Google is pushing Roboto as the default fonts for Google properties (i.e. arial/helvetica replacement).

There are also sans serif typefaces which is also popular such as Open Sans & Lato, and they might even have better adaption , e.g. Open Sans is about 4 times than Roboto in term of number of view.

Are there any special why Google choose Roboto instead of the other alternatives? Why so special for Roboto?

  • I guess they just want some kind of unity across their products, and its a part of material design – Dirk Dec 30 '14 at 21:05
  • Typography is evolving to facilitate small screens (phones, etc.). Plus Google's branding and design guidelines are getting more sophisticated. I'd say it's a natural evolution. Google's trying to achieve a more consistent look and better readability. This is just my guess, I'm not an expert on typography. – obelia Dec 31 '14 at 1:09

The introduction to the font says the following:

The Android design language relies on traditional typographic tools such as scale, space, rhythm, and alignment with an underlying grid. (...) is essential to help users quickly understand a screen of information. To support such use of typography, Ice Cream Sandwich introduced a new type family named Roboto, created specifically for the requirements of UI and high-resolution screens.

(Emphasis is mine)

Another page states:

While some grotesks distort their letterforms to force a rigid rhythm, Roboto doesn’t compromise, allowing letters to be settled into their natural width. This makes for a more natural reading rhythm more commonly found in humanist and serif types.

So you could easily conclude that google simply wasn't satisfied with how other fonts looked on high-resolution screens (especially small screens).

Since more and more content is consumed with tablets and smartphones, it's also reasonable to not limit the usage to apps, but also use it on webpages and other digital media.

Another thing could be possible license issues.

In the end I can also imagine that google just wanted to create something new and fancy.

  • 1
    To add to this great answer, the move to Roboto was also a move away from Droid Sans. The latter was already better than much of the screen font competition, but it was a little crude in it's styling. Roboto strikes a balance between function and aesthetics and provides a good selection of weights for visual texture and hierarchy. – plainclothes Dec 31 '14 at 0:28

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