The updated free Merriweather is finally available from Font Squirrel

FestinaThe updated Merriweather Serif is available to download from Font Squirrel.

http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/merriweather

It hashas much improved screen rendering and support for Cyrillic; better Latin language support for Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Azerbaijani and many others that had been missing before. I am still missing IPA (Phonetics), many African languages, Pinyin and Vietnamese and a few others. I would also like to add Greek. I look forward to adding these.

I hope to have this version live with Google and Adobe Typekit soon.

The Github repo is here:

https://github.com/EbenSorkin/Merriweather

 

 

 

 

About Merriweather

Merriweather: a type family being developed by Eben Sorkin.
Image | This entry was posted in Announcement, Cyrillic, Font, Hinting, Rendering, Serif, TTFA, Update. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to The updated free Merriweather is finally available from Font Squirrel

  1. Thank you! Great news… Have updated my copies from GitHub and things look merry on my local Linux desktop. However, your blog seems to use an outdated copy of Merriweather Bold from Google Fonts unfortunately…

    Looking forward to something in https://github.com/EbenSorkin/Gelasio!😉

  2. Merriweather says:

    I agree – I should probably move from this form of hosting the web site so I can host my own fonts here. Hopefully soon Google will update – that will solve it. I have been chivying them to update for the last week.

    Gelasio is a funny case. It was originally made to be metrics compatible with Georgia but I am increasingly skeptical of the value of that ( it REALLY isn’t 1996 anymore – meaning screen have much higher rez ) and I may want to bring it more into line with the feeling and the metrics that inspired the design of Gelasio. If you disagree I would be interested in hearing why.

    • Gelasio has its own character and it is a beautiful font. It’s true that high-end mobile devices have insanely high display resolutions lately, but a free font shouldn’t target the high-end segment. I think most mobile devices still have resolutions of 160dpi or lower (the bulk of Android stuff) and then there’s the vast amount of laptops/netbooks with 1366×768 at 13″ or so (which translates to around 120 dpi) and PC monitors with 1920×1080 at 21″-24″ (thus well below 120 dpi). But I guess I’m preaching to the choir here, given the work you put into tuning Merriweather for low DPI screens.

      In regards to metric compatibility with the «Core Fonts for the Web» from Microsoft… It’s not 1996 any more, but those fonts are still in high demand, they top the charts of most downloads at SourceForge to this day: http://sourceforge.net/top . The problem with the core fonts is that their license doesn’t allow expanding the character set. So, there’s still the need for free equivalents to these damned fonts for the vast majority of Earth’s web citizens. Many have attempted to achieve this, among others: the GNU project (with the FreeFont project), Red Hat (with the Liberation project) and now Google (with its metric equivalents for the Chromebooks). For some of those fonts we now have high-quality free alternatives, especially for Arial, Courier New, Times New Roman. I am a faithful user of the Liberation 1.0x family from Ascender, payed for by Red Hat.

      But most of the others in the core fonts set do not have free high-quality metric equivalents yet. Among them, Georgia, Trebuchet MS and Verdana are so used (and abused) on the Internet and in digital documents, that it’s hard to live without them. I got rid of non-free fonts on my computers a few years ago and I cringe whenever I encounter documents that use these fonts, because of the inescapable layout problems. More so, many web sites abuse the high legibility of these fonts on digital screens and use Georgia and Verdana at insanely low sizes. Which forces the users of alternative fonts to zoom-in. Which usually breaks layout again…

      Unfortunately, with the exception of Gelasio, there are no quality replacements for the Georgia, Trebuchet MS and Verdana trio of core fonts, as far as I know. And Gelasio, for some reasons that escape my logic, is unfortunately little known and hard to get. I would be sad if Gelasio would lose metric compatibility with Georgia… I dream of using the Liberation fonts, Gelasio and others to build a set of compatibility rules for Android’s FreeType-based font rendering system in order to bring more character to the experience of surfing the web on their devices. For some reason, an Android system would render most sites with Droid fonts or Roboto and the results are much inferior to those from an iOS device, with all its beautiful fonts!

      As a side note, perhaps using the fonts hosted at Font Squirrel for this page would do better than using Google’s font system? I’m not into web-hosted fonts at all, just shooting in the dark…

  3. Merriweather says:

    About low rez screens – I agree that for 1000 or so reasons it is nice to be able to have a font that performs well at many different ppi-s. Even with an insanely high rez device it is common for fonts to scale & zoom or as you point out to be used at stupidly small sizes.

    I understand too the Libre part of your argument as well. As many Libre fonts as there are now there are arguably not enough to strike this particular feeling.

    What escapes me however is why metric equivalence matters per se. You don’t need that to support lower rez screens. You don’t need it to get that feeling. I built Gelasio that way because it was a requested feature but the reasoning seemed to boil down to exchangeability of one document layout to another. However in the time since Georgia was released we are increasingly less tethered to a) paper and b) a single layout.

    The main reason that Gelasio is not out yet is that it was made a bit too quickly and needs polishing. This question of if it makes sense to leave it metrics compatible is an important part of this question. My plan for it, like Merriweather is to make both the standard 4 weights as Libre and then to offer an ST version that would either be Libre too or like Merriweather be offered with a more conventional license. Rather than release a half baked version that will need a lot of updates it seems wiser to release something solid enough to build on.

    Georgia also has to kerning. That it works as well as it does without it is great, however especially for a font people would be asked to pay for it seems like a bad idea to leave kerning out. And if you add it you immediately break metric compatibility.

    There are design issues as well. Even a doubling from 96 to 192 pii makes the outrageously heavy bold that old fonts such as Georgia and Verdana use silly. Necessary in 1996 for sure – but I would argue – not now. Even C* fonts like Corbel don’t use this level of bold and they were made just a few years later.

    What do you think about these issues?

  4. The metric equivalence is important because of layout issues. If I get a document that uses Georgia and I don’t have a proper alias, it’s pagination, paragraph flow etc. are borked on my device. This used to be more of a problem with documents in Office suites, but lately I see it more in online office apps such as Google Docs. If you choose to drop this special quality of Gelasio, then I think there will be less reasons for some people, me included, to use it. I am thinking of the FontConfig crowd, that already have a rule to use Gelasio as a metric alias for Georgia: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/fontconfig/2013-September/004912.html

    In regards to the kerning, I’m not much into such subtleties, so please forgive my naivety, but I see that the Liberation 1.0x fonts have really aggressive kerning (comparable with the core fonts from Microsoft), while being metrically equivalent to Arial, Courier New and Times New Roman.

    A note about names and styles, I remember vaguely that you had to do some tricks to work around some issues with MS Office, but I have to ask, to be sure… Is this listing normal for the latest Merriweather?

    Merriweather:style=Regular
    Merriweather:style=Italic
    Merriweather:style=Bold
    Merriweather,Merriweather UltraBold:style=UltraBold Italic,Italic
    Merriweather,Merriweather Light:style=Light Italic,Italic
    Merriweather,Merriweather Bold:style=Bold Italic,Italic
    Merriweather UltraBold:style=UltraBold,Regular
    Merriweather Light:style=Light,Regular

    This means I see three fonts with FreeType/FontConfig: Merriweather, Merriweather Light and Merriweather UltraBold with the following styles:

    Merriweather: Light Italic, Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic, UltraBold Italic
    Merriweather Light: Light Italic, Light, Bold, Bold Italic
    Merriweather UltraBold: UltraBold Italic, UltraBold.

    Is this normal? Thanks!

  5. Merriweather says:

    As a type designer of fonts I have to confess that one hopes that the design of the font itself might be a reason to use it but…

    To your point – You have not really made a case for the value of avoiding changes in layout and pagination. I suspect that one could be made. Fonts that are metrically equivalent have been made a lot and not just in a Libre context. This suggest that it really could somehow matter a lot. Playing devils advocate it could also be that there are enough people whose personalities are excessively compulsive in positions of power that metric equivalence became a minor feature in font culture. e.g. It didn’t matter but it satisfied their cumpulsion. To try to throw moire light on this I had a chat with some other folks about this too and I didn’t get much from them either. The most that anyone could say was that users of existing/old office documents might benefit.

    I guess I will release it with metric equivalence as Gelasio and then revise it without equivalence with a new probably much more French name.

    The reason kerning matters is that Georgia does not have any. If I add kerning to Gelasio I break metric equivalence with Georgia. Note too that if the metrically equivalent fonts made for the Libration sequence have kerning that doesn’t match the fonts they are meant to pair with then they are making a definite mistake or error.

    Regarding the names tables and normalness: The new roman fonts have a well tested approach to name tables which allows for especially broad cross platform and cross application compatibility. In Adobe apps the list is unified. In MS office and Apple apps the classic four styles ( R, B, I, BI) group together but the other pairs, for instance light roman and light italic; take up additional new places in the font menu. The Apple implementation is worse than the MS one because it is less smart about the order the fonts are presented in.

    In terms of the Merriweather family the italics still need this model implemented so that they pair appropriately.

    I suspect that in Libre software there will be a variety of implementations. Because this approach to name table data is likely to be used by increasingly large numbers of fonts it will make sense for Libre software to begin to look for name table entries 16 & 17 in addition to the legacy tables they are probably are using now.

    I hope this is helpful.

  6. I thought I made a case for the value of avoiding changes in layout and pagination. I’ll try a bit harder… If I am to submit a paper of 100 pages to pass an exam and I use Gelasio as an alias for Georgia, in case of problems with the metric equivalence, my 100-page document will get re-paginated when opened in Windows or OS X and may end up only 98 pages long, causing me to fail the exam. Also, some of my soft-hyphens will fail to break lines the way I meant them to. And so on…

    Anyway, thank you for your wonderful work and all the explanations. I’ll patiently wait for the improved Gelasio!

    • Merriweather says:

      Thanks. I think students know that they can use fractions of point sizes and that they can alter line heights to solve the sort of pagination problem you are talking about but I will admit that it is fiddly and time consuming. Irrespective of this; as I said I will go ahead and post it once its most recent round of improvements is in.

      Is there anything missing from Georgia that you would like to see in Gelasio? I plan a slightly larger glyph set and more language support than I see in the version I have been referencing. I should go see what the version in Windows 10 is like as well.

      • dumol says:

        Well, of course they can use fractional point sizes and other tricks, theoretically speaking… In practice, even if aware of such issues, they may simply fail to take them into account.

        I’m glad to hear your plans on Georgia. Extending the language support is always welcome, but I confess I’m already content with the current coverage, so I don’t have anything to suggest in this regard. But there is something I especially like in Georgia and would like to see more in Gelasio: hinting. I only know one transitional serif libre font that rises to its standard: PT Serif.

      • Merriweather says:

        PT serif is very likely hinted by hand since the company that made it specializes in that service. This is a great way to go but I suspect Gelasio will employ TTFAutohint instead. TTFA is arguably a better solution since a) it will result in a smaller file size and b) it ties directly into FreeType and c) It produces results that are closer in feeling to the original much of the time. TTFA is also being improved all the time and so updates to the hinting can be added easily. The new Merriweather Roman uses TTFAutohint.

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks for the nice font!

    Downloaded it from Font Squirrel, and I just wanted to let you know that the family name of the Light font is “Merriweather Light” (not “Merriweather” like the others). No big issue, but, because of that, in font managers it appears in its own family, separated from the others. Sure it wasn’t intended this way.

    Also the version string of four of the fonts (Regular, Bold, Ultrabold, Light) seems to be messed up. There is something like autohint information in the version string.

    Cheers

    • Merriweather says:

      Hi Tom!

      I should probably do a post that addresses this because there was a lot of change technically in the new version but contrary to what you had guessed it was deliberate. In order to achieve maximum compatibility with all the programs that people might want to use Merriweather in I decided to use a method that keeps all the fonts in one family from programs like Adobe CC that look at name tables 16 & 17 and to let programs like Microsoft Office keep only the classic four style ( regular, bold, italic and bold italic ) together. The other styles are set as pairs with for instance light and light italic appearing as pairs. It is irritating to have to do this but the reality is that apps and OS’ don’t all play by the same rules. I feel strongly that I should do my best not to play favorites. I also think that OS’ and apps should get their act together an support a single standard.

      About the version string – TTFAutohint adds that information to let you know what settings were used to hint the font. There is a setting that would avoid that result. I’ll think about if it is more useful to leave the regular string intact or to have the hinting info. My sense had been that nobody looks at that string. How do you normally use it?

  8. Tom says:

    Hi,

    Hmm. Not sure if we are seeing the same thing. (Or if I understand correctly…)

    > The other styles are set as pairs with for instance light and light italic appearing as pairs.

    Not both Light (Light & Light Italic) are in a separate family, it’s only the Light. Light Italic is in the “normal” family.

    > all the fonts in one family from programs like Adobe CC

    I can’t speak for CC, but in CS6 (on OS X 10.10.2) the result of your grouping strategy is like this:

    In the font menu I have…

    * Merriweather (TT) with the styles: Regular, Bold
    * Merriweather (OTF) with the styles: Light Italic, Italic, Bold Italic, Heavy Italic
    * Merriweather Light [only this style]
    * Merriweather UltraBold [only this style]

    Here are a couple of screenshots.

    BTW, it’s also very weird that all the Italics are OTF, the others are TTF. Is this intended, too?!

    > I’ll think about if it is more useful to leave the regular string intact or to have the hinting info. My sense had been that nobody looks at that string. How do you normally use it?

    Well, the string is plain visible in OS X’s Font Book (which is the system’s default font manager, nothing sophisticated). See also screnshots.
    I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to paste the hinting info into the version string. IMO that’s not what the version info is for. As I saw it my first thought was that the fonts are somehow corrupted, and I redownloaded and reinstalled them.

    Can’t you could put this kind of info into the comment field?

    Tom

  9. Tom says:

    PS:

    I just realized that the very messy font grouping in Adobe is not only the result of the issue with the isolated Light family but also due to the different file types (otf/ttf): while OS X is happily mixing otf/ttf in one family, Adobe seems to be a bit racist here and allows only fonts of one type to form a family.

    • Merriweather says:

      There is also the issue that the italics for the roman have not been re-issued yet. When they are everything will match. Because the most recent editions are such an improvement on the old ones I hope that everyone will update. I am sorry that the romans and italics didn’t come out at once.

  10. Tom says:

    OK. For the time being, as a temporary solution, I just saved the OTFs as TTF (and adjusted the family names of Light and UltraBold) and they seem to be grouped correctly now in all apps on my system, including Adobe CS6.

    I hope this ‘crude conversion’ won’t have any secondary effects😉

  11. Tom says:

    Initially I considered using them as webfonts for my blog but I think the Regular is a bit to heavy for my taste. Not sure. And maybe a tad too much of ‘Renaissance Warmth’. Still have to try the Sans.

    Unfortunately in my professional life I mostly write technical documentation, and for that it’s not the most adequate font, I think. But otherwise I love font diversity and I’ll try them for some miscellaneous printed stuff soon.

  12. andersju says:

    New version looks great – thanks for your work! Do you have any news on when it will be available on Google Fonts? And, in the meantime, what’s a good way to generate web font versions? Font Squirrel has a web font generator, but I’m not sure what would give the best results (Basic, Optimal, Expert? If Expert: What type of hinting? “Keep existing”, TTFAutohint, ..? And so on.)

    • Merriweather says:

      I would recommend using expert if you understand what the settings mean. Otherwise use Optimal. If you do use expert I would choose keep existing hinting because the font squirrel fonts have been hinted with TTFA already.

  13. petrfaitl says:

    Hi Eben,

    I’m a bit puzzled about the availability of subsets on different hosting platforms and I hope you can shed some light on it.

    I’m using Merriweather hosted through google fonts and have just spotted some missing characters in Czech (namely čďňů and ČĎŤ) in regular versions, italics are all there. Trying to load latin-ext doesn’t seem to have any impact.

    Yet when I look at Font Squirel, all characters render perfectly without substitutions.

    Is there any solution, without hosting the font on my own page and dealing with child themes, etc?

    Many thanks.

    • Merriweather says:

      What you say is 100% accurate. I would like to tell you that I am confident that Google will update soon but I can’t get a date out of them. I would recommend self hosting the Font Squirrel versions. They render MUCH better. As soon as possible I will be adding Merriweather to other font services as well.

      • petrfaitl says:

        Thanks for your quick reply. I have managed to get it to work with self hosted fonts.

        However, I cannot help to think that the google hosted font is a bit clearer. It would appear that at the same weight the font is a bit thinner, and with a looser kerning. I have also found some glyphs to have different height proportion, such as in “Wh”, where fontsquirel shows ‘h’ taller than ‘W’, and the top serif of ‘h’ slightly crashing into W. This becomes a bit unsightly on my landing page with “Where” and “When” in large letters.

        Well, long story short, I’ll keep a keen eye for as and when Google update their version, if it’s worth going back.

  14. Merriweather says:

    What web site do you use them on? I would love to see your use.

    • petrfaitl says:

      Currently under construction, but you can see the development page here. http://devel.csclubtauranga.nz/en/

      All the h1…h6 tags are in Merriweather now in self hosted solution. I have tweaked the spacing option on font squirrel and played with hinting options.

      Either I’m a perfectionist or by the virtue of trying to resolve the problem, I might have over-focussed on the minute issues of font rendering…

      PS: sorry for the late reply, been getting distracted by my kids.

    • Brian Drum says:

      Hi Eben,

      Thanks for the new release. I’ll be updating from WebInk to self-hosted for my personal website, http://briandrum.net/archive/2015/06/.

  15. Hi, thank you for cyrillic localisations!

    How I can use your font at my webserver font and change Merryweather from Google Fonts (with no cyrillic) to new Merryweather with cyrillic support?

    Good job, thank you!

  16. Hi Eben, I have found a strange bug with Merriweather that seems to have appeared in the recent update. It is specific to typing the characters ‘fi’ at the beginning of a work in Book 300. This combination makes the ‘f’ disappear. I noticed this as my site, https://plainenglishfinance.co.uk uses the word finance a fair amount in the body copy, and all instances are rendering ‘inance’. (I have fixed my live site by switching fonts for now). You can replicate this easily on Typecast.

    My guess is that this is a Google issue, not you but thought I would share.

    Thanks for an amazing font and look forward to be able to use it again.

  17. Fotowentura says:

    Hi there,
    Congrats on Merriweather, great font. I’ve been looking for a font that would look great on screen in a medium grey color (around #808080) on white background and I think Merriweather fits in perfectly. I read on Google that there’s recently been an update to the font. My queastion is – do you know if the font available on free wordpress.com sites is the updated one? I can’t seem to be able to get that info anywhere on WordPress sites.
    Regards,
    Daniel

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