If you have typefaces that support Vietnamese and would like to feature them on this site, please get in touch.
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 related to their base letters. Are they part of the typographic system? Are they strong, clear, and discernible? Do they improve or hinder readability?
My recommendations are limited to my access to fonts, but I will continue to add more as I acquire them. My thanks to the following type foundries for provided me their typefaces to be used on this site: Darden Studio, DJR, Huerta Tipográfica, Kilotype, Juanjo López, Rosetta, and TypeTogether.
True to its name, Adapter—designed by William Montrose, Sláva Jevčinová, and David Březina for Rosetta—adapts to any typographic environment. From text to display, straight to slant, thin to thick, Adapter takes advantage of variable font technology to offer a modern sans serif system that supports many languages including Vietnamese. Its acute and grave stack to the right of its circumflex. Its hook above appears a bit odd without the the end tail.
With exuberant personality and clean appearance, Adelle Sans—designed by Veronika Burian and José Scaglione for TypeTogether—provides flexible typesetting for every situation and supports a wide range of languages. For Vietnamese, its acute and grave stack on top of its circumflex while its hook above stacks right.
With dynamic rhythm and calligraphic character, Alegreya—designed by Juan Pablo del Peral for Huerta Tipográfica—offers a pleasant reading experience for literary text. Alegreya equips with well-built diacritics for Vietnamese. Its hook above, in particular, has a slight tilt, which makes it unique and legible. Alegreya Sans completes its humanist superfamily.
With hand-lettering quality, varied rhythm, and a touch of cheekiness, Bree—designed by José Scaglione and Veronika Burian for TypeTogether—offers a versatile sans serif family that has personality and delicacy. Bree comes with an impressive support for languages. For Vietnamese, its acute and hook above stack to the right side of its circumflex while its grave stacks to the left. The connected acute and grave to its circumflex make the combined accents less legible. Its tilde also needs more curves.
Inspired by Edward Johnston’s and Eric Gill’s humanist sans, Cabin, designed by Pablo Impallari, brings a new vibe of modernism with the integration of new geometric structures and optical adjustments. Cabin expands with prominent diacritics. For Vietnamese, its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex.
A multi-functional sans serif designed by José Scaglione and Veronika Burian for TypeTogether, Ebony seeks to balance between the openness in humanist sans and the unobtrusiveness in grotesques. With Vietnamese support, its connected acute and grave to its circumflex make the combined accents less legible.
Inspired by the British “Ionic” style of slab serif, L. B. and M. F. Benton’s Century Expanded, and C.H. Griffith’s Bell Gothic, Exchange, designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, offers typesetting in limited space including newspaper and mobile devices. Exchange has clear, well-balanced diacritics. Its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex. Its tilde positions slightly toward the right of its circumflex. Full disclosure: I offered some advice on Exchange’s Vietnamese diacritics.
An elegant Venetian text face, Fern, designed by David Jonathan Ross, lends strength and grace to text on screens. Fern strikes the balance between humanist qualities and chunkiness forms. For Vietnamese, its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex. Its tilde positions slightly toward the right of its circumflex. Full disclosure: I was consulted on Fern’s Vietnamese diacritics.
With sound-wave inspiration, nonconformist rhythm, and optically adjusted appearance, Frequenz—designed by Sebastian Losch for Kilotype—offers an unorthodox, uncompromising sans serif text face that surprisingly does not get in the way with the flow of reading. Frequenz has conventional diacritics with its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex.
A grotesque sans with historical forms drawn from Schelter+Giesecke, Miller and Richard, and Morris Fuller Benton, Halyard—designed by Joshua Darden, Eben Sorkin, and Lucas Sharp for Darden Studio—offers a full range of typographic utility. The Halyard superfamily provides flexibility and robustness to work in any situation. With Vietnamese, its acute and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex, but its grave stacks to the left.
An extensive family consists of serif, sans serif, and mono, IBM Plex—designed by Mike Abbink and in collaboration with Bold Monday—offers a complete typographic solution for IBM around the world. It has well-balanced diacritics. Its tilde is slightly tilted. Its acute and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex, but its grave stacks to the left.
Drawing inspiration from Scotch and oldstyle Roman types, Literata—designed by TypeTogether for Google Play Books—offers pleasurable reading experiences for digital books thanked to its less mechanical structure, varied proportions, organic texture, and slanted stress. It has sturdy, blunt diacritics—the hook above in particular. Its acute and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex, but its grave stack to the left.
Named after Pliegos de Cordel, Pliego, designed by Juanjo López, offers a delightful reading experience with humanist forms and even textures. Its calligraphic details ebb at small sizes for comfortable reading, but flow at large sizes to give a contemporary vibe. Its diacritics crafted with care to retain the humanist and calligraphic qualities throughout. Its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex.
Inspired by De Vinne, Roslindale, designed by David Jonathan Ross, strikes the balance between utility and flavor by smoothing out the clunkiness of the original and dialing up the contrast. Roslindale has rounded diacritics. Its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex.
Inspired by Scotch Romans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Schotis, designed by Juanjo López, offers a workhorse face for editorial and long-form text. Schotis has rounded, well-balanced diacritics. Its reversed tilde for italic appears playful for display text, but disruptive for reading text. Its acute, grave, and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex.
A robust serif family with conventional proportions and subtle personal style, Skolar—designed by David Březina for Rosetta—offers to solve complex typography across platforms and purposes. Skolar has solid, sturdy diacritical marks. While its acute and grave on lowercase letters stack to the right of its circumflex, they stack above on capital letters. Its counterpart, Skolar Sans, fills the need of responsive web typography.
Inspired by the simple forms of News Gothic and Franklin Gothic, Source Sans—designed by Paul D. Hunt for Adobe Fonts—provides solutions for UI labels as well as long paragraphs. It offers proportional, clear diacritics. Its acute and hook above stack to the right of its circumflex, but its grave stack to the left. Source Serif, by designed Frank Grießhammer, compliments Source Sans.
A versatile serif family, Spectral—designed by Production Type for Google’s Docs and Sheets—lends efficiency and elegance to immersive reading on screens. While its sharp, pointed diacritical marks, particularly acute and grave, create clear contrast, they are a bit too short at small sizes. In combined accents, its acute positions to the right, its grave to the left, and its hook above and tilde on top.
Named as wholemeal in German, Vollkorn, designed by Friedrich Althausen, offers typographic solution for everyday purpose Vollkorn has sturdy diacritic marks positions close to the base letters. Its acute, grave, and hook above stacks to the right of its circumflex.