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Bring balance to your text with New Zen

New Zen, Newlyn’s fine-tuned new release, proves that rounded sans serifs aren’t just for kids.

With a keen sense of style, Miles Newlyn continues to devise original, eminently useful type families mainly destined for branding, editorial, and corporate use. His latest release is New Zen, a sans serif with gently rounded stroke endings. Designed in collaboration with Elena Schneider, New Zen stems from Newlyn’s research into making the heavier weights of rounded typefaces look less childish, an issue he became aware of after designing several rounded typefaces for clients.

Zen breadth

The jovial lowercase g adds to New Zen’s good-natured practicality.

New Zen is open and accessible, with a twinkle in its eye. Its slightly narrow, space-saving design has conventional, well-balanced features and proportions. On the surface, the letterforms look straightforward. Their simplified humanist structure has open apertures that give the typeface an agreeable breeziness, a quality reinforced by the rounded finish of the strokes. Look more closely, and you start noticing witty details like the cheerful e, the happy-go-lucky g, and the subtle bend in the stems of the italic styles that puts a spring in their step.

Design Details

New Zen transitions from perfectly smooth, flexible light weights to more calligraphic bold weights, with surprising corners in the inside shapes and curve-to-corner connections in the capitals.

With maximum usability in mind, Newlyn provides a fair number of styles: seven weights from Thin to ExtraBold, all with matching italics. When increasing the weight in a rounded design, one of the principal challenges is maintaining a sophisticated appearance: heavier weights often start to resemble what is affectionately known as “sausage type.” Newlyn’s solution is both clever and elegant. Starting with the limber and delicate Thin, the lightest weights are almost perfectly monolinear, resembling neon letters or characters drawn with a fineliner pen. Working toward the bold end of the spectrum, Newlyn gradually adds an ever-so-subtle amount of contrast. Then, from the Medium weight on, he introduces almost imperceptible corners at the top left and bottom right of the inner shapes and at strategic points in the capitals. As those features become increasingly pronounced, New Zen acquires a lovely calligraphic quality that sets its apart from other designs in the same genre.

As with his other type families, Newlyn has equipped New Zen with an Accessibility Set. Accessibility compliance is not just kind—it makes good business sense, too. Everyone, regardless of ability, should be able to read your communications easily across all mediums. In accordance with the guidelines of the W3C, New Zen includes alternate glyphs for improved legibility. Activating Stylistic Set 1 increases differentiation between i, I, J, and 1. The comprehensive character set supports all Latin-based languages, and includes lining and hanging figures, plus a handy set of arrows.


New Zen shows considerable breadth. Its seven weights range from Thin to ExtraBold, all with matching italics.

New Zen is an adaptive and flexible sans serif family with a broad range. It hits a sweet spot between businesslike and friendly, with a touch of tech. Put to good use, it will imbue your text with a tone that is bright, inclusive, and warm.

Like all Newlyn fonts, New Zen is available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things Newlyn, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.