If you’ve ever digitally communicated with someone in another language and you’ve never heard the term “tofu,” you’ve almost certainly experienced what it describes. “Tofu” is the nickname given to the square blocks that appear in text in place of specific characters that your language doesn’t recognize. Now, with the release of ‘Noto,’ Google and Monotype have set out to eliminate “tofu” from getting in the way: simultaneously unifying a multitude of different typesets and encouraging global communication.
‘Noto’, short for “no tofu,” is the result of five years worth of work on the part of its creators to build a universal typeface that can be translated into over 800 languages, including those that are lesser-used or “dead.” On top of the legibility of the typeface, they also set out to make sure that it was aesthetically pleasing and acceptable for each culture. For example, seeking critique and approval from Buddhist monks for the Tibetan version of the design. After such significant research, the resulting product is clean and crisp and highly accessible.
More information, including download instructions here.