Public Sans: a free/open font from the United States Web Design System

Is otf well established enough now that people can just click to install? I’ve not messed with them for awhile, but they used to be enough of a pain to get working that I wouldn’t recommend them to random people who were asking basic questions.

I’ve never had any problems myself and I think they’re well supported by all recent (and even not that recent) operating systems. But fair point - if you want maximum compatibility and aren’t going to use OTF’s advanced features then TTF is fine.

There’s some nice subtle differences (beyond the many-hundreds-of-dollars in licensing fees). Public Sans on top, Helvetica Neue on bottom:


Public has an old-style g, which I appreciate. It adds the little hook on the lowercase L, which besides being kinda stylish, fixes one of the old dumb problems with Helvetica – that the lowercase L is the exact same thing as the uppercase I. The lowercase t has an interesting little angle on the top-left straight bit. Public also has stronger cut-ins in spots where curves meet straight bits, which helps it stay readable at smaller sizes. For a free font, I actually prefer this as a Helvetica upgrade to the actual Helvetica upgrade also announced today.


Cory updated the article. :slight_smile:

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