Meet Google’s new font design, optimized for reading at any font size.
what you need to know
- Google has announced a new font that should make it easier to read text online.
- The new Roboto Serif is designed to provide a comfortable reading experience for a variety of screen sizes and prints.
- It’s free to download and use, joining four other fonts in Roboto’s lineup.
A lot has changed since the early days of the internet, when there were only a few fonts designed to help make text easier to read on low-resolution screens. Back in 1996, people used to browse the web for less than 30 minutes a month, according to one researcher.
However, these days, we spend an average of 7 hours a day online, according to a recent study. In an effort to provide an ideal reading experience for longer periods of time, Google on Thursday announced a new font that it says makes online reading “more comfortable.”
Commercial Type was commissioned by Google to create a new font. Roboto Serif joins the Roboto family of fonts, which also includes Roboto Sans, Mono, Slab, and Condensed. Greg Gazdowicz of Commercial Type and his team experimented with different proportions, contrasting types and shapes to improve the legibility of the typeface.
“Our goal was to make a font that could be used for long-form news or novels—very long and involved; an immersive piece of text that you could read on your phone—without complaining about it,” Gazdowicz said.
The result is a font with four variable axes (via 9to5Google) and six optical sizes (micro, small text, text, deck, display, and poster). Its weight, width, size and grade can be adjusted. You can also choose from nine font versions.
Sarah Daily, Google Fonts consultant, wrote in a blog post:
The resulting aesthetic harmonizes with the rest of the Roboto superfamily, rather than replicating it in serif form. The curve is anchored to the decisive terminal, which can be minimized with just a “whisper” serif.
Roboto Serif is available for download through Google Fonts starting today, and you can use it for free. It should be easy to read on a variety of screen sizes, including the best Android phones and laptops, as well as in print.