Sans serif form of SIL fonts

Sans serif fonts are very useful for literacy purpose. Can we also have the sans serif form of Charis SIL, Doulos SIL and Gentium?

Although some serif font families have related sans serif families, most do not. Just removing the serifs doesn’t work, as the proportions and spacing have to change. Often the contrast (the weight difference between the thin and thick strokes) needs to also be adjusted. In the end you end up with a very different typeface. We have no plans to make sans serif versions of Charis SIL, Doulos SIL, or Gentium.

For literacy purposes a ‘serifs-removed’ version of those fonts might not work well anyway. It’s much better to use a font that was designed from the ground up with literacy in mind and optimized for that purpose. That’s why we designed Andika.

If you’re looking for a good path to take students from no literacy to reading fluency in any font style I’d recommend the following sequence of fonts to use:

  • Andika
  • Andika with two-story a and g (available on TypeTuner Web - set Literacy alternates to False)
  • Gentium (or Charis) with single-story a and g (TypeTuner Web - set Literacy alternated to True)
  • Gentium (or Charis)
  • Other serif styles

That progression minimizes the leaps students need to take to adjust from simple sans serif to common serif styles. The choice of Andika > Gentium is intentional here. There are subtle similarities in the design and structures of those two fonts that make it easier to jump from one to the other.

Hope that helps!

Link to TypeTuner Web: TypeTuner Web


I know of Andika and TypeTuner (and I have used them) ​because I’ve been following up on those beautiful things that SIL is doing to support languages across the world.

I’m not looking just to teach literacy. I need a font for a local language blog meant for all categories of readers. The font should be fine on the webpage and be attractive to those different categories of visitors, and they should also be able to read what is there regardless of their literacy level.

I understand that making fonts is not as easy as it appears, so I will simply respect your team’s decision and use what is available or fine an alternative.

Thanks for your response.

Just a note about Andika: Using TypeTuner on Andika to turn “off” the literacy a and g turns it into a very attractive sans serif font, I think. Our local language adult readers have been pleased with it.

I don’t know if this is helpful, but I still have an old SIL font called Sophia. The version I have works for Latin and Cyrillic (Unicode and a custom legacy encoding for some Cyrillic characters). I could send you a copy.

Thanks, David, but we really don’t recommend that people use Sophia. It’s an old, pre-Unicode font that we no longer support, and it would not work properly on a web site.