Martel Sans is a humanist-style sans serif and a libre font development project. I designed it together with Mathieu Réguer; the fonts are available, libre and gratis. As a typeface, Martel Sans is designed for setting immersive-style documents; it may be be used to for long passages of text in languages written with either the Latin or the Devanagari scripts – including Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Nepali and Sanskrit, as well as most European languages.
As a student at the University of Reading in 2007–2008, I drew a small family of Latin and Devanagari type as part of the MA Typeface Design course. These were serif letters, not sans, but they were the first works I gave the Martel name to. In early 2009, I expanded the number of Latin-script fonts from that project, releasing them through Linotype under the name Malabar. Malabar went on to win several design awards, which was really cool.
In 2014, I finally revisited the Devanagari portion of my old MA coursework. I completed the single Devanagari face I initially designed at Reading, and then expanded it into a seven weight family. These fonts, called Martel Devanagari, were released as OpenSource fonts in 2014. The Devanagari portions of Martel Sans fonts may be used together with Martel Devanagari.
While Martel Sans is ready for use today, you might want to view the fonts as public beta software. Although the letters’ sidebearings have been carefully set, the font files currently include no kerning data. The fonts also have only one set of figures (tabular lining) – at least if you don’t count the Devanagari figures. Future updates will include proportional lining figures, oldstyle figures, etc. Small caps are also in the works. The Martel Sans family currently includes seven weights. All of the fonts are upright; italics may be developed at a later time.
The typeface name “Martel” comes from Charles Martel, a Frankish statesman and military leader in the eighth century; Charlemagne was his grandson.