Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

STIX Fonts

by PhilipJ on 7 November 2007

I’m on a bit of a typography kick recently (this past weekend I went on the second type and tile tour of Toronto’s subway system), so when I saw this (on Slashdot of all places!) a few days ago, I got interested:

The mission of the Scientific and Technical Information Exchange (STIX) font creation project is the preparation of a comprehensive set of fonts that serve the scientific and engineering community in the process from manuscript creation through final publication, both in electronic and print formats. Toward this purpose, the STIX fonts will be made available, under royalty-free license, to anyone, including publishers, software developers, scientists, students, and the general public.

The STIX mission will be fully realized when:
- Fully hinted PostScript Type 1 and TrueType font sets have been created
- All characters/glyphs have been incorporated into Unicode representation or comparable representation and browsers include program logic to fully utilize the STIX font set in the electronic representation of scholarly scientific documents

By making the fonts freely available, the STIX project hopes to encourage the development of applications that make use of these fonts. In particular, the STIX project will create a TeX implementation that TeX users can install and configure with minimal effort.

The STIX project is a joint effort by the APS, ACS, AIP, IEEE, AMS, and everyone’s favorite for-profit publisher, Elsevier.

The fonts have been released as a public beta (though lacking a TeX implementation), which you can download here. It is a serif font, with a not-unpleasant appearance, though there is also nothing to really grab you and stand out. This is quite possibly the purpose, though. Here’s how the alphabet and numbers look:

Your thoughts? I would personally despise it if all the big publishers unified on a single font, but I don’t expect that to happen, and so the more choice the better.

  1. Mark James Adams    3427 days ago    #

    Looks like Times with what? a whole bunch of extra scientific-y engineering-y symbols.

  2. alf    3426 days ago    #

    I think it’s strange that there isn’t a sans-serif (as far as I can tell), given that the font is meant for on screen use.

  3. Fred Ross    3425 days ago    #

    I just made a side by side comparison on my screen of the same text newly typeset with normal LaTeX. This font is uglier and less readable.

    The only recent font I think is worth bothering with is Microsoft’s Consolas, which is without a doubt the best monospace font I’ve seen. I have no use for san-serif fonts, and there has been no advance in the state of the art in serif fonts for two hundred years.

  4. Rosie Redfield    3423 days ago    #

    I was hoping for a font with lots of useful characters for scientists, perhaps a more general version of a DNA-work font I used to use years ago that had characters that drew double stranded DNA. But this didn’t seem to offer anything I needed.

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