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Google Makes The Roboto Typeface Open Source

 

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced Roboto to the world. Since then, the family (designed by Googler Christian Robertson) has expanded to include a set of slab serif fonts, and has even seen a major revision introduced with Android 5.0 last year.

Today, Google has announced the next step in Roboto's history - making the entire family open source, and reorganizing its production toolchain around open source tools like ufo2fdk and FontTools.

According to Google, the effort to open source Roboto succeeded thanks to collaboration between material design, internationalization engineering, Google fonts, and Android teams.

For reference, the family now includes more than 40,000 total glyphs which span all Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek characters, making Roboto an immensely informative family to study.

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[Typeface Teardown, Part 2] Web Play Store Packs Roboto Slab And Yet Another Roboto Package

A couple of weeks ago, we were very excited to find a new, revised version of the Roboto family hiding in a leaked Android 4.3 build. Since then, I've been keeping an eye out for any more Roboto goings on.

With the new Play Store web portal having launched today, I thought I'd check in and see if it was using the new version of Roboto we reported on before. As it turns out, it isn't. It's using another version of Roboto, pared down to just over 200 glyphs (compared to over 1000).

That's not it though.

(Another) New Roboto

What first tipped me off to the difference was Roboto Thin's lowercase "m".

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[Typeface Teardown] Roboto Gets A Facelift In Android 4.3

Yesterday, we reported on an alleged Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ROM originally posted by SamMobile. Since then, we have – in usual style – been digging away, looking for goodies. In the midst of that search, Ron noticed something – the Roboto files in the ROM were up to 30% bigger than the versions found in 4.2.2.

My first guess as to what would cause a file size difference was the presence of additional glyphs. When looking at the new files closely, there appeared to be 15 extra glyphs. But something even better became apparent.

test

Roboto got a facelift! What follows is my attempt to catalogue (in a coherent fashion) some of the changes in the new Roboto.

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Don't Adjust Your Monitors: Google Just Updated The Web Play Store With Its Roboto Font Everywhere

If you fired up the web version of the Play Store today and everything felt a little off, don't panic. Google just decided to apply its Roboto font to all text on the site. Stock Android users will already be familiar with the typeface as the default setting for all written words on their Nexus devices. Outside of that family, though, it may be relatively unknown. Which is a shame, because it's beautiful.

2013-01-08_15h12_11

The new...

playstore

...and the old.

robotofont

That being said, in times past Roboto has not shown itself to be terribly versatile in scaling down to relatively low-ppi displays such as computer monitors and in this case it seems to work alright for headings, though to my eyes, some of the smaller text gets a little messy.

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