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Roboto (typeface).svg
Category Sans-serif
Classification Neo-grotesque
Designer(s) Christian Robertson
Commissioned by Google
Date created 2011
License Apache License
For the Masters of the Universe character, see Roboto (Masters of the Universe).

Roboto is a neo-grotesque sans-serif typeface family developed by Google as the system font for its mobile operating system Android.

Google describes the font as "modern, yet approachable" and "emotional".[1][2] The entire font family has been licensed under the Apache license[3] and 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.

Language coverage[edit]

Roboto supports Latin, Greek (partial) and Cyrillic scripts.[4] On Android, the Noto font is used for languages not covered by Roboto, including Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese, Korean, Thai and Hindi.[5]


Android 5.1.1 on a Google Nexus 7 (2012), featuring the redesigned Roboto font.

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.[6][7] It was released for the first time in 2011 with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".[8] 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.


On June 25, 2014, Matias Duarte announced at Google I/O that the typeface for Roboto was significantly redesigned for Android 5.0 "Lollipop". The most significant changes are seen in the glyphs: B (shrinking), R, P, a (expanding space), D, O, e, g (curving), k, and numbers: 1, 6, 7, and 9. Punctuation marks and the tittles in the lowercase i and j have been changed from a square dot to a rounded dot.


Roboto received variable reviews on its release. 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".[9] However, typography commentator Stephen Coles of called the initial release of Roboto “a Four-headed Frankenfont”, describing it as a “hodgepodge” of different typographic styles which do not work well together.[10] Other type design professionals called out obvious errors in accented glyphs, while John Gruber called the font a “Helvetica ripoff”.[11] [12] Head of Android development Matías Duarte's claim that "the idea of having a typeface that’s thought out as a UI typeface—that’s not been done before" was also criticised as presumptuous, as many companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google had already commissioned typefaces for this purpose.[13]


Besides being the default font on the Android operating system, since 2013 it is also the default font of other Google services such as Google+, Google Play, YouTube and Google Maps.[14]

It has been announced that the font will be the default font in Kodi, a free and open source media player.[15]

Roboto Slab[edit]

Roboto Slab

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.[16] It has been released in four weights: thin, light, regular and bold. Unlike regular Roboto, no oblique versions have been released for it.


  1. ^ "New Design Philosophy of Ice Cream Sandwich". Engadget. Engadget. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Design of Roboto". MSN. MSN. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Roboto license". 
  4. ^ "Google Fonts Roboto". Google Inc. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  5. ^ "Typography - Style - Google design guidelines". Google Inc. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  6. ^ "Association with Google and Betatype". Christian Robertson. Christian Robertson. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Roboto is a Four-headed Frankenfont". Typographica. Typographica. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Google's New Font". Wired. Wired. October 19, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kuang, Cliff. "How Google’s New Font Tries to Anticipate the Future". Wired Magazine. Conde Nast. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Graham-Smith, Darien. Hands on with the new Google Maps, May 17th, 2013
  15. ^
  16. ^ Spradlin, Liam. "Closer Look: Google Keep Actually Shipped With A New (Serif) Font – Introducing Roboto Slab". Android Police. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 

External links[edit]