We’ve all been there, seeing a page full of empty boxes where text is supposed to be, and wondering what is going on. That is actually something called Tofu, also known as “not defined” in coders’ terms, stemming from the name of that little annoying box, “.notdef”.
The leader of Google’s Internationalization department, Bob Jung, has come up with a brilliant end to Tofu. His solution is called Noto, short for “no more tofu”, and he spent 6 years working on it with his team and designers at Monotype to come up with a set of fonts for Google’s devices, which are unified and encompass all languages.
Noto supports 800 languages and a wide variety of special characters, and 100 scripts in up to eight different weights. The best part is the lack of Tofu, completely!
Monotype’s creative director, Steve Matteson, gives his take on the reason behind the endeavor, “We wanted to make it so when people changed their language settings it didn’t look like they were using a completely different platform.”