Open Sans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Open Sans
Open Sans sample.svg
Designer(s)Steve Matteson
FoundryAscender Corporation
Date created2010[1]
Date released2011[2]
LicenseApache License 2.0

Open Sans is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Steve Matteson, commissioned by Google and released in 2011. It is based on his previous Droid Sans design, designed for Android mobile devices, but slightly wider.

Featuring wide apertures on many letters and a large x-height (tall lower-case letters), the typeface is highly legible on screen and at small sizes. It belongs to the humanist genre of sans-serif typefaces, with a true italic. As of July 2018 it is the second most served font on Google Fonts, with over four billion views per day on more than 20 million websites.[3]


Open Sans is popular in flat design-style web design.[4]

Open Sans is used in some of Google's web pages as well as its print and web advertisements. It is used as Mozilla's default typeface for websites until 2019, and in the Telegram Desktop app. It is the official font of the UK's Labour, Co-operative, and Liberal Democrat parties.[citation needed] Chase Bank uses Open Sans as its primary font for print, branches, TV, Web, and mobile apps.

Used in WordPress 3.8 which was released on December 12, 2013.[5]


According to Google, it was developed with an "upright stress, open forms and a neutral, yet friendly appearance" and is "optimized for legibility across print, web, and mobile interfaces."[3] Its design is similar to that of Matteson's Droid Sans, created as the first user interface font for Android phones, but with wider characters and the inclusion of italic variants.[6] Explaining the different name, Matteson has said "Droid was intentionally narrow for mobile screens but it didn’t have ‘narrow’ in the name. Open Sans isn’t really ‘extended’ so that wasn’t really an option either. A new family name is the direction they chose."[7]

Unicode support[edit]

The character repertoire contains 897 glyphs, covering the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets with a wide range of diacritics.

In January 2014 Israeli type designer Yanek Iontef released an extension font covering the Hebrew alphabet with support for Niqqud (but not Cantillation marks) for early access.[8] The extension font went on to become popular and to be used by prominent institutions such as Tel Aviv University in its 2016 rebranding, and by the Haaretz website.[9]


Open Sans has five weights (300 Light, 400 Normal, Semi-Bold 600, Bold 700 and Extra Bold 800), each of them with an italic version, totaling ten versions. It has a number of stylistic alternates, such as a seriffed capital 'I' (for situations where this could be confused with a number '1' or lower-case 'l') and a selectable choice between a single and double-story 'g'. Numbers can be set as tabular or proportional lining figures or as proportional text figures.[10]

Open Sans Condensed[edit]

Open Sans Condensed has three styles: light, bold and light italic.[11] As of 2021, no "regular" or "bold italic" versions have been released.

Open Serif[edit]

Matteson designed as a companion slab serif typeface the Open Serif family. This family, not open-source, is sold by Steve Matteson.[12]


  1. ^ fonts2u: Open Sans, "2010-12-20"
  2. ^ Typedia: Open Sans
  3. ^ a b "Open Sans". Google Fonts. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  4. ^ Reid, Geri (April 29, 2013). "The flat design trend - where to from here?". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Mullenweg, Matt (12 December 2013). "WordPress 3.8 "Parker"". WordPress News. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  6. ^ Middendorp, Jan. "Creative Characters: Steve Matteson". MyFonts. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  7. ^ Moss, Ben. "Interview: Steve Matteson". Webdesigner Depot. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  8. ^ "אופן סאנס – גופן רשת חינמי בעיצובו של יאנק יונטף" [Open Sans - A Free Web-font designed by Yanek Iontef]. הלשכה לטיפוגרפיה עברית (in Hebrew). 2014-01-19. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  9. ^ Ben Yehuda, Oded. "״מגניב״ או מבולבל? המיתוג החדש של אוניברסיטת תל אביב" ["Cool" or Confused? The New Branding of Tel Aviv University]. xnet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  10. ^ Open Sans, version 1.10
  11. ^ "Open Sans Condensed". Google Fonts. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  12. ^ "Open Serif". MyFonts. Retrieved 22 October 2018.

External links[edit]