*Simplified Chinese Font*

SULL1VAN's picture


I'm looking for two different 'Simplified Chinese web fonts', for use on a new Chinese version of an english fashion site.

1. A Title/display font – Similar to 'modern' or 'bodoni' (if this is even possible, as i guess you don't have Chinese characters with serifs)
2. A Body copy Font – Similar to 'Gill Sans' or other classic san serifs, with a set of different weights.

So if anyone has any advice or pointers on selecting a chinese font (technical or aesthetic) that would be great.


riccard0's picture

For a classic look you will need to look for Ming or Song typefaces.
Sans serifs are referred as Gothic.

riccard0's picture

Also, if you browse through the threads in which Ken Lunde (CJKV Type Development at Adobe) participated, you can find a good deal of information on the subject: http://typophile.com/user/14653/track

SULL1VAN's picture

Thanks Riccardo (and ken lunde) for the links and tips, very helpful.

I think we're going for 'SimHei' for body copy as it seems to be the most widely used chinese web font.

and for Heads/titles a 'song' variant, using monotype's font subsetting system to keep the file size down.

ahyangyi's picture

SimHei doesn't have a bold version. Take care of that.

Windows Vista/7 contains "Microsoft Yahei" which is designed and hinted for screen display. It also contains a bold variant.
MacOS X has Hiragino Sans GB W3/W7 and HeiTi SC [Light].

SULL1VAN's picture

So we have now chosen our (body copy) simplified chinese web font... 'Hei'.

But I was wondering what the family name is for 'hei' in chinese characters? as we imagine the chinese world would use chinese characters in the css? or maybe 'hei' would be OK and we don't need to specify in chinese characters.

Also any suggestions on a professional version of Hei for all our printed material and graphics etc.?

Thanks again for all your generous replies!

SULL1VAN's picture

Hi Again – After half a year we are now ready to start coding/testing the new site with 'Hei' as our system font but this is what the web developers have coded in for 'hei':

"Microsoft YaHei","微软雅黑", Arial, "Verdana", sans-serif, STXihei,"华文细黑

I feel this hierarchy/font stack could be improved? reasons being:

– Firstly, I don't have either of these 'hei' versions on my mac. So I think we should consider that...

– Secondly, I imagine there are better versions of 'Hei' than 'microsoft yahei' that should be higher on the list.

Any thoughts here?


ahyangyi's picture

For fonts on MacOS X:

STXihei literally means "ST Hei Light". Do you have any other font named like "STHeiti"? Anyway, I heard STXihei is the standard font in Windows Phone, so it might need to be there.
Perhaps you can consider giving Hiragino Sans GB a go? It should be in any MacOS X installation, I think.

For fonts on Windows:

You can try SimHei/黑体. You can even try SimYou/幼圆 if you dare to use a rounded sans-serif here...
However, I think Microsoft Yahei is already the best you can get for Windows. And to be fair, it's manually hinted to details, and looks quite good in Windows with ClearType on.

Tom Gewecke's picture

@ Sullivan I think STXihei is always included with OS X. You must have it. See


Michel Boyer's picture

To see what fonts are installed, I used Apple's ftxinstalledfonts command (from the font tools). Here is a trace of execution on OS X 10.7.5 in a terminal window:

% ftxinstalledfonts -f -l | grep -i hei
1	LiHei Pro	/Library/Fonts/儷黑 Pro.ttf
272	Heiti TC Light	/System/Library/Fonts/STHeiti Light.ttc
273	Heiti SC Light	/System/Library/Fonts/STHeiti Light.ttc
553	STHeiti	/Library/Fonts/华文黑体.ttf
557	Hei Regular	/Library/Fonts/Hei.ttf
611	SimHei	/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/SimHei.ttf
679	STXihei	/Library/Fonts/华文细黑.ttf
788	Heiti TC Medium	/System/Library/Fonts/STHeiti Medium.ttc
789	Heiti SC Medium	/System/Library/Fonts/STHeiti Medium.ttc

Remark: the folder /Library/Fonts/Microsoft contains fonts from Microsoft Office and I think all fonts from Microsoft Office go there.

On 10.6.8 I get STXihei in system fonts...

STXihei	/System/Library/Fonts/华文细黑.ttf
Michel Boyer's picture

Here is some other information that I get, this time, with the otfinfo command (that comes with MacTeX). I ran this on 10.6.8

563 % otfinfo -i 华文细黑.ttf
Family:              STHeiti
Subfamily:           Light
Full name:           STXihei
PostScript name:     STXihei
Version:             6.1d2e1
Unique ID:           STXihei; 6.1d2e1; 2008-11-26
Trademark:           STXihei and SinoType are trademarks of Changzhou SinoType Technology Co., Ltd.
Copyright:           Copyright (c) 2002, Changzhou SinoType Technology Co., Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Vendor ID:           SINO

So, the PostScript name is STXihei, but the Family name is STHeiti.

Now, if I use TextEdit, STXihei does not show up and if I choose STHeiti Light and save as pdf, the pdf file contains the font STXihei.

Tom Gewecke's picture

@Michel Nice catch! In FontBook and other Apple font panel interfaces, STXihei is indeed given the name STHeiti Light, which makes it hard to see that it is actually present.

SULL1VAN's picture

Thanks everyone! this has really helped the design.

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