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Free Font Friday: Kiwi Maru

by Taylor Slattery | May 14, 2021

Kiwi Maru is a serif typeface created by Hiroki for Moji Waku. Kiwi Maru was created to solve a very specific set of problems. Japanese typefaces bear the burden of containing thousands of unique Chinese characters, called Kanji, which can make the process of type design quite the undertaking. For this reason, there are several standard, widely used typefaces across digital devices due to their accessibility and completeness.

Due to the complicated structures of these characters, fitting them into small spaces requires very thin strokes. For this reason, utilitarian Japanese fonts can often feel overly-crisp and sterile, making them less expressive. Kiwi Maru features a pared-down selection of Kanji that more closely reflects common use and slang.

This more focused selection and the overall roundedness of the characters were designed in the hopes of inspiring more expressive communication. It’s got a neat, clean appearance while still retaining a bit of personality and not feeling overly formal. Its letterforms have a uniform stroke width and a tall x-height. Although all 3 of its weights are very similar, they each have great readability even at small sizes.

Kiwi Maru is available in English and Japanese alphabets with a curated selection of Kanji and can be found for free here.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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