A few minutes ago I wrote about Alphabetum, the commercial Coptic font which uses the Bohairic typeface, and the way in which this limited people working with Coptic. This led me to think about the idea of commissioning a free font. Of course really this is something that a grant body should make happen.
A hunt around the web revealed that Keft, the free Coptic unicode font with the Sahidic typeface, was designed by Michael Everson of evertype.com. It seems that it was commissioned by the International Association of Coptic Studies, whose website is rather out of date and does not say so. I wonder what it cost? It seems that Stephen Emmell was responsible, and it sounds like a long and arduous process was involved!
Both these fonts support unicode 5.1 which matters for things like dots over letters (diacritics). Few of the other free fonts do.
I do wonder a bit about Coptic studies. Syriac studies is pretty free-wheeling, everyone is friendly, everyone wants to encourage people, and everyone just pitches in. In Coptic studies there seems to be a lot of stuffiness, a lot of “I’m far too important to reply” and general crustiness. I got that feeling again reading the stuff about Keft. Maybe that’s why I’ve never paid any attention to Coptic.