Proxima Nova 2.008
Proxima Nova version 2.008 is a major update. I’m in the process of getting it out to my distributors and it should be available from all of them within a couple of weeks.
Proxima Nova Medium. This is a new weight, available for all widths and styles. It sits between Regular and Semibold. It actually goes back to 2006, less than a year after Proxima Nova’s initial release. It was a custom weight requested by a UK magazine publisher. I’ve finally decided to officially invite it into the family.
For customers who have licensed an “all weights” or “complete” package, you should automatically get the new Medium styles when they become available at your vendor. The addition of Medium increases the size of the Proxima Nova family to 48 fonts in eight weights. Because of this, the prices of the “all weights” and “complete” packages will go up a bit accordingly.
- Prime and double prime, superior to “dumb” quotes for things like minutes, seconds, inches, and feet.
- Interrobangs because, well, why the hell not‽
- Small cap ¿ and ¡, which were mysteriously missing before. Okay, not so mysterious. I just forgot to put them in.
- Indian Rupee, a new currency symbol. Pretty clever and well thought out, as currency symbols go.
- Turkish Lira, another new currency symbol. Not as well thought out, in my opinion.
- Russian Ruble, another new currency symbol. It’s okay.
- Optional tabular figure 1 with serifs. This is used when you enable Tabular Lining Figures plus Stylistic Set 9.
- Capital eszett, (ẞ). Some German speakers think this is a stupid idea, some think it is long overdue. It’s there if you want it.
- A few additional Cyrillic characters used in Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and elsewhere.
Making design changes to an existing and widely used font is not something I take lightly. That said, there were a couple of things I felt I had to change.
First, I slightly shortened the stroke at the top of the lowercase f to eliminate the need for ligatures. Unlike some fonts, the ligatures in Proxima Nova don’t connect in any way. Instead, they substitute an alternate f with a slightly shorter stroke at the top to avoid colliding with the i and l. Unfortunately, it is frequently the case that ligatures are not used when fonts are used on the web, and it really bothers me. But rather than try to get everyone to fix their websites, I decided it would be simpler to fix my admittedly problematic design of the f and use the alternate f instead, eliminating the need for ligatures entirely.
Second, I slightly shortened the tail of the lowercase j for similar reasons.
Both of these are cases where the me of today wonders what the me of yesterday was thinking. But they are subtle changes, I hope, and I hesitate to even call attention to them in case someone somewhere prefers the old f or j. I expect most won’t even notice the difference, and Proxima Nova will simply look nicer more of the time.
- Better hinting for Windows users. This is mostly an issue on Windows XP, an operating system released in 2001, for crying out loud. Anyway, on all versions of Windows, Proxima Nova will look better.
- Better cross-platform document sharing between the Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Office. This is mostly related to the non-standard way that the Mac version identifies fonts. If they followed the standard, this wouldn’t be an issue. In any case, it works now, in spite of it all.
- The “bold” style shortcuts now only work with Regular and Regular Italic, yielding Bold and Bold Italic. In earlier versions, Semibold was the “bold” style of Light, and Extrabold was the “bold” style of Thin. Understandably, some Windows users had trouble finding the Semibold and Extrabold styles, not realizing they were hidden behind the “bold” style shortcut. Semibold and Extrabold now are listed in font menus, which should make Proxima Nova easier to use on Windows.
- Full character sets for the optional fonts. Proxima Nova Alt and Proxima Nova ScOsf now include the full Proxima Nova character set and language support (including Greek and Cyrillic), not just basic Western Latin.
- Descriptive names for Stylistic Sets. This is not widely supported yet, but when it is, Proxima Nova will be ready. So, instead of the sets being listed as Stylistic Set 1, Stylistic Set 2, Stylistic Set 3, and so on, they will be listed as Schoolbook Style, Geometric Sans Style, Alternate Uppercase G, and so on. Really looking forward to support for this, and you should be, too.
You can see the new fonts in more detail in the updated downloadable Proxima Nova specimens:
Proxima Nova Overview. The story of Proxima Nova, basic style showings, full character set and technical information. 12 pages. 622 KB PDF.
Proxima Nova Full Specimen. The overview, plus complete text and display specimen for all styles of Proxima Nova, including the full character sets. 156 pages. 5.2 MB PDF.