Google release ‘new’ Roboto typeface

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Google today released an update to the Roboto font announcing the update on their developer blog.

For those of you unfamiliar with Roboto, it is a typeface and part of the sans-serif typeface family. Roboto was original introduced by Google along with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system and has remained since. Roboto became free to download back in January 2012 from the Android Design website.

In reality the news of the update will not be of significant value to the average user. However one of the main reasons for the update is to fit in line with the many changes we will be seeing with the release of Android L. According to Google this update is to sync more naturally with the Material Design Guidelines set-out by Google.

“Along with the Material Design guidelines we released a new version of the Roboto type family. A lot of things have changed as we tuned the font to work across more screen sizes and conditions, from watches to desktops, televisions to cars. It still keeps much of its character that made it successful for both phones and tablets, but almost every glyph has been tweaked and updated in some way”.

The changes are minor and do require attention to detail to fully appreciate the update although for programmers and designers these changes will probably be seen as a far more natural and smooth looking typeface. The most obvious differences include changes to the ‘R’ and ‘K’ which now have straighter lines towards their bases. The curves on the ‘O’ and ‘C’ have also been rounded more to provide a ‘friendlier’ look and feel. In addition the dots on top of the ‘i’ and ‘j’ are also more rounded than the previous squarer look.

new_roboto_compared_to_old

There were also subtle changes to the general rhythm and flow of the letters producing a more spacious overall look. As Google point out this is not immediately obvious by individual letters but will be kinder to look at when viewing text in general.

This isn’t apparent as you look at individual glyphs, but makes for a better texture on the screen“.

If you are interested in knowing more than follow the link to read the Roboto public announcement in full.

John Anon
A guy who has travelled too much and seen most of the world has to offer. Now just fascinated with technology with a specific focus on Android, custom mods and personalizing devices to represent us all better. When not playing with his phone or tablet can be found in the kitchen cooking up a storm.
  • paul4id

    ‘l’ and ‘I’ are still near indistinguishable, making it a hideous choice for an all-purpose UI font. They could at least update it with a lip on the ‘l’.