This page contains the Workplace series of TrueType fonts. These are fonts which have been inspired by OS/2's built-in bitmap fonts, but are implemented as outline fonts.

Please note: I am neither a trained type designer nor an experienced graphic artist. None of my fonts are likely to compare favourably with professionally-designed typefaces (so please be forgiving).

The outline font editor I use for development is FontLab TypeTool. I have created FontLab-compatible codepage files (which can be used to generate cmap tables in the compiled font) for the OS/2 Extended Universal Glyph List. These can be downloaded here.

Note: The old Workplace Gothic font has been taken off-line for the time being. The present design of Workplace Sans has rendered it largely irrelevant, and it reflects a much older stage of my design knowledge which is now rather out of place here. I may end up reviving it someday.

Workplace Sans

[Workplace Sans] Workplace Sans is a semi-condensed sans-serif font, inspired by the OS/2 bitmap font "WarpSans", and intended primarily for user interfaces (menus, dialogs, and the like).

Workplace Sans is currently available in light, regular and bold versions.

Note: The current release of Workplace Sans is unhinted (except for the light weight, which has some basic hinting for largely historical reasons). Previous releases made use of TypeTool's autogenerated hints; however, these were observed to cause irregular glyph scaling on some point sizes. Consequently, you are recommended to either enable font anti-aliasing where possible, and/or use the bitmapped versions of these fonts.

View additional examples:

Development work on Workplace Sans is done using TypeTool version 3. For the bitmapped versions, the bitmaps are being created and embedded using FontForge.

Supported Characters

As of version 0.9, the regular and bold weights support Latin-1, Latin-2, Cyrillic, and Greek, and a few others. The light weight includes all of those plus Hebrew and Japanese half-width support. See the README file for a more detailed list.

Background

I originally created Workplace Sans because I wanted something that closely resembled the OS/2 WarpSans font, but which could be used under other operating systems. (My original motivation was actually to be able to use Windows-based graphics programs to draw OS/2 user interface designs.) As a bitmap font cannot be antialiased, my assumption was that Workplace Sans generally would not be either.

In light of these goals, early versions put a great deal of effort into trying to force the glyphs to rasterize (in monochrome) as identically as possible to WarpSans at 9- and 11-point (120 dpi) sizes, while maintaining a certain minimal level of internal consistency. With no direct control over hinting, I had instead to resort to pushing the glyph outlines themselves into rather awkward contortions. At the time, very little consideration went into making the actual glyph shapes attractive on their own merit.

Since that time, however, Workplace Sans has found itself adopted for use under OS/2 by a number of ported applications which use the FreeType library for rendering text. These applications cannot load OS/2 bitmap fonts (because FreeType cannot), and thus are unable to use WarpSans for their user interface; Workplace Sans thus found itself recommended because it approximates the style and dimensions of WarpSans, thereby allowing a certain degree of consistency with the rest of the system. Significantly, however, the use of FreeType implies that text is antialiased by default.

As a result, Workplace Sans is now much more likely than I originally envisioned to be used in an environment where it is antialiased. Indeed, this now appears to be its primary use.

Consequently, I have recently engaged in a rethink of Workplace Sans's design principles. Specifically, I have decided to move away from my original obsession with exactly duplicating the appearance of WarpSans under binary rasterization, and am now concentrating instead on making the font more attractive when antialiased, including at larger sizes.

In addition, I have significantly widened the glyph strokes in the default weight. This was done partly to bring the font more into line with common practice, and partly because the original (very thin) strokes resulted in extremely poor legibility when anti-aliased at smaller sizes (particularly at 96dpi and below).

For more information, including comparative illustrations, you can check out the design history of Workplace Sans.

Bitmapped Versions

I have recently started providing alternative versions of Workplace Sans which include embedded bitmaps at 7, 8, 9, and 10 point sizes (as measured at 120 dpi). Given the poor hinting, this allows for much crisper and more legible text at smaller sizes. As a bonus, it also makes the font more closely resemble WarpSans at comparable sizes. (Of course, this depends on a capable rasterizer such as FreeType being used. The default OS/2 TrueType driver is not capable of rendering embedded bitmaps.)

I generated the bitmaps in Workplace Sans by using FontForge to rasterize the outlines, then cleaning up the generated bitmaps by hand. The results should look virtually identical to WarpSans at the comparable sizes. (To the best of my knowledge, there are no legal problems involved with doing this, as font design is not subject to copyright law. The actual font files are copyrighted, but that isn't an issue since the Workplace Sans bitmaps are effectively a "clean-room" reimplementation.)

Notes:

Files

wpsu_ttf_091.zip The latest release (version 0.91, all weights) of Workplace Sans weights) in TrueType format.
wpsu_bit_091.zip Workplace Sans (version 0.91, all weights) in TrueType format with embedded bitmaps.
wpsu_src_091.zip Workplace Sans source (version 0.91, all weights) in FontLab and BDF format.

Older versions are archived here.

Legal Notices

Workplace Sans is © 2003, 2012 Alexander Taylor. All rights reserved.

Workplace Sans v0.6 and later, and Workplace Sans bold v0.2 and later are licensed under the Open Font License. (Earlier versions were public domain software.)