What is Quivira?
Quivira is a free Unicode font in the OpenType format which is supported by every usual office program or printer. Unicode font means, it contains more than the standard characters for some western European languages.
Seen from the typographic point of view, Quivira is a proportional serif font like e.g. the more well-known Times New Roman and Garamond. Thus it is suitable for writing well readable texts.
New characters are continously added to Quivira; so it makes sense to look for new versions from time to time.
The current version 4.0 contains 10,662 characters (319 of which are new since version 3.8).
Version 4.0 contains some more changes than usual, besides the added new characters.
- From now on, Quivira is provided as an OpenType font instead of TrueType. There should be no obvious changes when you use Quivira¹, but the OpenType format provides more possibilities and is needed for the new features (which were not possible in a TrueType font).
- Combining Diacritical Marks are now placed correctly on many base letters in the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic script and in the IPA.
- In the four Philippine scripts Tagalog, Hanunoo, Buhit and Tagbanwa the combinations of base consonants and vowel sign now all work correctly.
- Several fixes and improvements on existing characters (thanks to Rainer Seitel for pointing them out).
- Currency Symbols: 1 new character (Turkish Lira Sign)
- CJK Symbols and Punctuation: 8 new characters
- Enclosed CJK Letters and Months: 1 new character (Korean Standard Symbol)
- Private Use Area: Alphanumeric Supplement: 38 new characters
- Private Use Area: Partially Enclosed Alphanumerics-A and -B: 261 new characters (some of them for elliptical international vehicle registration codes, proposed by Daniel Buncic)
- Private Use Area: Control Pictures Supplement: 5 new characters
- Specials: 3 new characters
- Miscellanous Symbols and Pictographs: 2 new characters (thumbs up and thumbs down)
See the characters page for a full overview of supported ranges and characters.
All working combinations from base letters and combining marks are shown in QuiviraCombining.pdf.
Earlier versions are listed in the version history.
¹ On some systems it may be necessary to delete the old .ttf file before you can install the new .otf file. In theory the system should realise that it is the same font, but the changed filename may confuse some.
The aim of this project is a large Unicode font which still looks aesthetically pleasing. Supported scripts (like e.g. Latin, Greek and Cyrillic) shall be supported completely, so Quivira can be used for every language using these scripts.
Of course missing characters can be added from other fonts (this is what many rendering programs do automatically). This is clearly better than showing only a replacement character, but it never looks really good, because the other font certainly uses different character widths, stroke thicknesses and letter and line heights. This is where the large Unicode fonts step in: They help to avoid inappropriate glyphs in multilingual documents.
Anyhow, Quivira will never provide every character defined in the Unicode standard. This would be technically impossible, because a font is limited to 65,536 characters, while Unicode already defines more than 100,000.¹ But due to my restricted amount of free time I will probably never reach this limit anyway.
The main focus of Quivira lies on the most common alphabets (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic and others), additional symbols that can be used in conjunction with them (especially mathematical symbols) and elder scripts still used by scholars (e.g. runes, Gothic, ancient Greek and others). Future additions may be other scripts like e.g. Gə‘əz or Canadian aboriginal syllabics. In contrast, Han ideographs are currently not scheduled for inclusion.² (Other East Asian scripts like Hiragana and Katakana are possible, but have low priority at the moment.)
¹ One possible solution for this problem is the way James Kass solved it: He provided three fonts (Code2000, Code2001 and Code2002) with a common design, each of which covers a different part of the Unicode standard.
² These ideographs are used for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. Because of their huge number (more than 70,000) their inclusion would mean a much greater effort than all other characters together. Additionally, they can be replaced by other fonts quite well, because their design significantly differs from all other scripts anyway. However, in future versions Quivira may contain a subset of these, like e.g. the most important ones taught at schools in Asia.