BC Sans Typeface
Typeface Version 2.0 (Webpage Updated: October 2023)
BC Sans (2.0) is an open-source "living" typeface developed for government to improve the readability and delivery of digital services. It was designed to support special characters and syllabics found in Indigenous Languages in B.C.
“FPCC was pleased to contribute expertise to the development of BC Sans 2.0, an important technology tool for First Nations in B.C. This free, open-source font makes it possible for community members and the general public to digitally render all characters used in the 34 First Nations languages of this land. The investment by the Government of B.C. to develop and adopt this font is an important step towards reconciliation.”
- Bridget Chase, FirstVoices Development Manager, an initiative of the First Peoples' Cultural Council (FPCC).
“BC Sans is a gesture towards bringing reconciliation to life.”
- Andrew Pratt, Former GCPE Graphic Communications Director and one of the initial founders of the BC Sans typeface
BC Sans is required for use on all new and current government webpages on gov.bc.ca, as well as government services hosted outside of gov.bc.ca. Gov.bc.ca webpages have already been updated, while those hosted outside are to be updated during maintenance.
Additionally, the Province is taking steps to include First Nations, Métis and Inuit languages in official government records, including ID, and in systems and services.
BC Sans is generally available on B.C. Government workstations, and under an open-font license, BC Sans may be freely distributed and installed on any computer. You can access the font files or supporting resources below.
Download Digital Font Files
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 125 KB)
- BC Sans Glyph Set (PDF, 301 KB)
- Character Encodings of BC Sans Glyphs (Github)
- NPM Packages
- Font Support for Developers/Programmers (Github)
- Unicode Programming Support for Developers/Programmers (Github)
BC Sans Keyboard/s
- BC Sans General Keyboard Layout (PDF, 225 KB)
- BC Sans: General Keyboard for Apple/Mac (ZIP, 325 KB)
- BC Sans: General Keyboard for Windows/PC (ZIP, 255 KB)
- Indigenous Community Specific Keyboards (FirstVoices)
Video Instructions: General Keyboard Installation
How to install BC Sans onto a computer
1. Download the BC Sans font files.
2. Un-ZIP the downloaded files.
For Windows 7, 8, 10
- Right click on the font file and click “Install”.
For Mac OS
- Double click the unzipped font file and Font Book will open a preview of the font.
- Click “Install Font” at the bottom of the preview window.
You may need to restart your applications before the newly installed font appears.
The Story of BC Sans
In late 2018 it was determined the text and typography on the gov.bc.ca website needed improvement. While Adobe Myriad Pro has supported the province’s visual brand online for several years, advances in browser and font technology had revealed some inconsistencies.
Gov.bc.ca’s new Digital Service Design System needed fonts that could be served along with the website files. The fonts also needed to compliment our visual identity typeface, Adobe Myriad Pro. An open-source license typeface would be ideal because the fonts would also need to be provided to government partners and contractors.
At the same time, government was concerned about support for multiple languages on our website, and importantly, Indigenous languages. A high-quality open-source typeface which included the required characters for this level of support was sought.
Several typefaces were examined that matched the criteria and a handful of these were tested. Noto Sans stood out as an option as it already had an extensive set of characters supporting over 800 languages, including many Indigenous languages in Canada. The typeface was also originally designed for enhanced readability on-screen.
Under an open-font license, Noto Sans presented the opportunity to access the font files and modify and improve its character sets. With expertise from a typographic Indigenous language expert, and from FirstVoices (an initiative of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council), additional characters and syllabic glyphs were added to support Indigenous languages in B.C. This new typeface was named BC Sans and first launched in 2019.
BC Sans (2.0) has been updated (2023) to include requested revisions from FirstVoices (character and syllabic revisions) and the B.C. Government (unicode changes). This new typeface version includes light, regular and bold characters with matching italics. It compliments our visual identity and has become synonymous with our digital services.
BC Sans appears on the gov.bc.ca website and new digital properties, and as a required update for remaining government digital properties hosted outside of gov. bc.ca. The font files are available to download from the B.C. Digital Service Design System and the B.C. Visual Identity Program web pages, as well as other locations (through a free open-font license).
Accessing the full multi-language character sets can be achieved by using certain graphic software or using installed “keyboards”.
BC Sans will be improved as we receive feedback from users.
BC Sans plays a role in government’s accessibility and inclusiveness efforts and helps to improve our service delivery for British Columbians. It aligns with B.C. Declaration Act Secretariat initiatives and a gesture towards bringing reconciliation to life.
For questions or concerns, please email: email@example.com
Disclaimer: The BC Government is not, in any way, demonstrating ownership. This font has been developed with the intention of supporting over 800 languages and 34 Indigenous-based Languages in B.C.