Roboto is a neo-grotesque sans-serif typeface family developed by Google as the system font for its Android operating system. Google describes the font as "modern, yet approachable" and "emotional". The font is licensed under the Apache license. The entire font family was officially made available for free download on January 12, 2012, on the newly launched Android Design website. The family includes Thin, Light, Regular, Medium, Bold and Black weights with matching oblique styles. It also includes condensed styles in Light, Regular and Bold, also with matching oblique designs.
Available characters can be viewed at the Roboto page on Google Fonts.
The font was designed entirely in-house at Google by Christian Robertson, an interface designer for Google, who previously had released an expanded Ubuntu-Title font through his personal type foundry Betatype. It was released for the first time in 2011 with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Compared to Android's previous system font, the humanist sans-serif design Droid, it adopts a more stark grotesque design with oblique styles rather than true italics, and a wider range of weights.
Typography commentator Stephen Coles of typographica.org called Roboto “a Four-headed Frankenfont”, describing it as a “hodgepodge” of different typographic styles which end up not working well together. Other type design professionals called out obvious errors in accented glyphs, while John Gruber called the font a “Helvetica ripoff”. Joshua Topolsky, Editor-In-Chief of technology news and media network The Verge, describes the font as "clean and modern, but not overly futuristic – not a science fiction font".
On June 25, 2014, Matias Duarte announced at Google I/O that the Roboto typeface was significantly redesigned for Android "Lollipop", the newest version of the OS. The new version is available at the material design website. The most significant changes are seen in the glyphs R, K, g, 1, 6, 7, and 9. Additionally, punctuation marks and the tittles in the lowercase i and j have been changed from a square dot to a circle dot.
Roboto Slab is a slab serif font based on Roboto. It was introduced in March 2013, as the default font in Google's note-taking service Google Keep. It has been released in four weights: thin, light, regular and bold. Unlike regular Roboto, no oblique versions have been released for it.
- Droid, the default font for older versions of Android
- "New Design Philosophy of Ice Cream Sandwich". Engadget. Engadget. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- "Design of Roboto". MSN. MSN. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
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- "Association with Google and Betatype". Christian Robertson. Christian Robertson. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Roboto is a Four-headed Frankenfont". Typographica. Typographica. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- "Google's New Font". Wired. Wired. October 19, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- "Exclusive: Matias Duarte on the philosophy of Android, and an in-depth look at Ice Cream Sandwich". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
- Graham-Smith, Darien. Hands on with the new Google Maps, May 17th, 2013
- Spradlin, Liam. "Closer Look: Google Keep Actually Shipped With A New (Serif) Font – Introducing Roboto Slab". Android Police. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Official Roboto font download page
- Official Roboto Condensed font download page
- Official Roboto Slab font download page