As trade became globalised, Western countries realised that the Latin alphabet was not used everywhere. 1991 saw the introduction of the Unicode system, which classified the world's scripts by assigning each character a unique digital value that could be used on any computer.

A whole world of typography.

Thus, even though they are identical, the character Ω (used to denote ohm, a unit in physics) does not have the same code as Ω (omega, the final letter of the Greek alphabet). Some characters such as ligatures œ, fi, fl, st) are treated as distinct elements, while others (small capitals, for example) are considered to be sylistic variants, on the same level as italics. Punctuation, spaces, series of numbers (Arabic numbers, Roman numerals, superscripts, subscripts, etc.) all have a place in the Unicode system.

Following standardisation of Unicode among type designers and foundries digital fonts have, in recent years, tended to take on an international flavour. The Internet is now home to Greek and Cyrillic Garamonds, whose graphic solutions and appearance would not necessarily have disappointed a 16th-century punch-cutter.

Display timeline