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In 2015 Google asked us to contribute to their growing library of open-source web fonts. The scope of the project envisaged the development of a Latin and Gujarati type system in multiple weights. Contrary to the conventional method of starting the design from scratch, we chose to explore the idea of design as redesign, using existing typefaces as points of departure.

For Latin, the lead designer Anna Giedryś chose the open-source typeface Merriweather from Google’s library as a starting point. By way of redesign, she substantially changed key proportions and redrew most of its contours. The result, Yrsa, is a distinguished typeface intended for long-form texts (e.g. on blogs or publishing platforms like Medium). It has a clean, soft-spoken presence and even rhythm, a quality that aids continuous reading.

Rasa is a typeface for Indian users. Besides Latin, it supports Indian languages that use the Gujarati script. Like Yrsa, it originated from an existing design, Skolar Gujarati by David Březina. The proportion and styling of the Gujarati was adapted to match Yrsa’s Latin and work together harmoniously. The fonts include several hundreds of glyphs, including the required syllabic combinations (conjuncts), and extensive programming.

Client: Google

Year: 2015–2016

The process was documented in a series of detailed blogposts (Introduction, Harmonization, Release), and the sources made available on GitHub throughout the design phase.

Latin
Gujarati

Design: Anna Giedryś

Anna Giedryś is an experienced type designer, graphic designer, and illustrator from Poland. She studied graphic design and visual communication at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań (Sign and Typography Studio), graduating with a Master of Arts degree. One term of graphic and fashion design studies at Vilnius Fine Arts Academy sparked her interest in calligraphy and pattern design. In love with lettering and Polish papercuts.

Art-direction, design: David Březina

David Březina is the managing director of Rosetta Type Foundry. While you may know him as the designer of the award-winning type family Skolar, he has also worked on custom typefaces for Adobe, Linotype, and Microsoft, and others. So far, he has designed typefaces for Cyrillic, Greek, Gujarati, Devanagari, and various extensions of Latin. David holds master’s degrees in Informatics (Masaryk University, Brno, Czechia) and Typeface Design (University of Reading, UK). He has also been actively involved in writing, presenting, and conducting workshops on type and typography around the world.

Assistance:

Design (Merriweather) : Eben Sorkin