MANKIND AND MACHINE
Plex is the new corporate typeface for IBM worldwide. It is designed and developed by Mike Abbink at IBM and Dutch type foundry Bold Monday. Rooted in the idea of mankind and machine, its design draws inspiration from the IBM logotype as well as typewriter typefaces (as used with the IBM Selectric) and classics like Franklin Gothic, Bodoni and Janson.
Plex consists of four subfamilies: Sans, Mono, Serif and Sans Condensed, each in eight weights with true italics, and supports over 100 languages using the Latin alphabet (including Vietnamese) as well as Cyrillic and monotonic Greek. Several other writing systems are also supported and currently include Arabic, Devanagari, Hebrew and Thai, with support for Bengali, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tamil in progress.
As part of the Bold Monday team I’ve worked on this project as both type designer and font engineer. Design tasks mostly involved Latin parts of the family; Plex Sans, Plex Serif and Plex Sans Condensed, with production tasks on Plex Cyrillic and Plex Hebrew.
As font engineer I was involved with both PostScript and TrueType hinting of Plex Sans, Plex Mono, Plex Serif, Plex Sans Condensed, Plex Cyrillic, Plex Hebrew, Plex Devanagari, Plex Arabic and Plex Thai.
For the hinting of the TrueType fonts I’ve also developed some browser based tools to proof rendering on screen. Next to all this I was largely involved in the development of Plex Sans Var, the variable font version of Plex Sans (see more here).
IBM Plex has been released as open source under a SIL OFL 1.1 license and can be downloaded from the IBM GitHub page and is also available through Google Fonts. The project is big — for a closer look at the whole project and concept have a look at the IBM Plex website.