Rationale for typeface change?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by davidjearly, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. davidjearly, Jun 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014

    davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Anyone understand the rationale for the change in typeface across the system in 10.10?

    To date, I think Apple has got things pretty much spot on visually, but I just don't like the Helvetica-based typeface of Yosemite.

    Wondering if it's just change for the sake of it, or some other reason?
  2. simon48 macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    The new font better matches the new flatter, thiner look, it's just like iOS7.
  3. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I believe it was changed for the sake of changing things. New GUI, new font.
  4. dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    I can think of only two reasons -- it looks like iOS, and it looks like Apple's current favored choice of display fonts for advertising.

    Both are horrible reasons. My initial reaction to iOS8 is they've finally taken it to Android, so long as you remember to bold the font in the system preferences. My initial reaction to Yosemite is, great system, beautiful graphics, pity they've crapped all over it with a completely illegible typeface. I really, really, really hope they give us the option to stick with Lucida Grande (or choose another equally legible or even more legible font). I do not want to be forced into Helvetica Neue for desktop computing.
  5. 212rikanmofo macrumors 68000

    Jan 31, 2003
    I think the new font looks much cleaner, and more modern. I have no problem with legibility at all. Tired of Lucide Grande. Helvetica was a wise choice. If any of you study typography, you should know why.
  6. davidjearly thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I think it's patronising to suggest that people have to 'study' typography to understand why Apple chose it.

    In any case, it still does't explain why at all.

    Other reasons mentioned in this thread just might, however.
  7. dblissmn, Jun 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014

    dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    I have to say I'm not with you on the typography part. Helvetica Neue is extremely tightly leaded in its standard form, a little less offensive when bolded, and the counter spaces within characters are too large, a rarity in a world where many fonts don't have enough counter space. If you're looking for a case where someone has been really thoughtful with a font, look at the Federal Highway Administration's replacement of Series E Modified with Clearview for most road signage including every Interstate direction sign; replacing a font seemingly designed more for graphical impact with one where legibility and speed-readability are the dominant motives, not graphical impact. Apple has moved away from a Clearview-like font to one that goes in the other direction from Series E; too much counter space; too tightly packed on the page. There's a happy medium here and Apple seem to be intent on leaving it behind.

    Note that I'm not suggesting Apple adopt Clearview itself for OS X; the x-height is too much for a desktop OS, the leading a little too loose. But modifying Clearview with a lower x-height and modestly tighter leading would be better than where we're apparently now headed. I'd honestly rather Apple simply let people choose through the preferences; come up with a half dozen or so fonts that fit the templates, so to speak, and let the public choose.
  8. Beavix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2010
    On my old non-Retina Cinema Display, Helvetica Neue looks noticeable worse (blurry) than Lucida Grande.
  9. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Jeez Louise, it's a first beta! There will be rough edges on more than just the fonts.

    Having said that, I'd prefer to be able to choose system fonts myself (and who knows, we're months from release so maybe that'll happen). I find a serif font much easier to read. Or a nice modern semi-serif such as Optima or any of a dozen others.
  10. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2012
    They're not going to change the friggin font after they used it in iOS 7/8 and shown it in the Yosemite keynote. What does the beta part have to do with it?

    Some people will not like this font and let me remind you that the OS X typeface can be changed.
  11. DarkRyoushii macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2013
    One of the first things I noticed was that the font is MUCH nicer on my eyes on external displays that aren't made by Apple. I now actually enjoy using my 13" retina connected to a couple of 24" 1080p benQ displays.

    The old font always felt too thick and slightly blurred on anything except the built in display.
  12. coldjeanzzz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    They changed it simply to match iOS. No other reason. They want people to not even think twice about whether OS X and iOS are related. It's an acceptable font for iOS, but it looks like dog **** on OS X.
  13. thefredelement macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2012
    New York
    I'm really not digging it on my cMBP, it just doesn't feel Apple like yet.
  14. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    The beta OS might not have font renderings and hintings baked in the pudding for all possible combinations of displays and settings yet.

    The post I replied to regarded the fonts looking fuzzy. That might very well improve on machines impacted by that behavior as the OS nears release, just as icons that look crappy in early beta builds get progressively more polished.

    So, I repeat: it's the first beta release. Roughness is expected. Improvement should be anticipated.

    And ultimately I'd rather see a serif font anyway for most system applications. Reader Mode on iOS was much nicer with the serif typeface used in iOS 6 and earlier, vs the blocky sans serif font used today. And I'm not talking about any fuzziness, just font fundamentals. Sans serif fonts for headlines and menu headings, and serif for reading, please.
  15. zen macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2003
    Well, I have studied typography, and Helvetica Neue is one of my favourite fonts.

    Been running Yosemite for about 24 hours now... and the new fonts look strange. Helvetica is a great font family, but it doesn't seem like a system font. In my mind, a system font should be one that you wouldn't really use anywhere else. Sure, you could write a Word document in Lucide Grande - but you probably wouldn't. Or, going back into dark ages, you wouldn't set anything in Chicago either.

    But I use Helvetica Neue quite a lot... and to have it as the system font seems to be more just a fashion choice than a practical one. It is perfectly legible on my retina display, but that doesn't mean I really want it all over the OS.

    Overall I do like the look of Yosemite, but more than any other iteration of OS X, this one really seems to be following a design TREND rather than any practical functionality. Which is to be expected, now they have a designer designer in charge of the UI, rather than a UI designer.

    Which also means I would expect another UI revamp in say 10.12 in 2016, once flatness becomes passe.

Share This Page