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Unicode, a potential Typography Goal for GNOME

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Take Advantage of Unicode

GTK Apps developers can take advantage of the following Unicodes, however this table is still under active development, so you have to keep track on Typography Guidelines for updates.

Usage Incorrect Correct Unicode to use C octal escaped UTF-8 Key sequence
Quotation “quote” “quote” U+201C LEFT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK, U+201D RIGHT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK \342\200\234, \342\200\235 Level3 + V, Level3 + B
Time 4:20 4∶20 U+2236 RATIO \342\210\266 N/A
Multiplication 1024×768 1024×768 U+00D7 MULTIPLICATION SIGN \303\227 Compose + X + X
Ellipsis Introducing… Introducing… U+2026 HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS \342\200\246 Compose + . + .
Apostrophe The user’s preferences The user’s preferences U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK \342\200\231 Level3 + Shift + B
Bullet list – One\n- Two\n- Three • One\n • Two\n • Three U+2022 BULLET \342\200\242 Compose + . + =

Paying some attention and improving GNOME Typography is certainly something that has to be done. Cantarell the default GNOME Font Family doesn’t do quite good in rendering small fonts, therefore many Fedora users change it to other Font Families.

Jakub Steiner released some days Cantarell  0.11 version..


  • use ligature lookup tables
  • make digits monospaced for bold

..and he is still actively working on them. Speaking of Fedora, the upcoming Spherical Cow has definitely a better Font rendering from the previous releases (without catching up with Ubuntu’s quality), and you won’t need to hack it anymore.

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  • Daniel Aleksandersen

    The blogging platform kind of ruined the effect here by auto-supplementing typographically correct variants in your examples.

    I love how geeks go crazy every time they encounter their first bit of Unicode typography — like the ellipsis post here on the site a week page.

    By the by, I think the multiplication sign e.g. for screen resolutions and proper quotation marks makes the biggest difference. It is not difficult to implement nor use. But developers has to be aware of it, and most are not.

  • Žygintas Beručka

    Let me just say that it’s been being solved by L10N teams in translations for ages, and if the English is lagging behind, it’s certainly not a global problem, and the benefits of this are quite negligible for the rest of the world.