Source Han Serif is the second Pan-CJK typeface family from Adobe Type, and the serif counterpart to Source Han Sans, both of which we released in response to a need for a unified typeface design to serve the 1.5 billion people in East Asia.
Source Han Serif supports four different East Asian languages — Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean — and the 65,535 glyphs in each of its seven weights are designed to work together with a consistent design that emphasizes shared elements between the languages while honoring the diversity of each. Also included is a rich set of Western glyphs supporting the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts, which were derived from Source Serif.
The complete Source Han typeface series goes far beyond the reach of the average type “superfamily” and represents a huge collaborative undertaking between Adobe and Google, with participation from partner foundries Sandoll Communications in Korea, Iwata Corporation in Japan, and Changzhou SinoType in China. The fonts are available on Typekit, with additional deployment formats available as open source on GitHub.
The Source Han projects would not have been possible without our partnership with Google, which helped to initiate the project and provided direction, testing resources, and financial support. The Source Han fonts are integrated into Google’s Pan-Unicode font family, called Noto.
“The goal of the Google Noto font project — developing a high-quality, harmonized font family for all modern devices covering all languages — was extremely daunting in size and scope,” said Google’s Director of Internationalization Bob Jung. “The CJK languages alone are critical to over a billion users. Adobe, a pioneer in digital typography, was the perfect partner to help us bring beautiful CJK to Noto.”
“This is an important release for multilingual designers,” said Geumho Seok, CEO of Sandoll. “These fonts achieve the goal of ‘No More Tofu,’ meaning no empty glyphs when typesetting Unicode.”
Source Han Serif is optimized for screen display like its sibling, Source Han Sans, but has a completely different personality that could work well in more literary texts or for graceful, stylish headings. It also works beautifully in print. Syncing the fonts through Typekit will immediately enable you to work in multiple languages with the same typeface, and to use the fonts in any desktop application with a font selection menu.
Source Han Serif and Source Han Sans are available for use on the web and sync from Typekit’s free library, which means you don’t even need a paid Creative Cloud plan to use them. If you haven’t used Typekit before, all you need to get started is a free Adobe ID to log in. View the fonts on Typekit, and sign in to start syncing.
Creating Source Han Serif was an enormous collaborative effort, and we couldn’t have done it without the partner support that we had. In this short video, we summarize and reflect on the many, many months of work that each partner contributed to the project of creating a truly international typeface. Watch it here or on YouTube, and check out Google’s announcement too.
Dr. Ken Lunde, the Project Architect for the Source Han typeface families, did much of the heavy lifting, juggling nearly a half-million glyphs and their associated metadata and turning them into fully-functional Pan-CJK fonts.
Ryoko Nishizuka is Adobe’s Chief Type Designer in Tokyo, and led the design of the glyphs for ideographs, Japanese kana, and other Japanese characters in Source Han Serif. She did the same for Source Han Sans, and walked us through her design process in a 2014 interview shortly after its release.
Also from Adobe’s type team, Type Designer Frank Grießhammer designed the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic glyphs that are included with Source Han Serif — and which also exist as their own typeface, Source Serif, whose latest update was released in January of this year. Because the Latin glyph design was purposefully coordinated to support Source Han Serif, Frank consulted with Ryoko early on when beginning the design process for Source Serif.
The fastest way to start working with Source Han Serif on web or desktop is through Typekit. Additionally, the font files for Source Han Serif and Source Han Sans, along with their source files, are all available with an open source license on GitHub.