Classical Greek Font:
Bring a touch of the past to your designs with this classic Greek font. It comes with ligatures and alternates that can add extra flair to your work.
The font includes all the necessary diacritics to type texts in standard orthography, including breathing marks and accents. It can also be used to type faithful representations of the original hand of ancient codices or papyri.
In the past, when you wanted to type polytonic Greek text, there were a number of different ways that you could do it. For example, some typesetters used a specialized font to provide the accented letters. Others used the same alphabet as the normal font and inserted additional symbols to mark the accents. In either case, the resulting text was incompatible with other kinds of Greek texts. Moreover, sharing a Greek text with someone else often meant that you also had to send them the font or buy them a copy.
The newer Unicode encoding has changed all that. With Unicode, each character is assigned a unique code point. This means that no matter how it is typed, an a will be the same on everyone’s system, independent of their font. It also means that Greek can be included in standard word processors and other programs, and can be easily shared across computers.
Those who prefer a more traditional aesthetic might like the Greek Aesthetic font family by Iconian Fonts. This font offers a wide range of OpenType features, including important symbols and accents. While this font is not free for commercial use, it is fine for personal designs such as stationery prints, invitations, logos, merchandise products, and more. Another option is the Daewon font, which offers a heavy stylization that evokes myths and legends. This font includes ligatures and alternates, which are helpful for long texts.
As the ancestor of Latin and Cyrillic scripts, Greek has developed a number of distinct symbols that have been used for thousands of years. Some of these are distinct from the alphabetic letters, while others are derived from the Latin letter form or from the letters’ secondary uses as phonetic symbols.
As a polytonic writing system, Greek traditionally has both upper and lower-case forms. Early inscriptions were all written in the upper case, but by the Hellenistic era, most texts, particularly mathematical ones, were produced in lower-case. Modern scholars may use different conventional approximations of historic sound values for different stages of the language and sometimes employ a diacritic to mark the stress accent in polysyllabic words or to distinguish diphthongal from digraph readings.
Symbols like the capital (U+03D2) can appear in two stylistic variants, either straight like a Latin Y or slightly curled. The latter symbol is often found in technical texts as a ligature with the vowels a, e, and o.
Dumbarton Oaks has a special inscription font, Athena Ruby, which is Unicode-compatible and includes some variant letterforms. Other custom fonts such as Cardo, IFAOGrec Unicode, Junicode, New Athena, and SIL Galatia may also include non-standard forms of Greek letters, although these will be placed in the Private Use Area of the font, which means that they will not be visible outside of those fonts.
As the Greek alphabet developed from the Phoenician, a number of variations were introduced. These included changes to vowels and the addition of new letters. The basic consonant forms remained the same. However, the Greek alphabet gained a system for distinguishing long and short vowel sounds. It also developed a new symbol for the iota, which replaced the old eta subscript.
The Greek alphabet is the earliest known writing system that separates letters for consonants and vowels. It is also the first to use punctuation marks to indicate pronunciation. For instance, a semicolon indicates a pause and an exclamation point indicates excitement. It also uses spacing to differentiate between different types of punctuation marks. For example, there is more space between a semicolon and an exclamation mark than there is between a semicolon and a question mark.
Unicode has standardized the way that fonts display Greek characters. This means that a document written in one of the supported languages can be read by a reader with any compatible font, regardless of the operating system or text processor used to create it. This eliminates the problem of mismatched fonts that arose when older, one-byte methods were used.
A few free and commercial fonts are available for writing in Classical Greek. Some of these are designed to resemble historical Greek script, while others are designed for modern use. These fonts are often more legible than standard Times New Roman or Arial. However, it is important to check the license on these fonts before using them for any commercial purposes.
The earliest computer fonts for Greek were a mix of old-style glyphs and newer ligatures. They had to be manually enabled in text editors or inserted into special ligature tables in layout programs. The result was shoddy typography: a rough breathing might be shown as an x on one platform or a c on another; a positioned as a subscript would be off-center with an iota in one font and as a J in others. And so on.
With the advent of digital typesetting and Unicode, things finally started to change. Until then, text Greek types were almost exclusively reinterpretations of old serifs. Printers transplanted elements from the writing masters and Modern types into their Greeks, with, in general, unsatisfactory results.
In the early seventies, designers began to design Greeks that were explicitly intended for phototypesetting, and a few new designs entered the market—mostly in the periodical press. One of them, Optima, became the workhorse of Greek magazine publishing until it was superseded by Helvetica.
With Unicode, a well-informed designer can go far in designing new Greeks. Each character, living or dead, is assigned a unique code point. That means that the same glyph is always displayed in the same way on every system. Regardless of which font is used to compose the text. It also means that texts can be sent from one person to another without worrying about whether the recipients have the same font as the composer of the text.