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Have you ever thought about where the fonts you type in Word come from? The first crowd-funding project for a Traditional Chinese font designed by Taiwanese is now under way.

Traditional Chinese has always been the pride of the Taiwanese culture and a variety of Chinese fonts can be found everywhere in our daily lives. However, it’s not commonly known that in the past decade there were less than five sets of fonts that were produced in Taiwan, which left us far behind the booming productions of the fonts in China, Hong Kong and Japan.

To change the current situation, a Taiwanese web font startup, justfont, revealed a crowd-funding project to create a new font, Jin Xuan, dedicated to the Taiwanese. 80 minutes after being introduced online, the font had already reached its set-up target of NT$ 1.5 million (approximately US$ 460,000), and they vow to depict a new landscape of the font culture in Taiwan.

Apple Daily reports, justfont says although Taiwan was once the hub of Chinese character designs, we can barely see any font that’s created by Taiwanese. The fonts today are either old works created ten years ago or imported products from Japan, Hong Kong and China. Taiwan has made almost no progress in designing new fonts in the past decade.

In comparison, Japan has launched around three thousand new fonts and China has about three hundred simplified Chinese fonts. Taiwan’s font industry has been incomplete and detached from the society. It would be a pity if we always need to follow other people’s steps regarding the fonts we use and perhaps even the future generations will have to learn how to write according to the fonts designed by others.

Business Next reports, with the launch of “handwriting" service in 2014 and the publication of the book, “Font Walking," justfont decided to propose the crowd-funding project “Jin Xuan" this year.

Justfont notes, “Jin Xuan" is a new font that’s both rational and emotional in style. It inherits its warm and luring form from the Ming font, while retaining its modernity with the simplicity poured from the Hei font. “Jin Xuan" hopes to highlight the uniqueness of Taiwanese fonts with the visual punch it reaches out to users.

An image of the font. Photo Credit: Screenshot from flyingV.

An image of the font. Photo Credit: Screenshot from flyingV.

Justfont says they hope the new font will become “the second basic font" being used in the short articles. They want “Jin Xuan" to be just like a pair of chinos that suits everyone.

As to why name the font “Jin Xuan"? Justfont points out that it hopes the font design can carry out the characteristics of Taiwanese culture. The Taiwanese are extremely into tea and the tea stalls that can be seen everywhere seem to be the modern representation of the Taiwanese tea culture.

“Jin Xuan" is the name of an authentic Taiwanese tea, with a fermentation degree that’s partially in the middle. Considering the design of the font has the characteristics of both the classic Ming and Hei fonts, the new font is considered to be similar to the trait of “Jin Xuan." Therefore, they named the font this way to pay tribute to the special tea culture in Taiwan.

Liberty Times reports, justfont also says that there is no shortcut to designing Chinese fonts. You must design it one stroke after another, and commonly used Chinese characters can be up to ten thousand characters. An experienced designer can only make up to ten characters a day. To complete a font set, it takes about two years with a very expensive cost. This has pushed most of the manufacturers away from developing new fonts, so the industry has decreased. Therefore, justfont chose to achieve their goals by fund-raising, hoping to break the vicious circle of the font industry in Taiwan.

Justfont originally estimated NT$ 1.5 million (approximately US$ 460,000) as their goal and launched a special offer that’s only available on the first day of fund-raising. Unexpectedly, the “Jin Xuan" reached the goal within 80 minutes. Until now, it has already received NT$ 17 million (approximately US$ 520,000), and this number is still growing.

Translated by Vic
Edited by Olivia Yang