Google introduced Roboto in 2011 as Android’s new system font and gave it a big upgrade three years later. “Roboto Serif” is now the newest variation “designed to make reading more comfortable at any size, in any format.”
Roboto Serif is a variable typeface family designed to create a comfortable and frictionless reading experience. Minimal and highly functional, it is useful anywhere (even for app interfaces) due to the extensive set of weights and widths across a broad range of optical sizes. While it was carefully crafted to work well in digital media, across the full scope of sizes and resolutions we have today, it is just as comfortable to read and work in print media.
The font joins Roboto Sans, Mono, Slab, and Condensed in the superfamily as a “minimal serif,” with Google going as far as saying it features “just a whisper of a serif.” Curves are anchored to decisive terminals, with Roboto Serif meant for print and digital use no matter the size (micro to large). It was “designed from the ground up as a variable font” with four axes:
- Weight: 100–900
- Width: condensed, regular, extended
- Optical size: with or without size, 8–144
- Grade: -50–100
The Google Fonts website credits Commercial Type (Principal design) and Greg Gazdowicz as Roboto Serif’s designers, but Google did commission its creation. Available to download today, the font is licensed under the Open Font License. An accompanying type specimen is offered here.
You can use them freely in your products & projects – print or digital, commercial or otherwise.
Meanwhile, the company’s first-party apps and services are starting to use Google Sans Text as detailed at I/O 2021. It’s unclear whether Google has any plans to open up access for third-parties or if it will remain proprietary.
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