Work Sans typeface notes

Table of contents

You can find here my notes for the Work Sans typeface. Work Sans is designed by Wei Huang and is published under the SIL Open Font License Version 1.1.

Opinions & notes

Description from the creator and some personal notes in the end. The following quotes are from the project’s site.

Work Sans is based loosely on early Grotesques — i.e. Stephenson Blake, Miller & Richard and Bauerschen Giesserei.

The core of the fonts are optimized for on-screen medium-sized text usage (14px-48px) – but still can be used in print well. The fonts at the extreme weights are designed more for display use.

My notes

  • It has a variable font.
  • It’s playful and has a ton of features for an open-source typeface.


I load the variable version of Work Sans. Below is the exact version of the variable fonts I use.

Version 2.007; ttfautohint (v1.8.1.43-b0c9)

A peep at some distant orb has power to raise and purify our thoughts like a strain of sacred music, or a noble picture, or a passage from the grander poets. It always does one good.

OpenType features

Work Sans supports 39 layout features. It supports features essential for body text, such as old-style numbers (onum), proportional numbers (pnum), small caps, and it also has a ton of stylistic sets. It also has support for stylistic features such as swashes (swsh, cswh) and discretionary ligatures (dlig). The following table shows some of the most interesting to me:

Feature codeResultDefaultNotes
swshA E F L M N R S TA E F L M N R S TCapital swashes
swshn r t yn r t yLowercase swashes
cswhRealityRealityContextual swashes compared to swashes
dligeffect stationeffect stationDiscretionary ligatures
cswh + dligRocksteadyRocksteadyContextual swashes and discretionary ligatures combined
ornm• “ ” ‘ ’ ¶• “ ” ‘ ’ ¶Ornaments
ss02llLowercase l without a tail.
ss03RRCapital R alternate
ss04GGCapital G alternate
ss06aaSingle story lowercase a

Interesting characters

For more interesting characters see the OpenType features above, check the playground, or get a copy from GitHub and drop it in the Wakamai Fondue app to discover them yourself.

  • G
  • J
  • Q
  • a
  • e
  • g
  • l
  • m
  • §
  • $

Character support

According to Wakamai Fondue, it has 753 characters and 1410 glyphs. The font files cover the majority if not all of the following Unicode sets.

Latin Extended-AU+0100-017F
Latin Extended-BU+0180-024F
Latin Extended AdditionalU+1E00-1EFF

Not complete sets (below 50%)

Total characters = 48. This means that the typeface supports only specific languages/characters from these Unicode blocks. See the project’s site for detailed language support.

IPA ExtensionsU+0250-02AF1 char
Spacing Modifier LettersU+02B0-02FF19 chars
Combing Diacritical MarksU+0300-036F25 chars
GreekU+0370-03FF3 chars

Weights & styles

It comes in 9 weights with matching italics. It’s also available in a variable font format with a weight variation axis that supports weights from 100 to 900.

Other things to read