Việt Type 2nd ed. Trương Support
Việtnamese Typography Second Edition Donny Trương Support This Book

Type Recommendations

Simplicity is good, but so is plurality. Typography’s principal function (not its only function) is communication, and the greatest threat to communication is not difference but sameness.

Robert Bringhurst

The purpose for this guide is to collect and showcase typefaces with full support for Vietnamese. Although display typefaces contribute an important role in Vietnamese typography, the design of their diacritics can be playful and experimental. The focus, therefore, is on text setting. Each typeface has been chosen based on flexibility, legibility, readability, and versatility of both the letters and their diacritical marks.

For close analysis, I have created a standard specimen that highlights all the Vietnamese typographic features. For the second edition, I introduced a five-star rating system to evaluate the design of the diacritics. The rating is based on how well the accents are in relating to their base letters. Are they part of the font system? Are they strong, clear, and discernible? Do they improve or hinder readability?

My recommendations are limited to my access, but I will continue to add more fonts when I can get my hands on them. If you have typefaces that support Vietnamese and would like to feature, please get in touch.

Acumin

★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Acumin is a neo-grotesque that has been humanized for reading text as well as big signage. It has straightforward and conventional diacritics. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Adobe Text

★★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Adobe Text is an economical, flexible serif for setting long passages. Its diacritics are concise and distinguishable. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Alda

★★★★★

Designed by Berton Hasebe, Alda is an elegant, robust text serif that has been crafted to be recognizable at large sizes and cohesive at small sizes. Its diacritics, the thick and deep breve in particular, are sturdy and highly legible. All stacked accents are positioned up above, which might require some generous leading.

Alegreya

★★★★★

Designed by Juan Pablo del Peral, Alegreya is a dynamic, harmonious text serif intended for works of literature. It has well-built diacritics. The slightly tilted hook above is unique yet legible. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex. Alegreya Sans is a perfect complement.

Arno

★★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Arno is a humanist text serif inspired by the past, but distinctively modern. Its diacritical detail, the tail end of the hook above in particular, is meticulously crafted. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Cabin

★★★★

Designed by Pablo Impallari, Cabin is inspired by Edward Johnston’s and Eric Gill’s humanist sans, but has its own geometric personality. It has prominent diacritics. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex..

Exchange

★★★★

Designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, Exchange is a text face inspired by the British “Ionic” style of slab serif, C.H. Griffith’s Bell Gothic, and L. B. and M. F. Benton’s Century Expanded. Exchange is designed for limited space on newspaper as well as mobile devices. It has clear, well-balanced diacritics. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex. Its tilde is also positioned slightly toward the right of its circumflex. Display quotes on the site are set in Exchange.

Faustina

★★★★

Designed by Alfonso García, Faustina is a robust serif intended for print and online editorial typography. Its diacritical marks are clear and close to its base letters. Its horn is positioned lower on the letter u. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Fern

★★★★★

Designed by David Jonathan Ross, Fern is an elegant Venetian text face for the screen. Fern strikes the balance between humanist qualities and chunkiness features. I was given the opportunity to help shaped its diacritics. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex. Its tilde is also positioned slightly toward the right of its circumflex. The main text for this site is set in Fern.

FF More

★★★★

Designed by Łukasz Dziedzic, FF More is a solid serif intended for print publication. It has well-rounded diacritics. Its circumflex and tilde are lovely. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Garamond Premier

★★★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Garamond Premier is a stunning reinterpretation of Claude Garamond’s romans and Robert Granjon’s italics. Its diacritics are well balanced with its based letters. The little tail end adds a nice touch to the hook above. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Garvis

★★★★

Designed by James Todd, Garvis is a text serif built for reading and supporting languages. Its diacritics are crisp and strong. On uppercase letters, its combined accents are a bit too close to its breve. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Halcom

★★★

Designed by Jonathan Hill, Halcom is inspired by Futura, but aims to strike the balance between geometric precision and optical accuracy. Its diacritics are conventional and generous. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Halyard

★★★★

Designed by Joshua Darden, Halyard is a grotesque sans with historical forms drawn from Schelter+Giesecke, Miller and Richard, and Morris Fuller Benton. Its diacritics are proportional and clear. While its display fonts have stacked accent positioned to the right, its text fonts has the grave positioned to the left.

IBM Plex

★★★★

Designed by Mike Abbink and in collaboration with Bold Monday, IBM Plex is an extensive font family consists of Serif, Sans Serif, Sans Condensed, and Mono. It has well-balanced diacritics, especially the consistent horns on ơ and ư. Its tilde is slightly tilted. Its stacked grave is positioned to the left.

Mallory

★★★

Designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, Mallory is a sans serif that has British’s geometric shapes and American’s organic forms. Its diacritics are sharp, but the stacked accents are a bit too small. Its horn begins close to the top of the o. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Minion

★★★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Minion is versatile serif workhorse that is highly readable for long text and striking for headline. With Minion 3, its diacritics were subtly redesigned and repositioned. Its breve and circumflex were made a little narrower and lifted farther from its base letters. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Myriad

★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Carol Twombly, Fred Brady, and Christopher Slye, Myriad is a sans-serif workhorse with an extensive family that can be used in any circumstance. Its diacritics are conventional and legible. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Nunito Sans

★★★

Designed by Jacques Le Bailly, Nunito Sans is an extension of Vernon Adams’s Nunito, which is a well-balanced and rounded sans serif. While Nunito is for display, Nunito Sans can be used for text. Its diacritics are clear and conventional. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Pelago

★★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Pelago is a naturalistic sans-serif family that offers a wide range of possibilities ranging from text on the web to print publication. Its diacritics are conventional and legible. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Retina

★★★

Designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, Retina is an idiosyncratic yet practical sans serif intended to be read on various screen devices as well as paper at the tiniest sizes. Its diacritics are modest and a bit receded, particulary the circumflex on the letter E and O. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex. Small text and captions on this site are set in Retina.

Roslindale

★★★

Designed by David Jonathan Ross, Roslindale is inspired by De Vinne, a forgotten oldstyle in the nineteenth century. In its reinterpretation, Roslindale is ironed out the clunkiness and increased in contrast. Its diacritics are rounded and legible. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex. The header on this site is set in Roslindale.

Schotis

★★★

Designed by Juanjo López, Schotis is a text serif inspired by Scotch Romans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its diacritics are rounded and well balanced. Its tilde is strangely reversed on the italic style. It may be playful for display text, but disruptive for reading text. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Skolar

★★★★★

Designed by David Březina, Skolar is a robust serif family intended to solve complex text settings. It has solid, sturdy diacritical marks. While its acute and grave on lowercase letters stacked to the right of its circumflex, they stacked up above capital letters.

Source Sans

★★★

Designed by Paul D. Hunt, Source Sans is inspired by the simple forms of News Gothic and Franklin Gothic and intended for UI labels as well as long paragraphs. Its diacritics are proportional and clear. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Spectral

★★★

Designed by Production Type, Spectral is a versatile serif family created specifically for immersive reading on screen. While its sharp, pointed diacritical marks, particularly acute and grave, created clear contrast, they are a bit too short for small sizes. In combined accents, its acute is positioned to the right, its grave is positioned to the left, and its hook above and tilde are positioned on top.

Ten Oldstyle

★★★★★

Designed by Robert Slimbach, Ten Oldstyle is the Latin companion to the Japanese-script Ten Mincho. Ten Oldstyle’s calligraphic features and humanist qualities create a delightful harmony to its character-based counterpart. Its diacritics are proportional and balanced. The end tail of the hook above adds a nice touch and enhances readability. Its acute, grave, and hook above are consistently stacked to the right of its circumflex.

Vollkorn

★★★★

Designed by Friedrich Althausen, Vollkorn (“wholemeal” in German) is a serif text face for everday purpose. Its diacritics are sturdy, legible, and positioned close to the base letters. Its acute and grave are consistently stacked up above its circumflex while its hook above stacked right.