Roboto serif, a new typeface from Google

Originally published at: Roboto serif, a new typeface from Google | Boing Boing


MPOW is in the process of switching from Univers to Roboto Sans, filling me with great sadness. Roboto Sans is a hideous frankenfont, its only dubious merit being that it’s free to use.

I’m planning to prepare a lightning talk on how horrible it is for my coworkers.

I haven’t scrutinized Roboto Slab or this new one in detail yet but I already have some Feelings about Slab. I don’t have high hopes for this one…


Pretty ugly, to my eye.


My default font for work is JetBrains Mono as it’s made for coders/developers, or anyone who wants to easily tell the difference between l, I, i, j, O, 0 and any other hard to distinguish characters.

My default personal font for docs is Google’s Merriweather font Google Fonts which I find it easier to read across the page. Merriweather at 12 pt is the same size as TNR 14.5 pt but slightly softer and thicker/bolder.

On Kindle I use the Bookerly font, and on Moon+ Reader I user Roboto Static, but I do think I’ll like the Roboto Serif and will try it out this weekend.

I’m just glad that there are so many fonts to choose from as one will suit everyone’s personal preference.


I want to like it but can’t. ‘Lifeless’ as in the words of another commenter is what I felt scrutinizing details at 500% magnification. It’s certainly a better choice than many sans-serifs out there that ruin basically everything these days including this comment area, so yeah, if you want to replace one of the gazillions of Helvetica-Neue Look-Alikes, this could actually be an improvement while keeping your site’s / your printed material’s overall modernish, bland anmutung. Not the worst, certainly, but also devoid of spirit. I for one welcome the advent of our new overloads. Hollow grand designs with lots of empty space all in black and white, like what they claim is ‘stylish architecture’—an exposition of nothing but Look I Can suffused by seemingly unlimited economical prowess, power that has killed and will go on to kill everything that is beyond its ken (i.e. most everything that can’t be skinned to sell the hides).


Another BB post that only makes sense if you imagine it spoken with comic book guy’s voice.



Fair enough but please do not deny people the drive to put in words what they perceive as aesthetic appreciation, even if you can not feel it or don’t care for.

And I can tell you why I blew up that PDF to 500%—to inspect that fi ligature. In this font it is hardly perceivable there is a ligature at all when in reading size so I wanted to know and enlarged the sample. Somewhere around 200% one can see there’s indeed a fi ligature but it looks broken, like there’s a kink in the bar connecting the f with the upper left serif of the i. At 500% that breakage is levelled out. So it’s not like I put the font under a microscope to judge it; it’s more that I was curious about this single detail. In the end I guess one should put the font into a plausible use case, like a headline, some running text, or a standalone caption or logo writ large, which is exactly what font specimen books do, for good reasons.

And BTW I didn’t get that joke. What does the comic book guy say?




Is there a gif with Bugs and Daffy where it says “serif season, sans serif season”?


Yeah, but it’s a “standard” now, so you’re not going to be alone in hating it.

I think it’s “meh.” Do I need more omnipresent “meh” in my life? Probably not.


Apparently not, someone should make one…



Lots of artifacting in that subtitle-- and yet Ripper’s visage still glows.

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The only good thing about that font is it is not sans serif. Georgia is a font I like a lot.

Have come to appreciate one of Google’s home grown serif font among the options in Docs - i.e. Spectral. It looks a bit similar to the Roman in LaTex, and I believe it’s parametric - so there may be some Knuth-ian inspiration.

I’m more of a sans-serif guy…

For Labels and titles, Comfortaa has been growing on me. Not sure what I would use for body text.

I wonder if there is any new Variable-font with ligatures… My terminal, and IDE could use an makeover.

If you haven’t checked out Variable-fonts you should take a look.

Jetbrains Mono is fine but I absolutely hate the ligatures. I don’t want my font to “surprise” me by changing what I’m typing as I’m typing it. I know some people really like ligatures but count me out. (I also don’t like it when code editors do things like automatically add things like closing tags, braces, and such so I guess I’m consistent here in my dislike for this kind of thing.)

I seem to change coding fonts every couple of years or so but I’ve been using Hack for quite a while now and I really like it. It’s a nice evolution of Bitstream Sans Mono which I used for several years prior.


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