We’ve talked a lot about Google Sans over the last few weeks, most notably in our speculation about so-called “Material Design 2”. It’s popped up in the source code for lots of Google’s more recent website updates, as well as within many apps using what we now know is Google’s new Material Theme.

But until today, we didn’t know what the difference was between it and Product Sans…

Now we know. Despite being visually indistinguishable from its older brother, Google told us today in a roundtable at Google I/O 2018 that Google Sans is actually the same font but optimized to work at different sizes. The original Product Sans was only intended for Google’s official product logos.

Of course, that means you probably won’t be able to tell much difference. But it does mean that when you see Google’s font on billboards or in apps, it’s actually Google Sans — not Product Sans. Google Sans is used anywhere exceptionally large or small sizes are required.

Google also noted during the talk that, like Product Sans, Google Sans is a proprietary font and that it has no plans to open up access to it for third-party developers. And that makes sense — it’s one of the cornerstones of Google’s new Material Theme, which is meant to represent its brand as a whole.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.