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Old 09-29-2011, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow important info about fonts for Sanskrit tattoos

I'm not sure how people are getting the Sanskrit texts found on this forum into a final design. Perhaps some tattoo artists are skilled Devanagari calligraphers (or have access to one), in which case they will rewrite it themselves. This will obviously give the best results, but I assume that most tattoo artists can't write devanagari, and people are copy-and-pasting into a word processor, blowing it up, and printing it out. If this is the case, PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE FONT YOU USE, because many don't print Sanskrit correctly.

For example, the standard Microsoft unicode font Mangal is not only hideous, but also renders many conjuncts (two or more consonants joined together) incorrectly. The same is true for many other popular Devanagari fonts. Modern Hindi uses fewer consonant combinations than Sanskrit, so even a well-designed font for modern usage can have trouble with a Sanskrit sentence.

There's no perfect free unicode font for Sanskrit at the moment, but in my experience the following are the most beautiful, with the fewest conjunct and kerning issues (in no particular order):

arial unicode MS (ships with MS Office)

devanagari MT (standard devanagari font on Mac)

ShiDeva

AA_NAGARI_SHREE_L3

Sanskrit 2003

Sanskrit 2003 seems to have every conceivable glyph, ShiDeva is the next most complete, while the others should render the proper conjuncts 95% of the time.

Last edited by BenOW; 07-28-2013 at 06:17 PM.
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