The Crimson Text typeface
Latest commit db93dca Oct 10, 2016 @skosch committed on GitHub Add TeX and Amiri reference

🚨 🚨 Help Wanted 🚨 🚨

I know very little about producing bug-free font files that work across all systems and browsers, but there are many open issues that require expertise in that area.

If you are interested in helping out, let me know – I'm generous with commit rights :)

The Crimson Text Typeface

Crimson Text ("Crimson") is a free and open-source text type family.

Directories and Releases

The Desktop Fonts and Web Fonts directories above always contain the most up-to-date binaries, respectively.

Desktop Fonts contains both OTF and TTF versions of the font. While OTF is generally regarded as the more modern and powerful format, some Windows users may prefer the rendered appearance of the TTF files, at least for screen use.

Web Fonts contains subsetted (!) TTF, EOF and WOFF files. If the provided files do not meet the requirements of your website, which may well be the case, you will need to generate the webfonts yourself – using either a font editor like Fontforge or an online service such as

For TeX users, two packages are available: Crimson and Cochineal, maintained by Bob Tennent and Michael Sharpe, respectively. The latter doesn't include the Semibolds, but has been extended by a ton of glyphs and adjusted to work well in math environments (a remarkable effort in its own right!).


The font is designed in the tradition of beautiful oldstyle type, and inspired particularly by the fantastic work of people like Jan Tschichold (Sabon), Robert Slimbach (Arno, Minion) and Jonathan Hoefler (Hoefler Text). It features

  • six cuts (regular, semibold and bold; with a Roman and Italic each)
  • characters for a wide range of European languages – though some are still better supported than others between different cuts
  • spacing/kerning done by Igino Marini's spectacular iKern
  • an unbeatable price of zero!

Naming confusion

The full name of the font is Crimson Text, since I had originally planned to follow up with a Crimson Display as well. That never came to pass, and laziness on my part and that of most users led to the Text casually falling by the wayside. To add to the confusion, two distinct Crimsons exist, since the original font was completely redrawn two years after its release. While you are looking at the new, improved version, Google Fonts continues to offer the clumsy-looking original via and has not heeded the repeated pleas for an upgrade. If you want to stick with Google Fonts, I recommend you switch to Amiri in the meantime – it uses the new Crimson for its Roman characters.


This project owes its success to (in no particular order)

  • Google's generous funding,
  • a handful of anonymous donors,
  • Adrien Tétar, for tirelessly fixing bugs,
  • Rainer Schuhsler, for correcting the vertical metrics,
  • Hector Haralambolous from Athens, who contributed many of the Coptic and Cyrillic glyphs,
  • Georg Duffner of EB-Garamond fame, who helped with OpenType wizardry,
  • Khaled Hosny, font guru, for fixing things I never knew were broken,
  • George Williams, author of FontForge,
  • Kate F., for hours and hours of overtime put into all of the font's rough edges
  • the many talented and generous people I forgot to mention, including those submitting bug reports


Contributions to the project in any form are very much welcome, and indeed encouraged! We always need help with:

  • Improving/tidying up glyph outlines
  • Correcting wrongly placed accents, messed up encodings, or making other language-specific fixes
  • Writing comprehensive OpenType features
  • Adding new glyphs to expand the coverage of languages, symbol sets, typographic niceties, etc.
  • Ironing out spacing and kerning wrinkles
  • Streamlining the build process from SFD (or UFO) to binary files.

I'm looking forward to your pull requests!