How do I type the Greek letters?
You need a Unicode-compatible keyboarding system, which is not included in the distribution package. Both Windows and the Mac OS have basic (modern) Greek keyboards built into the OS. See Keyboarding Resources. A Unicode polytonic Greek Keyman keyboard can be found here.
How are the Gentium Plus fonts different from Gentium?
This font is based on the original Gentium design, but with an expanded character and glyph repertoire. It currently comes with regular and italic faces. It comes with near-complete support for Latin, Cyrillic and Greek. It also contains ‘smart font’ support for OpenType and Graphite technologies. This allows for correct diacritic placement over all base characters, whether they are tall, short, wide, narrow, with or without descenders. It also provides for a large variety of alternates glyphs. These are described on the Smart Font Features page.
Is there an Alt version of the Basic fonts?
No, although you may notice that capitals and some tall lowercase letters do use ‘low-profile’ versions. Gentium Plus also includes OpenType and Graphite features to turn low-profile diacritics on and off.
Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic
How are the Basic fonts (Gentium Basic, Gentium Book Basic) different from Gentium?
These font families are based on the original Gentium design, but with additional weights. Both families come with a complete regular, bold, italic and bold italic set of fonts. The supported character set, however, is much smaller than for the main Gentium fonts. These ‘Basic’ fonts support only the Basic Latin and Latin-1 Supplement Unicode ranges, plus a selection of the more commonly used extended Latin characters, with miscellaneous diacritical marks, symbols and punctuation. In particular, these fonts do not support full extended Latin IPA, complete support for Central European languages, Greek and Cyrillic.
What is the Book weight?
It is a complete second font family that is slightly heavier overall, and more useful for some purposes. The main Gentium family will eventually have a complete matching Book weight, along with matching italics.
Will you be accepting requests for additions to the Basic character set?
No. We are now focusing our development efforts on the main Gentium Plus fonts, which already provide richer character set support.
Is there an Alt version of the Basic fonts?
No, although you may notice that capitals and some tall lowercase letters do use ‘low-profile’ versions.
What are your future plans for Gentium Plus?
Our next major effort is completing bold and bold italic weights of Gentium Plus alongside a new Gentium Book Plus family. These new weights are currently available for Gentium Basic/Gentium Book Basic.
Do you plan to include other typographic enhancements (old style figures, etc.)?
Those would be nice, wouldn’t they? From a design point of view, it would be great to have these refinements, and we haven’t ruled them out. But there are other needs that are much higher priority (such as bold). If you think you could contribute some of your time and effort to these enhancements, see the FONTLOG.txt file for information on becoming a contributor.
Do you plan to add Sans-serif font to go with Gentium?
There is a definite need for a sans-serif font that shares some of Gentium’s strengths — high readability, economy of space, etc. It would also be great if that font also harmonized well with Gentium. We don’t currently have any plans for a companion face, although one of our other projects – Andika – may be useful. Andika is a sans-serif font designed specifically for use in literacy programs around the world, and is available from our web site.
Will you be extending Gentium to cover other scripts, and Hebrew in particular?
It is very unlikely that we would do this, as there are so many pressing needs in Latin, Greek and Cyrillic scripts.
Will there be a Type 1 version? What about OpenType?
Gentium Plus includes OpenType and Graphite support. We do not plan to produce Type 1 versions at this time, but please write us if this is important (and tell us why). We already provide the PostScript bézier curves in the ‘designsource’ files in the developer release.
- There is no ligature substitution for U+0344 COMBINING GREEK DIALYTIKA TONOS from U+0308 COMBINING DIAERESIS followed by U+0301 COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT, but U+0344 can be obtained by entering the USV directly.
- Greek support for NFD text is provided in Graphite by converting to NFC form. It has not had a lot of testing.
- There is some inconsistency in the use of low-profile diacritics between OpenType and Graphite and depending on whether you are using NFC or NFD data.
- U+1FBD GREEK KORONIS acts as a combining mark rather than as a spacing character (Graphite-only)
- The glyphs for U+1ECB LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH DOT BELOW and U+1E2D LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH TILDE BELOW use low profile forms of the lower case i, so they look slightly wrong. (They look identical to the low profile variants.)
We know of the following problems. Please report any other problems you encounter.
- logicalnot (U+00AC) appears distorted in Bold Italic and Book Italic.
- Opening the fonts with FontLab 5.0.x, then closing them, crashes FontLab. We are working to get this bug fixed in the next version of FontLab. A workaround is to open the font, save as a .vfb file, close (which still causes a crash). Then restart FontLab and open the .vfb file.
- They are not completely metric-compatible with the full Gentium family (some glyphs may have different widths, although changes have been minimal)
- There is no kerning
- There are no “Alt” versions, or ones with low-profile diacritics
- The default stacking style for some diacritic combinations does not match Vietnamese-style conventions (although this is available through a OpenType/Graphite feature)
- No support for TypeTuner.