For a long time as a graphic designer, I’ve asked myself:
Why aren’t there more cool Hangul fonts?
Where can I FIND Hangul fonts?
You know, when you start a new design project, one of the most interesting things to do is go “font shopping.” I could spend 30 minutes to an hour simply browsing through the fonts I have, or looking online, and trying to find a font based on some adjective descriptors (serif, strong, bold, thick, black, ancient, modern, Roman, etc).
Finding fonts in English is a piece of cake thanks to sites like:
- Fonts.com (commercial)
- MyFonts.com (commercial)
- Google Fonts (free)
- FontSquirrel (free)
- UrbanFonts (free)
- DaFont (free)
- 1001Fonts (free)
But finding Hangul Fonts seemed nearly impossible until only recently. Here are a couple of methods I’ve previously used to try to find decent Hangul Fonts:
- Copying the Hangul font files from a Korean Windows computer onto a USB and then taking it home
- I learned that “글꼴” means “font” in Korean – so I searched the Internet for “글꼴 다운로드” and “글꼴 토렌트” but that often turned up little
- Finally I found Naver’s Hangul site that includes a download of its Nanum Pro series of fonts:
- Nanum Gothic
- Nanum Myeongjo
- Nanum Son GeulSsi (Handwriting) – 2 varieties
You can download all of Naver’s Nanum fonts individually, or download a self-installing pack specifically for Windows (.exe) or for Mac (.dmg):
The Motherload of Hangul Fonts!
I had all but given up on finding Hangul fonts other than the Nanum series (though I knew it must be possible because of the huge variety of fonts present on advertisements and shop signs throughout Korea), when I stumbled upon another Naver site that contains a HUGE collection of fonts.
And they are all FREE! (무료 = FREE)
Hangul Font Design Companies
Just judging from the top sorting bar on this site, it looks like the following companies are some of the top Hangul designers in Korea:
- Naver (네이버)
- DX Korea (DX코리아)
- AsiaSoft (아시아소프트)
- Haeoom (헤움)
- Hoon Design (훈디자인)
So, in the future it will probably prove to be worthwhile to try to investigate each of these company’s websites individually for more cool fonts. But for now, I know that DX Korea has some of the best ones that I’ve downloaded and used.
Why aren’t there more cool Hangul Fonts?
Let me conclude this post with my own personal analysis of the differences between an English “Pro” font and a Hangul “Pro” font. This is what I’d previously concluded as the main reason behind a stunning lack of variety and availability I observed in Hangul fonts.
Minion Pro character set = 1675 characters
The above image shows the entire character set for Minion Pro – one of the most extensively designed English fonts available.
English fonts are actually relatively easy to design for because the minimum required character set (and the number of letters found in a good deal of FREE fonts) is simply: 26 letters (only uppercase) or 52 letters (upper and lowercase).
Not so with Hangul fonts. The minimum required character set for a Hangul font is around 11,000!! This is because:
The number of the theoretically possible Modern Hangul syllables in Unicode is: 11,172. Among these, the top 2350 syllables occupy 99.9% of all that is used.
Initial consonant 19 * Middle vowel 21 * (Final consonant 27 + No final 1) = 11,172.
Now check out the full character set for a “Pro” Hangul font:
HYGothic-Medium = 20,287 characters
Pretty amazing right? The ㄱ set alone contains 1176 characters. And the ㄴ set contains 588 characters (half that of ㄱ because ㄱ can be doubled: ㄲ, but ㄴ cannot).
“Pro” Hangul fonts (like the one above) also include:
- Chinese (Hanja)
- Japanese (Hirigana and Katakana)
- Math (and other) symbols and wingdings
I’ve even seen some pastors effortlessly switch between Korean and Greek in the same font as they are preparing their sermons.