Google’s new retro-style font brings back serifs for more comfortable reading


Google has a new version of its Roboto font and is bringing back serifs: the aptly named Roboto Serif, designed in collaboration with Greg Gazdowicz of Commercial Type to create a more readable serif almost to its Roboto Sans font.

However, the new font isn’t just the old Roboto letters with a few serifs on them: instead, each letter has been drawn from scratch to create a font that “thinks of Roboto, but is a new and original design,” according to Google UX. manager Rob Giampietro. The new font still uses the same vertical proportions of Roboto Sans, making it possible to mix the serif and sans serif versions in one design.

It probably also helps that coarser, retro-style serif fonts are making a big comeback in style after years of minimalist sans serif designs dominating, as noted by Vox† Serif fonts are also considered easier to read, thanks to the clearer letterforms, something Google’s new font expands on because it’s a variable font that can automatically change and optimize the letterforms for displays of different sizes.

Google has been using its Roboto font in one form or another for over a decade; it was first introduced alongside Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as the default font for the company’s mobile operating system. Roboto has seen many variants over the years, although it is slowly but steadily being replaced as the company’s primary font by Product Sans (and its Google Sans variants, aka the “Pixel” font) in its various products. .

For now, Roboto Serif will simply be added to Google Fonts as another option for the company’s Roboto family of open-source fonts — but it’s entirely possible that Google will start using the new, friendly-looking font in its own marketing as well.

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