Old Standard Font Family

Old Standard Font Family

Old Standard was intended as a multilingual font family suitable for biblical, classical and medieval studies as well as for general-purpose typesetting in languages which use Greek or Cyrillic script. The font is currently available in three shapes: regular, italic and bold. Old Standard is still far from being finished, and yet it already covers a wide range of Latin, Greek and Cyrillic characters, as the image below can demonstrate. Beginning from version 2.0 it also supports early Cyrillic letters and signs (including those added in Unicode 5.1) and thus can be used for texts containing fragments in Old Slavonic and Church Slavonic languages.

In addition to its support for various special characters, Old Standard also implements many advanced rendering features, implemented by the means of two rendering technologies: OpenType and Graphite. Both Open Type and Graphite allow to resolve many tasks, especially important for typesetting texts in "exotic" languages, such as printing accented combinations which are not available in the Unicode standard as precomposed characters. At the present time there are already many applications for various platforms. which can take advantage of OpenType features. Graphite is much less popular, but its support would be very actual for OpenOffice.org (and LibreOffice) users. So one of the intended tasks of the Old Standard font family is to attract the attention of philologists to "smart" rendering technologies by demonstrating how useful they can be for their purposes.

Origin and Design

Old Standard reproduces a specific type of Modern (classicist) style of serif typefaces, very commonly used in various editions of the late 19th and early 20th century, but almost completely abandoned later. However, this lettertype still has at least two advantages:

  • it can be considered a good choice for typesetting scientific papers, especially on social and humanitarian sciences, as its specific features are closely associated in the people's eyes with old books they learned on;

  • the most beautiful examples of Greek and Cyrillic lettertypes were all based on the classicist style, so that for those scripts "Modern" fonts are much more appropriate than any contemporary (e. g. Times-based) designs.

The name "Old Standard" was selected as opposed to the "Obyknovennaya Novaya" ("New Standard") typeface, widely used in the Soviet typography, which represents another, slightly different type of the same Modern style. The digital version of this font is now available from Paratype. Of course this name doesn't look very original, but it seems to be a good choice for a revival of the most common lettertype of the early 20th century.

Note on available formats

The Old Standard font family is currently available in several formats:

  • TrueType fonts, or, more precisely, OpenType fonts with TrueType outlines;

  • OpenType fonts with PostScript outlines (also called OpenType-CFF);

  • WOFF fonts for embedding into web pages.

There are many differences between TrueType and OpenType-CFF formats, but their functionality is nearly the same from the user's point of view. In particular it should be noted that both versions of the Old Standard fonts include the same set of advanced OpenType features. As for Graphite tables, they are currently available only in TrueType fonts, but this advantage makes no difference for most applications.

Previously I used to recommended installing TrueType versions, since the support for this format was generally better both on Windows and *nix platforms. However since then most of the problems with OpenType-CFF fonts have been fixed by software developers (in particular it is now possible to use them in the Linux versions of OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice), and so preferring one of the two formats is now essentially a matter of taste. Note that it is possible to install both TrueType and OpenType-CFF versions of the Old Standard family alongside, as they follow different naming conventions (a "TT" suffix is appended to the font name and family name fields in TrueType fonts).

WOFF is a relatively new format, developed for use in web pages. Basically a WOFF file is an OpenType font compressed for size reduction. Like other OpenType fonts, it may be either TrueType or PostScript flavored. Note that the WOFF files I distribute for the Old Standard font family have TrueType contours, but no "TT" suffix in their font names. Of course you may want to download these font files only if you are engaged into web design.

It is worth pointing out that there is no PostScript Type 1 version available. This is because Type 1 is an old 8-bit format, which doesn't support Unicode. Yes, modern rendering engines usually can assign Unicode codepoints to glyphs from a Type 1 font basing on their PostScript names, but this doesn't work very well for Greek, and especially for Private Use Area. That's why releasing a Type 1 version of Old Standard would make no sense, as this would contradict to its basic scope as a multilingual font. On the other hand, I can hardly imagine such a situation where you would prefer a Type 1 font, although there is a good quality TTF version available. The only exception is TeX, where Type 1 font are really preferred. I have not adapted Old Standard to the TeX typesetting system yet, but if you would like to do this for your purposes, then I would recommend you using the excellent LCDF Typetools package by Eddie Kohler, which contains all utilities necessary for converting OpenType-CFF fonts to Type 1 and generating all additional files needed for TeX.

Finally, you also can download the FontForge sources of the Old Standard font family. Of course this package may be useful for you only if you have the FontForge font editor, as well as some other font editing utilities, and know how to use them.

Terms of Use

Old Standard is freely available and may be used by anyone at no cost. It is released under the SIL Open Font License, a free and open source license that permits modification and redistribution.

To download Old Standard, go to my font download page, where all download links are placed. Except the font files themselves, there is a PDF manual available, where you can find detailed instructions on how to install the fonts and use them effectively.

Old Standard Font Family Old Standard was intended as a multilingual font family suitable for biblical, classical and medieval studies as well as for general-purpose typesetting in languages which use Greek or Cyrillic script. The font is currently available in three shapes: regular, italic and bold ...» more Dogmeat

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