Apple San Francisco font is the same as Google's Roboto font?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by djtech42, Feb 28, 2015.


Did Apple copy Google's Roboto font?

  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
  2. Possibly

    1 vote(s)
  3. No

    25 vote(s)
  1. djtech42 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2012
    Mason, OH
    This is a comparison of the fonts. They seem very similar. :eek:
  2. Pakaku macrumors 68020


    Aug 29, 2009
    I got that impression when I first saw it, but I don't think it's quite a blatant rip-off. I do think both fonts are absolutely ugly, however. A bit ironic, considering how hard Apple is pushing the 'fashion' angle when promoting it.

    Maybe they should have gone with the 1980s variant :)
  3. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
  4. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    San Fransisco is actually much more similar to Helvetica (except for the R and G).
  5. channyein macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2015
    When I first saw the San Francisco font, I was also noticed that it's pretty much similar as Roboto font and doubt so Apple copied it with just some cocktail. Roboto font looks more robotic and freedom. San Francisco font looks a bit curly and closed. Sometime I feel like I'm using android when I look at my iphone cos I also do have moto g and used to with Roboto font. :D
  6. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    How is that hard to judge? Sans serif have largely the same overall design characteristics, but you can clearly see the differences in the design of individual characters. Font design nowadays is about the fine details and it’s clear from the outset that Apple has had a different starting point.
  7. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    It's normal that some people will think that they are very similar. The differences only start getting obvious when the letters are bigger.
  8. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    But the question is whether Apple copied Google. That’s not just a matter of opinion and as such it requires a closer look and then it becomes clear that they are not the same. Moreover, San Francisco is just the collective name for a whole list of fonts that include both the cuts for the Watch and iOS/OS X (with different shapes), the two optical sizes for each (with varying spacing and kerning) and of course the widths and italics.
  9. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    There enough difference to my eye.
  10. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    I said this the moment San Francisco (not the old goofy Mac OS 7 font) came out. I'm glad someone else noticed how similar the two fonts are.
  11. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    At the end, it doesn't matter if they copied or not. There is enough difference and both are just changes needed for our higher res screens.
  12. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Both Roboto and San Francisco are hybrid fonts, pulling together elements from a handful of different typefaces instead of having a consistent design language. Both are "frankenfaces" stitched together from a variety of sources. This makes them look both familiar, and derivative (which they are). Don't consider them original typefaces, think of them as mashups.

    Technology has always shaped our letterforms. Both these fonts were designed for pixel-based legibility rather than beauty, which is another reason they look similar. The requirements of the technology force the designers hand, resulting in similar forms.

    Finally, it is important to note that in the United States the shapes of letters in a typeface cannot be copyrighted. One can legally protect a font as software, and you can protect a typeface name, but you cannot protect the shapes. If you open a font in an editor, change a single point on a single glyph and export it under a different name, you are legally in the clear. Luckily, this is not true in Europe.

    So you need to define "copy" very carefully. Most of those who work in the typeface industry do not feel that San Francisco is a copy of Roboto, and more than Roboto is a copy of any one other typeface.

    Besides, unless you are designing for iOS/iWatch or Android, why would you choose either? Outside of their very specific context they don't work very well and there are often far better options.

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11 February 28, 2015