Government Fonts for Free

sevag's picture

The Government of the Republic of Armenia allows it's official fonts to be used for commercial purposes by anyone (except of selling them directly). The fonts are GHEA Mariam and GHEA Grapalat. Both fonts were designed by Edik Gabuzyan – corrections were made to GHEA Mariam's Latin, Cyrillic and Greek types by Robert Slimbach. Download them from here.

Any other government as generous as the Armenian? What are your opinions on commercial use of these kind of works?

quadibloc's picture

The governments of India and Pakistan, for example, have developed a number of free fonts. In the case of India, it's because the country has a number of different scripts, many of which, due to the country's relative poverty, are not economically important enough to encourage software developers to commission fonts for them. In the case of Pakistan, it's because Urdu is typically written in a particular style of the Arabic script, Nasta'liq, that poses a technical challenge not forced upon designers in the Naskh style. (Naskh, properly done, doesn't have a fixed baseline like Latin either, but since it is horizontal most of the time instead of diagonal, it can be debased by fudging away the occasions when the baseline should shift upwards within a word.)

Note that the foregoing is a drastic oversimplification of topics that, if one is interested, have been discussed at length in threads here from which I learned of these facts.

When it comes to Armenian fonts, what annoys me is that there are plenty of free Armenian fonts both Unicode and ArmSCII, but there doesn't seem to be a single free Bolorgir font in Unicode! Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised those who favor a conservative typeface style are also conservative in their coding choices.

Si_Daniels's picture

>The Government of the Republic of Armenia allows it's official fonts to be used for commercial purposes by anyone (except of selling them directly).

As far as I can see there's no license and no readme associated with this package. As such I wouldn't expect any professional entity would be willing to build dependencies on these fonts. Where's the license?

quadibloc's picture

Couldn't find the license on that site. But I found this and even though the alphabet shown in black was Armenian (the Latin letters in orange seem to be in a different face) I immediately recognized the typeface as one I'd seen before (i.e. in an ICL 1900 manual)... it's Monotype Grotesque.

Well, maybe it's actually trying to be Arial or even Akzidenz Grotesk - as my powers of font recognition are, I must admit, limited compared to those of the experts.

(I'm now starting to think that although I identify the typeface very strongly with Britain, it indeed is Akzidenz Grotesk; and I've just learned that not only was that face known as "Standard" in the U.S., but that it was known as "Basic Commercial" in Britain.)

sevag's picture

There isn't a license, the government website only mentions about the acquisition of the fonts. On facebook Mr. Gabuzyan confirmed that the fonts are available for download by anyone. The only logical restriction which he mentions about is that ‘neither the appearance of the characters nor the copyright data can be changed’. However one website which distributes these and other two fonts mentions that the fonts can be used for non-profit purposes only.

PabloImpallari's picture

AFAIK The Russian government has done something quite similar with PT Sans and PT serif, so both fonts can include all the minority languages of the Russian Federation (instead of including 'only' the most popular ones, as most commercial fonts do).

altsan's picture

Pigiarniq (provided by the government of Nunavut, Canada)

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