'Oxygen' Font - NEWTYPOGRAPHY /

Posted by | December 21, 2011 | Oxygen Font | 46 Comments

‘Oxygen Font’ is a project to design a desktop/gui font for integrated use with the KDE desktop. The design is based on interpolations between ‘Muli’ and ‘FontOne’ that have been further shaped to reach a clear, legible font to use within the KDE gui.

The basic concept for ‘Oxygen Font’ was to design a clear, legible, sans serif, that would be rendered with Freetype on Linux-based devices. The idea was to not quite follow a ‘purist’ line of sans serif typeface formulae, but to allow some juxtapositioning of font forms to give familiarity but also a sense of newness. A version of the font is also under development that is aimed to be a branding typeface for the desktop.



  • Paulo Brabo says:

    Wow, that’s classy. I want to go bed with that “a”.

  • afiestas says:

    Awesome ! Oxygen font is really a missing link between all our oxygen experience.

    Are you planning to create a Monospace version ? I spend the whole day in coding and a good Monospace font is much needed (Ubuntu is close, Android is quite good but it doesn’t have bold etc).

    Oh and before I forget, if we meet beer is on me!

    • vernon adams says:

      Sure :) I’m interested to hear what makes a good monospace font, and what doesn’t. -v

      • Mike Thorn says:

        The most important part of a good programming font is making sure that each character is really distinct from every other character to prevent typos in programming. Here’s a list of things you need to have in that area:

        Good distinction between zero and O. Slashing or dotting the zero is the typical solution. I prefer slashing myself, but that can be confusing for northern europeans.

        Good distinction between one and lowercase L and the | character.

        Good distinction between a and o. For a bad example of this, look at Apple’s Monaco font, where a/o are too similar.

        Good distinction between 5 and S. Basically just don’t make the 5 very rounded.

        There’s some subtle programming related things as well. For example, many programming languages use this operator: ->
        In some monospace fonts, the height of the dash glyph doesn’t align with the angle of the > glyph, making it look sloppy.

        Currently, the Ubuntu monospace font is the best I’ve yet seen. Before I switched to that, my fav was this:

        And before that, http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/Droid-Sans-Mono

  • Marco Martin says:

    Dude, that’s awesome!!

    The rest of the KDE community will be grateful to you for like, ever ;)

  • Ivan says:

    Nice, very nice :)

    The only letter I’m not in love with ‘g’, something weird about that one.

  • aydin says:

    hope to see that font soon on my desktop!
    excellent work!!

  • Aleix says:

    I don’t know much about fonts or design but looks really nice to me. Congrat’s!!! :)

  • BajK says:

    Still looks wayyyy to sharp and makes my eyes bleed like the default DejaVu or Droid font. The only font that I find usable is the Ubuntu font which luckily is the default on Kubuntu.

  • krash says:

    That’s awesome, I like it!

    • Alejandro says:

      Oh, I forgot, I wonder if you are going to do a monospace version of the font? That’d be really nice.

      I’d love if you can make the “l” (L) looks like this, I like the way that kind of “l” looks. But since I don’t know anything about font design and you are the expert, you know what is best :D.

      Thank you for making this effort!


      • vernon adams says:

        There’s been a few requests already for a monospace version, so i’m sure i’ll make one :) The ‘l’ you linked to – i had thought to have a similar ‘l’ in the desktop version. We’ll see.
        cheers -v

  • Rafael Gawenda says:

    I’F rather choose the lowercase L from Ubuntu. Like the lower end used in t

  • Tsiolkovsky says:

    I like it a lot. Maybe a bit too sharp but I+ll have to see it in action to be sure. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Fitoschido says:

    Oh wow, that impressed me! I immediately fell in love with this design. This typeface looks very readable, clean and crisp. Love it!

  • Looks great!
    This will definitely upgrade the KDE experience.
    Awesome work.
    Another vote for a monospace version from me :)

  • Ian Hex says:

    Promising start, the basic skeleton for a neat, legible screen-ready typeface is there certainly… not sure how I feel about those descenders just yet. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

  • kallu says:

    I think coconut font from webos is perfect for KDE.

  • jasox says:

    Love it, but I more thing is holding me away from kde and that is default icon theme. I hope so that oxygen team will change it in near future. Great work BTW ;)

  • Alejandro Nova says:

    I was WAITING for this. Now, can you make all four basic variants? (bold, italic and bold italic, KDE uses all four) This in a KDE 4.9 SC would rock.

    • vernon adams says:

      Alejandro – sure i’m planning regular + bold + both italics _ monospace. Plus, maybe some extra weights for ‘branding’ etc.

  • Nikolaus Waxweiler says:

    Nice! Glad to see the major desktops take typography seriously. Now KDE just needs to rid itself from hintfull as the default and adopt Ubuntu’s hintslight :) And increase the default font size.

    • Alejandro Nova says:

      Hint full / hint slight is fully (and not slightly) configurable from KDE System Settings. Just try it ;)

      Believe it or not, there are people who hate hint slight. About the default font size, 9 pt are just fine if they are really 9 pt (9/72 of an inch)

      If you have a high resolution screen, you need to reset your DPI resolution. Open Scribus, select File | Preferences, select “Visualization” in the icon list that will appear, take a real-world ruler, and adjust the DPI until the real world ruler and the ruler that will appear in the screen match; that’s your real DPI. Once you have it, force it in your KDE preferences. My screen resolution is 125 DPI, and so, my 9 pt fonts look like 11.7 pt fonts.

      • Nikolaus Waxweiler says:

        I know it’s configurable. I’ve been fiddeling with font display on Linux since forever, also including Infinality’s FreeType patches (and that patchset taught me that KDE’s settings dialog is quite inadequate — I was going to code up a replacement similar to ClearType Tuner but have defected to GNOME3 and now Unity in the meantime :P) But defaults are what actually matters. And Ubuntu’s defaults are the first where I feel no need to fiddle with anything except font color to increase contrast. This is a serious achievement! Not sure if Ubuntu people actually modify FreeType to make hintslight less ugly, because the hintslight from other distros I remember definitely was. Whatever the case, I can only hope that Infinality’s patches make inroads to mainline FT…

        Here’s the problem: Xorg sets the DPI to 96 by default because there’s no reliable way to determine the DPI automatically. Ubuntu’s default font size is 11pt, so you get 14px. The Ubuntu font is quite readable at this size. 9pt would be 12px. Too small. I once scoffed at people who increased their font size, because lol, they’re wasting space and it looks ugly. Now I can’t go back to small fonts and get angry when web designers go below 14px for body text. And I’m only 24 :) Sure, I could go and hammer the fonts harder into the pixel grid with e.g. hintfull or Infinality’s patches to increase contrast, but the typophile in me screams in horror when I see distorted letterforms.

  • Torrent says:

    You misspelled Lavoizier ;)

  • Govi says:

    Isn’t to much light after capital ‘A’? See e.g. “All” in screen or “Antoine”

  • espacio KDE says:

    [...] Ubuntu! Anuncio desde el Blog del autor: “Oxygen” Font. Share this:EmailBitacorasNo hay Entradas Relacionadas. This entry was posted in Artwork and [...]

  • Baltolkien says:

    Very, very nice!
    I like it!
    The goals of the project has been acomplished!

  • Alejandro Nova says:

    Please, for clarity, subscribe to the following bug. You may be the one who fixes it :)


  • kinta says:

    thank’s!!! i was using droid right now…

  • Fewt says:

    Is the source available yet?

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  • Private Leman says:

    It’s a good font. However, I notice A TON of similarities with the Prelude Sans font used on the Palm WebOS. Not that the font isn’t great, just odd. If you want to know, go to Ascender’s website, go to Custom Fonts, and look for Palm Pre.

    –Private Leman ;)

    • vernon adams says:

      :-) It’s not odd at all that there can be close similarities, they are fruit from the same old tree after all. I should probably look closer at Prelude though, it may provide some keys to a few solutions i’m after. I wonder if Prelude will be opensourced when WebOS is opened up? oooh! 8-)

  • q-ter says:

    Absolutely loving the Oxygen font, when I first saw it I immediately started looking up the font’s name and using it. Thanks.

    Only one remark: IMO every number should have constant width, could you make “1″ and “7″ as wide as other numbers?


  • Paul says:

    I love the font (vastly superior to the current ugly mess), but dislike the way that an uppercase i is near impossible to distinguish from a lowercase L. Logical clarity should be essential for a computer user interface.

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