Deeply anal-retentive font geek question about IPA fonts.
December 18, 2008 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Roman IPA fonts and the non-roman characters who love them.

I'm looking for compatible fonts — a single family, or fonts from different families that look nice together — that do all of the following:
  • Include a wide range of IPA and other Unicode Latin characters, at least in serifed roman and ideally in italic, bold and bold italic too.
  • Include monospace characters, bold monospace characters, and slanted monospace characters, at least for the plain ASCII character set.
  • Include small caps, at least for the plain ASCII character set.
Why, you ask? I'm a linguistics student (making the IPA and oddball Latin characters a necessity), I sometimes write software documentation (where I like to use monospaced fonts for things like user input and output) and I sometimes write about topics like metaphor and frame semantics (where small caps are conventionally used for names of metaphors or of frames).

At the moment, I'm doing all three — writing documentation for a bit of linguistics software having to do with frame semantics. We're self-publishing the result, and it would be really nice if it came out looking reasonably-professional.

Here's the fonts I've looked at: SIL's Charis and Doulos don't have monospaced characters or small caps. TITUS Cyberbit doesn't have anything but plain roman serifed characters. Computer Modern Roman doesn't have bold and bold italic monospaced characters, or bold italic serifed characters. Deja Vu doesn't have small caps.

(If all else fails, I will just use Deja Vu for everything and fake the small caps by shrinking down regular capital letters. But first, I want to satisfy my anal-retentive streak by finding out what it would take to do things The Right Way. We use XeTeX, so either TeX fonts or Type 1/TrueType/OpenType fonts will work. Professional fonts are probably not in our budget, but let me know if there's one or a set that'll do this anyway — I'm still curious what the real solution would look like.)
posted by nebulawindphone to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why not use one of the professional packages, like Luc(as) DeGroot's Thesis/TheSans/TheSerif? I understand they're not in budget, but for all you're asking, you'll need to expect that someone spent a lot of time on the type - and DeGroot certainly spent years on this family.

There are a few others that may have all the features you need. The hard thing to find is not the language or character support but the monospaced roman characters - that's not usually part of a text family, even a really rich one.

And there's always mixing 2 families that are significantly different - Garamond Premiere Pro is free with many Adobe products and is fantastically rich, legible and even includes optical sizes (and it's beautiful, too); you could mix that with a fixed-width sans.
posted by luriete at 6:29 PM on December 18, 2008

It'll unfortunately cost you (font designers have to eat too), but you absolutely can't go wrong with Typotheque's Fedra.

I linked to the IPA font, but see the "related fonts" box on the right of that page for the whole family, which included a serif, a sans (actually several versions of each, and both have small caps), and a monospaced font. There is also a Greek and an Arabic version.
posted by Utilitaritron at 8:16 AM on December 20, 2008

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