IBM PLEX

The new custom open-source typeface superfamily for IBM

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.

IBM Plex
Plex Sans overview weights and styles
Plex Mono overview weights and styles
Plex Serif overview weights and styles
Plex Sans Condensed overview weights and styles
Alternate a
Alternate g
Alternate grman double s
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” — Philip K. Dick
Alternate zeroes
Currency signs
Arrows
Overview of supported scripts
Example paragraph set in Plex Sans Text
Example paragraph set in Plex Mono Text
Example paragraph set in Plex Serif Text
Example paragraph set in Plex Sans Condensed Light
Overview os slected glyphs from various styles and weights

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.

Bold Monday team

As part of the Bold Monday team I’ve been working on this project as both type designer and font engineer since 2016. As designer I worked on Latin parts of the family mostly; Plex Sans, Plex Serif and Plex Sans Condensed with production tasks on Plex Cyrillic and Plex Hebrew.

As font engineer I worked together with Edgar Walthert on both the 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 also developed several web-based tools to proof rendering on screen in various browsers.

Next to this I was largely involved in the development of Plex Sans Var (the variable font version of Plex Sans), including TrueType hinting done in VTT (thanks Mike Duggan) and building a demo site for internal use showcasing the variable font (thanks Max Peeperkorn).

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 check out the IBM Plex website.

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