Welcome to Bembino

A high-quality, FREE, multi-lingual digital font

[Originally published on our first website on 16 May 2012, with updates there and here]

"Bembino" Booklet CoverNewly launched:  Version 1.4 (April 2017)

Now we issue the newest version of Bembino.  Years in the making, through consultation with scholars, students, and readers in a wide range of fields, this font is designed to allow multiple languages to live in harmony on the same page.  Version 1.4 provides requested updates, and, for the first time since Version 1.0, supplies an updated version of the accompanying Booklet (available below).

Both the font and the companion Booklet, which describes the aims and illustrates its approach, belong among our Publications. Evolving hand-in-hand with the development of the font, the principles and practices for layout design are demonstrated in our updated Style Manifesto.

Responding to requests, this font has appeared already in Versions 1.0 and 1.1, supplied through our first website (formerly ““), then in Version 1.2 (2014–2015), supplied through the new version of our website (You are Here), next in Version 1.3 (May 2015), and now in Version 1.4 (April 2017).

Our new website shows the font in use. Our downloadable Style Manifesto displays its features, in keeping with our principles for layout and design.  The Interview with our Font and Layout Designer describes some of the processes and thought-processes involved.  (Booklet Included.)

All Told (So Far)

So far, in addition to the International Phonetic Alphabet and a wide range of diacritics (accents), the languages supported by the font are:

  • most Western languages using the Latin alphabet
    (old languages included, such as Old English, Old Irish, etc.)
  • Greek (both modern and polytonic)
  • the Russian subset of the Cyrillic languages
  • Hebrew (including the Masoretic markings)
  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Armenian (upright and italic)
  • the diacritics for transcribed Ethiopic Ge’ez
  • Runes (upright only)
  • Thai (upright and italic)
  • some glyphs for Japanese Hiragana and Katakana symbols, and
  • a set of Chinese/Japanese Kanji glyphs (in the Minchō style), covering at least the first-grade reading level.

Astrological and Astronomical Symbols in Bembino 1.3The Japanese characters are only available so far in the “Regular, Roman” font in a single weight.  There are now a total of 289 Kanji characters (Chinese and Japanese combined).   These glyphs are sufficient to set simple examples of Japanese sentences.  Further Kanji glyphs will be added as time (and demand) allows.

Other symbols are also included in the font by request:

  • the astrological and astronomical symbols required for casting horoscopes and other celestial diagrams (shown at the right)

Examples of these symbols in use for a set of Zodiac greeting cards and birthday cards are shown here; they are available to order here, with profits donated to the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence.

We welcome suggestions, feedback, and requests.

What is New

Bembino Version 1.4 is now available for download.  It contains the following additions to Version 1.3:

  • Added Armenian (upright and italic)
  • Added Thai (upright and italic)
  • Added Runes (upright only, with a sample here, as previewed in July 2015)
  • Added more Chinese/Japanese Kanji (upright only)
  • Corrected one upright Greek glyph (a missing iota subscript)

The accompanying Booklet has also been updated with new Font Tables and examples.  The booklet is available in two formats:

  • Book1.4.pdf is suitable for printing on letter-sized paper
  • Booklet1.4.pdf is suitable for printing double-sided on 11 x 17 paper and folding into a booklet.

In an advance from the earlier Versions, we offer two “flavors” for the Booklet, depending upon your printing preferences.  This practice began with the report on some New Testament Leaves in Old Armenian (October 2015), issued in a booklet which employed, and previewed, the Armenian designed especially for the purpose, awaiting inclusion in this new Version of Bembino (Version 1.4).  Already we have found that both “flavors” are chosen frequently for your downloads of that “Armenian” Booklet.  This time, the second flavor of the new Bembino Booklet allows for a compact, small-format version.

What’s Next:  Prospects for the Next Version

Cover for the Report on 'Two Detached Manuscript Leaves containing New Testament Texts in Old Armenian' by Leslie J. French for the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, with a detail of Leaf I verso, column a lines 10-12, with the opening of Acts 23:12We invite suggestions and requests.  For example, we ask for advice about the runes so far and which others should be included.

Please let us know if there are specific runic alphabets or other symbols that would suit your requirements.

Requests have lead at various stages to the inclusion in Bembino of the Ethiopic diacritics, runes, elements of Armenian, the astrological and astronomical symbols, and, now incorporated in Version 1.4, glyphs for Thai and the remedy for the Greek iota subscript.  Sometimes, our Publications incorporate the new designs already before the next Version of the font is ready to launch.  Such was the case, for example, with the report on some New Testament Leaves in Old Armenian (October 2015), which reported some new finds, transcribed its texts, and showcased the new additions to Bembino.

What’s Next?  Let us know!  Watch this space!

Download Bembino and its Booklet Here

Poster for "Medieval Writing Media" Congress Session (13 May 2011)Poster 1 for "Identity & Authenticity" Symposium (22-23 March 2013)You can access the font, the explanatory Booklet with sample texts and tables for Version 1.2, and installation instructions here:

  • Download Bembino 1.4 (with installer and NEW booklet, optionally both in letter-size and in foldable small-format form, describing the updated font, its aims, and its abilities)
  • Download Bembino 1.3 (with installer and EARLIER booklet describing the font, its aims, and its abilities)
  • Download Bembino 1.2 (with installer and booklet describing the font, its aims, and its abilities)

For example, Installation with Windows 7 progresses this way:

  • Unzip the file into any folder on disk.
  • Select the .oft file (or files).
  • Right-Click with mouse.
  • Select “Install”.
  • Confirm Admin privileges if required.


"Bembino" Booklet CoverRemember, Bembino is FREE.  Our booklet describes why.  The font has been generously donated to the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, which holds the copyright, to prevent any one else from attempting to make money from it.

Please Contact Us if you find glitches with installing or using the font.

Please let us know also if you wish to suggest additions to, or corrections for, the font and to receive updates for it as they emerge.


We always enjoy receiving notices of where the font appears in your compositions and publications. We hope that you enjoy it.

We appreciate acknowledgements and we welcome donations.  Contributions in many ways help to support our nonprofit mission and activities.

Anyone might help, and in many ways.  We survive, and thrive, through volunteer contributions as well as funds.  (All of our Officers and other contributors are volunteers, and we welcome newcomers.)

Aid in funds and in kind — materials, time, expertise, and so on — would enable us to continue our services and activities.

Please join our Contributions & Donations.  We welcome your help.

You might subscribe to our RGME-newsletter ShelfMarks and notices of our events here.  Please join the discussions on our Facebook Page.

Enjoy Bembino!