Five Different Fonts: Japanese Typeface Selections

Selecting fonts for multilingual projects can be a daunting challenge for designers. The good news is that more non-Latin fonts are becoming available to expand the typographic palette for industry professionals.

High-quality Japanese fonts, in particular, were hard to purchase if you didn’t live in Japan. Now, websites such as Fonts.com offer a range of premium Japanese fonts in a wide variety of styles. Like Latin fonts, Japanese fonts are available in serif (Mincho) and sans serif (Gothic) styles, along with decorative and brush styles for headline usage. For designers looking to create and share multilingual, branded content across different geographies, some of these same typographic trends apply to Korean and Chinese languages as well.

Five Different Fonts: Japanese Typeface Selections

AXIS Font Japanese

Released in 2003, the AXIS Font Japanese design broke new ground in the history of Japanese typefaces as a modern sans serif with high visibility and readability characteristics. The typeface includes complementary Western character set designed by Akira Kobayashi. The simple, airy design is available in seven font weights: from ultra light to heavy. The typeface was developed with the vision that an entire magazine could be set in a single typeface family, allowing for the creation of a rich variety of designs while maintaining a consistent sensibility.

Figure 1 Axis Font Japanese

Figure 1: AXIS Font™ Japanese Designer Isao Suzuki Design Foundry TypeProject

Yu Gothic Std

The Yu Gothic Std typeface is from Jiyu Kobo, a Japanese type foundry known for a collection of serif and sans serif designs used in corporate identity, publications and advertising. The Yu Gothic Std design is adapted from the foundry’s Yu Mincho design, known for its legibility and readability. Described as a versatile sans serif family, the Yu Gothic Std design is ideal for both screen and print and can be paired with the Yu Mincho typeface family.

Figure 2 Yu Gothic Std

Figure 2: Yu Gothic Std   Design Foundry Jiyu Kobo

Motoya Seikai

The Motoya Seikai typeface is based on Ouyang Xun’s “Stele in the Jiucheng Palace” model of Kaisho calligraphy. The Motoya Seikai design is arranged so it’s consistent in alignment, size and blackness, making it one of the most beautiful Kaisho-style typefaces in Japan.

Figure 3 Motoya Seikai

Figure 3: Motoya Seikai   Design Foundry Motoya

Iwata Mincho Old

The Iwata Mincho Old typeface is a digitized version of the same typeface widely used in the era of letterpress printing. The design is more compact to make the typeface more readable. It’s frequently used for print, newspaper and textbook designs.

Figure 4 Iwata Micho Old

Figure 4:  Iwata Mincho Old   Design Foundry Iwata

HG Maru Gothic Pro

The HG Maru Gothic Pro typeface is a rounded Gothic that represents one of the common type styles found in a variety of applications from packaging to road signs. This round gothic font has a friendly personality for a multitude of uses.

Figure 5 HG Maru Gothic Pro

Figure 5: HG Maru Gothic Pro Design Foundry: Ricoh

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