Typography of Apple Inc.

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Apple Inc. has always used a large variety of typefaces in its marketing, operating systems, and industrial design. These always change throughout the years with Apple's change of style in their products. This is evident in the design and marketing of them.


For at least 18 years, Apple's corporate typeface was a custom variant of the ITC Garamond typeface called Apple Garamond. It was used alongside the Apple logo for product names on computers, in many ads and printed materials, and on the company's website. Since 2001, Apple has gradually shifted towards using Myriad in its marketing.

Motter Tektura[edit]

The Apple logo alongside the Motter Tektura typeface

Prior to the first Macintosh, alongside the apple symbol, Apple used a typeface called Motter Tektura,[1] which was designed in Austria by Othmar Motter of Vorarlberger Graphik in 1975 and distributed by Letraset (and also famously used by Reebok).[2] At the time, the typeface was considered new and modern. One modification to the typeface was the removal of the dot over the i. The s was also modified for the label on the Disk II 5.25-inch floppy disk drive.

According to the logo designer, Rob Janoff, the typeface was selected for its playful qualities and techno look, which were in line with Apple's mission statement of making high technology accessible to anyone. Janoff designed the logo in 1977 while working with Palo Alto marketer Regis McKenna.[3] The Apple logo's bite mark was originally designed to fit snugly with the Motter Tektura a.

In the early 1980s, the logo was simplified by removing computer ınc. from the logo. Motter Tektura was also used for the Apple II logo. This typeface has sometimes been mislabeled Cupertino, a similar bitmap font probably created to mimic Motter Tektura.

Apple Garamond[edit]

Apple Garamond was used in most of Apple's marketing.

Upon the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984, Apple adopted a new corporate font called Apple Garamond. It was a variation of the classic Garamond typeface, both narrower and having a taller x-height. Specifically, ITC Garamond (created by Tony Stan in 1977) was condensed to 80% of its normal width. Presumably, Apple felt that the existing ITC Garamond Condensed, at 64%, was too narrow. Bitstream condensed the font, subtly adjusted the stroke widths, and performed the hinting required to create the font, which was delivered to Apple as the Postscript font "apgaram".

In cases where the Apple logo was accompanied by text, it was always set in Apple Garamond. Aside from the company name, most of Apple's advertising and marketing slogans, such as "Think different.", used the font as well.

The typeface was virtually synonymous with Apple for almost two decades and formed a large part of the company's brand recognition. It was used not only in conjunction with the logo, but also in manuals and ads and to label products with model names.

Apple has not released the true Apple Garamond font. ITC briefly sold ITC Garamond Narrow—Apple Garamond without the custom hinting—as part of its Apple Font Pack in the 1990s. A version of the font was also included under a different name in some versions of Mac OS X prior to 10.3 as it was used by the Setup Assistant installation program.


Adobe's Myriad is the typeface that is used in Apple's modern marketing.

In 2002, Apple gradually started using a variant of the Adobe Myriad font family in its marketing and packaging. As new revisions of its products were released, the text changed from the serif Apple Garamond to the sans-serif Myriad Apple. The family's bolds were used for headlines, and other weights accordingly. The Myriad font family was designed by Robert Slimbach and Carol Twombly for Adobe. Adobe's most recent version of Myriad is Myriad Pro, which has some additional enhancements and character set extensions, but is not significantly changed in design. Myriad Apple, a modification produced by Galápagos Design Group, incorporates minor spacing and weight differences from the standard varieties, and includes Apple-specific characters, such as the company logo. Although originally promoted as Myriad, the iPod photo, 5th-generation iPod, and 1st- through 2nd-generation iPod nano feature a bitmap font known as Podium Sans, which is missing Myriad's trademark features, such as the splayed "M" and distinctive "y". In 2006, Myriad Apple was superseded by Myriad Set, which contains extra ligatures and other minor changes. As of November 2013, lighter fonts are prevalent in Apple's marketing, with headlines in Myriad Pro Light. Occasionally an even lighter variant of Myriad is used for specialized marketing materials and press releases.


Helvetica Black first appeared in Apple IIc packaging materials for the monitor, monitor stand, and Apple Modem 300 for the IIc in 1984. This is in contrast to the Garamond found on the main IIc packaging.

Since the introduction of the 1st-generation iPhone in 2007, Apple has used Helvetica in its software design. iOS for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV employs the font, alongside its use on iPods beginning with the 6th-generation iPod classic and 3rd-generation iPod nano. After the introduction of iOS 7 in June 2013, Apple began using an extra-thin weight of Helvetica Neue for the user interface of iOS 7, arousing numerous complaints about the less legible typography. For the final release of the operating system, Apple changed the system's font to a slightly thicker weight of Helvetica Neue, although some have complained that readability is still compromised compared to the font weight used in former versions of iOS. Older iOS devices continue to use Helvetica or Helvetica Neue in regular font weights that display with higher contrast on low-resolution displays. Apple started using Helvetica in its software design for OS X around 2012. iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and Apple's professional applications started to feature heavy use of Helvetica, while the majority of the OS X environment retained the comparatively more legible Lucida Grande typeface, which was designed specifically for on-screen use.

In June 2014, Apple announced that it would start using Helvetica Neue across the entire user interface of OSX 10.10 "Yosemite". This brought all of Apple's user interfaces in line, using Helvetica Neue throughout.

San Francisco[edit]

San Francisco was first shown off as the new system font for the Apple Watch wearable device for enhanced legibility and taller x-height for easy reading on a small display. It was widely speculated that San Francisco was going to be the long awaited font that Apple had been reportedly been developing for independent use in their products, and the name of the font was leaked in November 2014 when the WatchKit SDK was released to developers for Apple Watch app development.

On March 9, 2015 at an Apple event in Cupertino, San Francisco was spotted in use on the keyboard for the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display, but it was not spotted anywhere else in the software or any other typography on the exterior of the device, where Myriad was used. Three months later on June 8, 2015 at the WWDC 2015 conference in San Francisco, the new typeface replaced Helvetica Neue, previously used in the user interface for both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as the system font for both operating systems. The typeface is in use in the latest versions of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan.[4]

Other fonts used in Apple's marketing[edit]

Apple's first logo, drawn by Ronald Wayne.

Prior to adopting the bitten Apple as its logo, Apple used a complex logo featuring Isaac Newton sitting below an apple tree. The words APPLE COMPUTER CO. were drawn on a ribbon banner ornamenting the picture frame. The frame itself held a quotation from Wordsworth: "Newton...A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought...Alone." The logo was hand drawn and thus did not use an established font. However, the type is similar to Caslon, with some idiosyncratic details, such as an R deviating from the general style.

In the marketing of the Newton/Notepad/MessagePad PDA, Apple chose to use Gill Sans instead of the regular Apple Garamond. Gill Sans Regular was used in the logo, for the model name on the computer, the keyboard and in advertisement materials, though it was not used as a screen font (except as part of the Newton logo). Gill Sans was originally designed by Eric Gill around 1927–29 for the Monotype Corporation.


Six keys featuring Univers from a pre-2003 PowerBook G4
Univers was first used as the keyboard font of the Apple IIc.

Apple's keyboards were long labeled with Univers 57 (Condensed Oblique), a design choice by Apple's industrial design partner, Frog Design. This began in 1984 with the Apple IIc, which had tilted front-panel buttons to match the inclination of the lettering.

Univers was eventually replaced on Apple's keyboards by VAG Rounded, which was used on all iBook models, PowerBooks introduced after 2003, and MacBooks, MacBooks Pro, MacBooks Air, and Apple Keyboards from August 2007 until early 2015. The font was developed by Sedley Place Ltd. for German car manufacturer Volkswagen and was used in much of their marketing materials.[5]

On March 9, 2015, Apple introduced a new generation of Macbook[6] that utilizes the Apple designed San Francisco typeface. Apple had previously stated that it designed San Francisco “specifically for legibility on Apple Watch.”[7]

Fonts used in other products[edit]

Apple's earliest computers, along with other personal computers of the period, had extremely limited graphical capabilities and could originally display only uppercase ASCII using a set bitmap font. The IIc and Enhanced Apple IIe supported 40 or 80 columns of text and an extended character set called MouseText. It was used to simulate simple graphical user interfaces, similar to the use of ANSI X3.64. The latter versions of the Apple IIGS system software and Finder used very rectangular pixels (640 by 200), thus requiring a stout, 8-point bitmap font called Shaston 8 as the system font (for menus, window titles, etc.). Shaston was described in Apple IIGS technote #41 as "a modified Helvetica", but the similarities are not striking. The fonts of the original Macintosh were also available for the GS.

In 1993, Apple's Human Interface Group designed the typeface Espy Sans specifically for on-screen use. It was first used for the Newton OS GUI and later integrated into Apple's ill-fated eWorld online service. The Newton used the font Apple Casual to display text entered using the Rosetta handwriting recognition engine in the Newton. The same font found its way into the Rosetta-derived writing recognition system in Mac OS X—Inkwell. The TrueType font can be made available to any application by copying the font file, which is embedded in a system component, to any font folder. (See List of fonts in Mac OS X for more information.) The Newton logo featured the Gill Sans typeface, which was also used for the Newton keyboard.

Apple's eWorld also used the larger bold condensed bitmap font eWorld Tight for headlines. The metrics of eWorld Tight were based on Helvetica Ultra Compressed.

Until OS X 10.10, Lucida Grande was the standard font used in Mac OS X user interface elements, such as menus, dialog boxes, and other widgets. It has been superseded by Helvetica Neue.

When released in 2001, Apple's iPod music player reused the bitmap font Chicago from the original Macintosh GUI. Later versions of the iPod drew from the larger character repertoire of the TrueType Chicago, adding a number of characters not present in the bitmap Chicago, such as Greek and Cyrillic. Even though the screen supported grayscale, the characters were not anti-aliased.[citation needed]

The iPod mini uses the typeface originally designed for the Newton, Espy Sans. In the fourth-generation color iPod (formerly iPod Photo), Podium Sans had displaced Chicago as the user interface font. On newer models, such as the 3G iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod touch, Podium Sans has been replaced with Helvetica Neue Bold, the same typeface used throughout the iPhone user interface.

One of Apple's newest announced products, the Apple Watch, uses a brand new typeface called San Francisco.[8] The typeface has references to a number of different other typefaces, notably FF DIN (used in the UI of the Camera app in iOS 7 and above), Helvetica (used in the UI in iPhone OS to iOS 6), Helvetica Neue (used in the UI of iOS 7 and OS X Yosemite), Roboto (Google's new UI typeface), and Univers (used on Apple's early keyboard designs).[citation needed] At Apple's WWDC conference on June 8, 2015, iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 ('El Capitan') have been said to use a "new system font", which appears to be a modified version of the San Francisco Typeface that is wider than its Apple Watch counterpart, making it more akin to the previously used Helvetica.

See also[edit]

Apple Chancery by Kris Holmes, commissioned by Apple in 1993. Holmes had been taught calligraphy at Reed College, by the same tutors as Steve Jobs (though not at the same time). The font's goal was to include complex alternates to somewhat mimic the verve of Renaissance scribes.


  1. ^ "Steve Jobs Business Card from 1979", networkworld.com
  2. ^ "Reebok Classic Collection Vector logo", hdicon.com
  3. ^ "Worlds Best Logo Designer - Logo Designing - Logo Design - Logo Designer". robjanoff.com. 
  4. ^ Stinson, Liz (June 9, 2015). "WHY APPLE ABANDONED THE WORLD'S MOST BELOVED TYPEFACE". Wired. Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Typographic Abbreviations Series #2: VAG " MyFonts Musings". Myfonts.wordpress.com. November 17, 2006. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Apple Unveils All-New MacBook". March 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Color and Typography". developer.apple.com. March 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ Owen Williams (November 18, 2014). "Meet Apple’s new font, designed for its smartwatch Typeface". The Next Web. 

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