'Phags-pa Tibetan

by Arakun

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My take on the Mongolian 'Phags-pa script designed by the Tibetan monk Phagspa in 1269, based on the Tibetan script, to write Mongolian, Tibetan, Sanskrit and Chinese. This font is based on the Tibetan style which consists almost entirely of straight lines and right angles. It seemed like a prime candidate for a FontStruct treatment. I've added rounded corners and serifs to make it more visually interesting.

The script is written in vertical columns top-to-bottom and left-to-right and thus needs to be rotated 90° clockwise and the columns then reversed.

'Phags-pa was added to the Unicode standard in version 5.0 in 2006. This font however uses an ad-hoc mapping to Ascii characters which admittedly doesn't always make sense. I kind of gave up in the end and started assigning a bunch of letters to digits. Letters are connected into syllable block by a thin line (mapped to '-'), usually on the right-hand side. A straight line clashed wth the serifs so I made it into a small arch.

The script is an abugida: the vowel ‹a› is inherent in each syllable and thus not written.


"May You Enjoy Prosperity" in Tibetan (Source). The original has the connecting lines going through the center instead of the right hand side. Most longer text samples I've found are just lists of all the letters.

Comment by Arakun 15th july 2016

Beautiful. 10/10

Comment by Frodo7 15th july 2016

Very beautiful and great to see some more non-latin fonts on fontstruct!

Comment by four 16th july 2016

Thanks, both of you! It really means a lot. Expect more non-latin scripts in the future.

Comment by Arakun 16th july 2016
Congratulations! FontStruct Staff have deemed your FontStruction worthy of special mention. “'Phags-pa Tibetan” is now a Top Pick.
Comment by Rob Meek (meek) 18th july 2016

Congratulations on the TP, the font is elegant and simply beautiful, well done.

Comment by Aeolien 18th july 2016

I would rate this if I knew how to read tibetan.

Comment by OddBean14 OddBean14 (OddBean14Fʋck) 11th august 2016

@ oddbean:You don't need to read Tibetan,the creator respected your lacking Tibetan education(you said you're a perfectionist?!)translating for you.So you rate, not the language but the font

Comment by Aeolien 11th august 2016

@oddbean: I'm a writing systems geek. I don't really know any Tibetan either. I just wanted a sample in one of the languages this writing system was developed for.

Comment by Arakun 11th august 2016

ꡖꡍꡂꡛ ꡌ :))

Comment by Atlantis L. (Jack Lee Jie) 31st august 2016

Text in the sample: ꡀꡩꡱꡚꡦ ꡛꡖꡎꡘ ꡖꡂꡊꡟꡘ ꡂꡄꡞꡂ꡷

Note: The text above may visually differ from the ones in the sample, but that is due to the fact that they are in different cases, i.e. Standard 'Phags-pa and Tibetian 'Phags-pa. Unicode only supports Standard, and no 90° adjustment.

Comment by Atlantis L. (Jack Lee Jie) 31st august 2016

@VitKillen: I noticed a few errors in your text. The Tibetan style can be hard to read though. In fact, a few of the letters are completely identical while others have alternate forms. For completeness' sake I'll post the sample text in tibetan and latin scripts. The 'Phags-pa text is divided into syllables. I might give the standard style a try at some point. Some of the rounded shapes might pose a problem though.

'Phags-pa: ꡎꡀꡱ ꡚꡞꡛ ꡖꡎꡘ ꡖꡂꡨꡟꡘ ꡂꡄꡞꡂ꡷

Tibetan: བཀྲ་ཤིས་འབར་འགྱུར་གཅིག༎

Wylie transcription: bkra shis 'bar 'gyur gcig//

My crazy ad hoc scheme: b-k-RS-i-sa-b-ra-g-Y-u-rg-c-i-g//

Comment by Arakun 31st august 2016

A more interesting sample for the 'Phags-pa font made using Inkscape and Gimp (which I'm still not comfortable with despite abandoning Photoshop many years ago). The image displays the letters used for Tibetan. It does not display any vowel diacritics or subjoined consonants nor any of the letters used for Mongolian, Sanskrit or Chinese. I have made use of some alternate forms as well as some decorative punctuation marks to balance the columns.

Comment by Arakun 3rd october 2016

A great sample, the frame and colours show the beauty of the font.

Comment by Aeolien 3rd october 2016

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