If you love Google’s Material Design language, then chances are you are familiar with Roboto, Google’s signature font, created by Google designer Christian Robertson. Roboto is also used across Google’s products and services including Android and Chrome OS. Google released the font to the public in 2011 under the Apache license, allowing users to download the font for use.
Today, Google is making Roboto an open source project, posting its data and toolchain on GitHub. A toolchain is the set of programming tools used to perform a complex task or to create a product—in this case Roboto. Google says that it has revamped the font production toolchain.
Other improvements to the Roboto font family are its vast expansion of character coverage, which now includes all Latin, Cyrillic and Greek characters in Unicode 7.0, as well as the currency symbol for the Georgian lari that will be published in Unicode 8.0. Additionally, the symbols provided in the fonts have tripled in number, climbing from around 13,000 (1071 per font) to more than 40,000 (3350 per font).
Google says that the project is the result of a collaboration with Google’s Material Design team, Internationalization Engineering team, and designers from Google Fonts and Android. The announcement is an interesting move for a giant technology company like Google; Roboto plays a vital role in Google’s Material Design language. Will Apple follow suit? It’s worth noting that Apple has its own signature font named San Francisco.
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