The Minion® design is an old-style serif typeface designed by Robert Slimbach of Adobe Systems and was released in 1990 by Linotype. This typeface encapsulates the aesthetic appeal of the Renaissance and the exceptional readability of typefaces of the day. For this reason, Minion has proved to be a popular font for on-screen use.
The inspiration for Slimbach’s design came from late Renaissance period classic typefaces in the old serif style. The Renaissance period was noted for its elegant and attractive typefaces that were also highly readable. The name Minion is derived from the traditional classification and naming of typeface sizes, minion being a size in between brevier and nonpareil. It approximates to a modern 7 point lettering size.
The Minion design’s lowercase characters use old-style glyphs in keeping with its Baroque typeface roots. These are most noticeable on the lowercase “g” and “q”. Subtle, but important, details allow the upper and lower case to match well and sit comfortably next to each other. The letter “z” in both cases has the tell-tale heavy dropped serif and matching line thicknesses. The strokes of the upper and lower case “y”, with its italicized narrowing of the secondary stroke, reinforce the strength of the primary stroke. Interestingly, the “Z” character has a thick stroke in perpendicularity to the “Y”, and though it may look a little odd on close examination, within a body of text it enhances readability by providing good differentiation between adjacent letters.
The overall appearance of the Minion design is very much related to the appearance of mass-produced publications of late Renaissance but there is an added touch of classic typography design not possible with older, inaccurate print machinery. This new take on those old styles has produced a crisper outline. The Minion typeface family has been expertly crafted to retain great readability by producing a print clarity that even the best of the Renaissance typographers could not manage.
The popularity of this font is demonstrated by the sheer number of versions that exist. Adobe has created over one hundred and forty-three variations, ranging from basic styles to extended sweeping serif styles and even a set of ornamental characters that match the Minion design characteristics. In keeping with the spirit of healthy competition, many renowned type foundries have produced some version of the Minion family at some point in the last 30 years.
The original Minion designs by Slimbach were updated with Cyrillic editions in 1992 and OpenType® versions released in 2000.
The Minion design is an ideal typeface to use where high levels of legibility are required. This aspect makes it an ideal font for newspapers who are trying to get as much copy onto every square inch of paper they can. Its clarity helps readability for both young and old.
The Minion font family excels in instances where instructions have to be followed precisely – critical applications where words cannot be misinterpreted. An operator manual for air traffic control might be a good example. Packaging and newsletters are another potential application for the Minion typefaces. For anyone publishing mathematical formulaic content, adding the Minion math set can makes the Minion design immensely useful.
Several universities use Minion as their primary typeface in title and body text, including Wake Forest, Brown, Purdue and Trinity College Dublin. Wolfram Research’s Mathematica software logo uses this typeface and John Benjamin’s Publishing Company uses Minion in the body text of its books.
Licenses for desktop fonts
A typical desktop font EULA will allow you to install the font on your computer for use with authoring tools including word processors, design tools and other applications that permit font selection. Fonts can also be used for creation of print documents, static images (JPEG, TIFF, PNG) and logos. The cost of a desktop font license is determined by the number of workstations on which the font is to be used.View the desktop EULA for this family
Licenses for Fonts.com Web Fonts subscriptions
The Fonts.com Web Fonts license provides access to a selection of fonts for use on websites for use with CSS@font-face. Font delivery from our global network is available through all subscriptions – even our free plan. Some plans include the option to self-host, access to desktop fonts, and use of our FontExplorer X font manager and Typecast design application. The price of a plan is determined by its pageview allowance and other features included.View the Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription license agreement
Licenses for mobile apps
A mobile app license permits the embedding of the font into the iOS, Android or Windows RT mobile platforms. Licenses are platform-specific meaning a separate license is required for each platform the font is embedded into. Licenses remain valid for the total operating life of the app and a new license is not required to cover free updates to the app.Learn more about licenses for mobile apps
Licenses for electronic publications (eBooks)
An electronic publication license can be used for the embedding of fonts into electronic documents including e-books, e-magazines and e-newspapers. A license covers only a single title but is valid for the full operating life of that title. Every issue of an e-magazine, e-newspaper or other form of e-periodical is considered a separate, new publication. Format variations do not count as separate publications. If a publication is updated and distributed to existing users, a new license is not required. However, updated versions issued to new customers are defined as new publications and require a separate license.Learn more about licenses for eBooks
Server licenses authorize the installation of a font on a server that is accessed by remote users or website visitors. These licenses are commonly used by Web-based businesses providing goods that are personalized by its users such as business cards, images with captions and personalized merchandise. Users are not allowed to download the font file and the font may not be used outside the server environment. The font may not be employed for a software as a service (SaaS) application in which the service is the actual product and not the means of providing the product. Server licenses cover a set number of CPU cores on production servers (development servers are not counted) on which the font is installed. The license is valid for 1 year.Learn more about server licenses