Brill Typeface


"The Brill"

After careful consideration, Brill has taken the initiative of designing a typeface. Named “the Brill”, it presents complete coverage of the Latin script with the full range of diacritics and linguistics (IPA) characters used to display any language from any period correctly, and Greek and Cyrillic are also covered. There are over 5,100 characters in each font (there are four in all: roman, italic, bold, and bold italic), with all necessary punctuation marks and a wide assortment of symbols. These fonts will be especially welcomed by humanities scholars quoting from texts in any language, ancient or modern. The “Brill” fonts comply with all international standards, including Unicode. John Hudson of Tiro Typeworks, well-known for his multilingual fonts, is the Brill typeface’s designer. This indispensable tool for scholars is freely available for non-commercial use. It will also serve customers using a variety of Brill online products such as the Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, the Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, and many more.

You may download the font package after agreeing to the End User License Agreement.


‘A custom typeface enables a publisher to take control of typography in a way that isn't possible with off-the-shelf fonts. One of the principal benefits is the harmonisation of text across multiple languages, books and series, contributing to a recognisable ‘Brill’ look and feel. In a typeface for such a wide range of languages, not only modern but also historical, the basic characteristics of the design need to accommodate ‘worst case’ characters, even if these might be very rare in publications. Thus, the mostly vertical contrast axis and expansion stroke model of the Brill types were chosen because they favour the mirrored letters of the International Phonetic Association alphabet. There is an inherent stability in this style that makes it more easily adaptable to a wide variety of shapes than, for instance, a renaissance style type with an oblique axis and broad-nib modelling.

Technically, the Brill fonts have to be able to legibly display any combination of the supported characters that might be encountered in text, including sequences of combining diacritic marks above and below letters, and to be able to do so in typographically sophisticated ways involving smallcaps etc. The OpenType Layout programming in the fonts includes smart contextual rules affecting the shape, spacing and mark positioning of characters. The idea is that users will be able to throw pretty much any text at these fonts and get back a legible and aesthetically pleasing display.’

John Hudson, designer, Tiro Typeworks

Additional Downloads

The Brill Typeface Brochure - 2011

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