Neoteric Plumbing Mishap


    0.4.3 • Public • Published


    This Sass micro-library provides a simple way to work with a pre-defined set of presumably web-safe font stacks. Two functions and a single mixin provide a bit of syntactic sugar to make it easier to prepend any of the existing fonts stacks with an arbitrary number of fonts.

    What this library won't do is output an @import declaration for web fonts. For that you'll want to turn to something like Sass Web Fonts but be warned: CSS imports are an anti-pattern, good for the developer and bad for performance.

    Read the announcement on my blog.


    Download/clone this repo or install with either npm (npm install sass-font-stacker --save-dev) or Bower (bower install sass-font-stacker -D). Then simply @import sass-font-stacker somewhere in your code (as long as this project is included in your load paths anyway).

    This project has no dependencies. Requirements: Sass 3.3+.


    This library defines a mixin and a utility function that accept an arbitrary list of fonts. The last items in the list (or the only item, as the case may be) must be the name of one of the font stacks included in the $k-font-stacks map variable (browse source for a full list).

    @mixin k-font-family($fonts...)
    @function k-font-stack($fonts...)

    An example with two leading fonts:

    @import "sass-font-stacker/font-stacker";
    body {
      @include k-font-family("PT Serif", "PT Serif Pro", georgia);

    This will render:

    body {
      font-family: "PT Serif""PT Serif Pro"Georgia"Palatino Linotype", Palatino, "URW Palladio L""Book Antiqua""Times New Roman"serif;

    You can also get a little closer to the base metal:

    body {
      font-family: k-font-stack(georgia);

    Which will output:

    body {
      font-family: Georgia"Palatino Linotype", Palatino, "URW Palladio L""Book Antiqua""Times New Roman"serif;

    Note that the only required argument is the last argument which should be one of the pre-defined font stacks. This way you can prepend an arbitrary number of web fonts using syntax that doesn't stray too far from what you'd be doing otherwise. If something goes horribly wrong there is a backup defined by $k-font-stack-default which is currently set to courier (so it'll be readily apparent that you've requested a stack that could not be found).

    The second utility function returns a font stack without the generic term (e.g. sans-serif, monospace, etc.) at the end. The purpose of this is to allow for font stacks to be welded together as needed (with an eye toward international font sets). For instance:

    body {
      font-family: k-font-stack("Noto Sans", k-font-stack-trim(helvetica), k-font-stack-trim(zh-heiti-tc), sans-serif);

    This will return a declaration that includes Chinese fonts at the end.

    Font stacks

    The font stacks themselves result from a combination of research, experience, guesswork, and idle whim. I don't pretend to be an expert in these matters but then again, who is? Most of the articles written about web-safe font stacks are five years old and usage data is lousy and poorly sourced. I have at least gone to the trouble of sprinkling most font stacks with a few free and open source alternatives so as to not ignore Linux users the way some designers do.

    At any rate, you aren't locked into using what I have compiled here. Want to define your own font stacks on a per-project basis? Add to the $k-font-stacks global:

    $k-font-stacks: map-merge($k-font-stacks, (
      helvetica-only: (Helvetica, sans-serif)

    Sane pull requests are also welcome!

    Chinese font stacks

    This package also includes Chinese character support, both traditional and simplified. For more about using these fonts check out Kendra Schaefer's Chinese font guide, the complete beginner's guide to Chinese fonts, and Yale's Chinese font reference. For a native Chinese approach check out Zeno Zeng's fonts.css.



    Many of these font stacks are modifications of font stacks I've collected over the years. Many of my sources are no longer online. Among those that are: this post by Michael Tuck, this post on A Way Back, this post on Mighty Meta, some tips about Futura and Century Gothic on Intavent, a cursory inspection of Dan's Tools, and the Wayback Machine.




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