Alibaba Releases Free Font for Its Ecosystem

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba releases “Alibaba Sans” typeface and grants all members in its ecosystem free access to the font.

Debuted at the annual UCAN Design Conference in Hangzhou, the new font is designed to enable merchants and brands on Alibaba’s platforms to express their brand identity in a simple and beautiful way.

More than 4,000 creatives gathered in Hangzhou this year to attend Alibaba Group’s UCAN Design Conference, now in its fifth year. (Source: Alibaba)

“We would like to make this new typeface an inclusive resource for all our partners and customers across the globe, and for free,” said Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group. “We are taking a concrete step forward to helping small- and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the digital economy through the power of design.”

Source: Alibaba
Source: Alibaba

The Alibaba Sans family, designed by Akira Kobayashi from the U.S.-based typeface design company Monotype, consists of two styles and 11 weights that allow aesthetically pleasing displays from small to large sizes across any device. It supports 172 languages and puts a strong emphasis on numerals and currency symbols.

Alibaba Sans’ lowercase “a” features characteristics such as a shortened arc and an extended curve of the bowl, creating an energetic and friendly effect that makes the font distinctly “Alibaba,” the company said. (Source: Alibaba)

“Alibaba Group faced a common but significant branding challenge, in that it needed to convey its brand values across a wide range of environments, both physically and digitally,” said the designer Mr.Kobayashi.

In recent years, there have been lawsuits by font companies against merchants on Alibaba’s platforms over unauthorized uses of their fonts. The introduction of “Alibaba Sans” might prevent such illegal uses in the future.

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