What font do Apple, Google and Instagram use? Let’s find out

Here’s a comparison of the fonts used by the biggest tech companies, apps, and social media platforms…


What font does Google use? What about Facebook or Twitter? The choice of font is important because it is directly related to the user experience. And many tech companies — like Apple, for example — take their font choice very seriously.

Steve Jobs was known for his opinions on certain fonts, for example, because he knew all too well the effect they had on users within the Apple ecosystem.

But when it comes to choosing fonts in popular apps like Twitter and Instagram, what do these huge social networks use? And, more importantly, why are they using these particular fonts?

In this guide, we’ll compare and contrast all the major fonts used by the world’s biggest tech companies, apps, and social media platforms, such as Reddit, TikTok, LinkedIn and Discordthen watch why they choose them.

The fonts used by the world’s biggest tech companies

Technology Brand / Company Font used
Apple San Francisco (SF)
Facebook Helvetica or Arial
Twitter Helvetica Neue
instagram New Swiss
Spotify Proxima Nova
Google Robot
android Robot
Discord United Sans
ICT Tac sans serif
Reddit Note Without
Youtube Robot
Amazon Amazon Ember
netflix Chart
Wikipedia Arial
LinkedIn Swiss / Arial

Why font choice matters

Font choice – also known as typography – is a very important aspect of design. Choosing the wrong font for your web platform can make it harder for users to engage and/or consume content. That is why most tech companies big and small tend to use Sans Serif based fonts. These types of fonts are easy on the eye and easy to read because the letters are simply designed.

Sans Serif is French for “without a stroke” – it dates back to the days when fonts were designed by hand. Essentially Sans Serif-based fonts – Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, Product Sans, etc. – not having a finisher at the end. These design tweaks make them appear “less busy”, making them easier on the eye compared to script-based fonts and Serif-based fonts like Times New Roman, Georgia, Garamond and Century.

While serif fonts focus heavily on tradition and history, sans serif fonts take the opposite approach and embrace simplicity and a sense of being modern. The main characteristics of serif fonts are their lack of serifs and the use of simple, clean lines of the same width.

The clean, crisp lines of sans serif fonts are the main reason why many web designers prefer this font style for on-screen use. Clean lines and sharp edges are able to display more clearly on a screen, increasing readability for users.

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How fonts are used for branding

Typically, sans serif fonts like Helvetica, Open Sans, Proxima Nova and Arial are seen as younger, cool and modern. That’s why these types of fonts are popular with tech companies and start-ups looking to build a youthful brand to appeal to potential users.

Again, these types of fonts also come across as more laid back than standard serif fonts. This, again, is a big deal for tech companies and social media platforms. In order for people to consume and/or spend as much time as possible on a certain website or application, the user must feel comfortable. And the choice of font used by the app or site owner is a key factor in making this happen, whether you as the end user are aware of it or not.

Why Steve Jobs is the godfather of modern fonts

I mentioned Steve Jobs in the intro to this article. The reason is that Jobs was fascinated by fonts and typography. It was Jobs, for example, who insisted that the first Apple computers use a “beautiful, human” font that was both eye-pleasing but also relatable. Jobs even took a calligraphy class while at Reed University.

While at Reed, Jobs was tutored by Robert Palladino. After Jobs’s death, Palladino commented on Jobs’ role in popularizing fonts to the public and how he made it a “design talking point” by insisting that the first Apple computers should have fonts. a range of beautiful font options.

In the same way that the printing press led to the rise of literacy in the late Renaissance, I think Steve Jobs led the rise of design as something the general public is primarily aware of. It led to an awareness of design and in particular of typography.

Robert Palladino

Palladino wasn’t the only one to praise Jobs, either. Thomas Phinney, senior product manager for fonts and typography at Extensis, explains that Jobs earned his moniker as the godfather of modern fonts by popularizing the concept to such an extent that “normal people” walking around had firm ideas and quick on their favorite fonts. have been. Before Jobs, it just wasn’t a thing.

I remember, painfully well, the early days of computers where we had monospaced fonts on screen, before WYSIWYG and all that. What Jobs did with the Macintosh wasn’t just revolutionize digital typography – it would have happened sooner or later. The unique thing he brought to it was the democratization of the digital type.

Thomas Pinney

What font does the iPhone use?

Jobs’ influence on font choice is felt in all of Apple’s past and current products, from its first-generation Mac computers to the iPhone and iPad. As of 2022, the standard font used on iPhones and iPads is called San Francisco (SF), although Apple also uses variations of this font like SF Compact, SF Mono, and SF Arabic.

Apple San Francisco Font

Apple’s SF font was designed by Apple for use in iOS and its other platforms such as macOS and watchOS. Apple also has a companion font called New York which it also supports and uses in iOS and macOS, although SF is its best-known and most-used font on its most popular products like the iPhone and Apple. Watch.

San Francisco is a sans serif type family that includes SF Pro, SF Pro Rounded, SF Mono, SF Compact, and SF Compact Rounded. SF Pro is the system font in iOS, macOS, and tvOS; SF Compact is the watchOS system font. Designed to match the visual clarity of platform user interfaces, system fonts are readable and neutral.

Starting with iOS 14, the system provides San Francisco and New York fonts in variable font format. This format combines different font styles in a single file and supports interpolation between styles to create intermediate ones. With interpolation, typefaces can scale to any size while appearing specifically designed for each size.

Apple

Apple San Francisco Font

Apple developers can use SF and New York, and all of their countless variants, sizing options, and type settings in iPhone apps and widgets. Apple deliberately designed its SF and New York fonts to look modern, extremely readable, and to create a feeling of familiarity and comfort. Apple’s San Francisco font was originally released in 2014. It was heavily influenced by Helvetica and DIN. The macOS Galvji font is similar to the San Francisco SF Pro Text variant, but has smaller line spacing and larger spacing.

Google Roboto Font

Never to be outdone, Google also takes its font choice very seriously. And that’s probably a good thing too: billions of people use Google services every day. Since 2011, Google’s font of choice has been Roboto, which was developed in-house by Google and is, if you want to get all the technical stuff, a neo-grotesque sans serif typeface.

On Android, the Noto font is used for languages ​​not supported by Roboto. These include Chinese (simplified and traditional), Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Hindi. The reason why Roboto is not supported by these languages ​​is that they are mainly logosyllabic. There is NO alphabet in the modern Chinese language, for example.

Roboto has a dual nature. It has a mechanical skeleton and the shapes are largely geometric. At the same time, the font features friendly and open curves. While some grotesks distort their letterforms to force a stiff rhythm, Roboto makes no compromises, allowing the letters to be set within their natural width. This gives a more natural reading rhythm that is more commonly found in humanistic and serif types.

Google

Google’s Roboto font is used in Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps and Google Images

You will find Google’s Roboto font used in Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Images. Google has also changed the look of its Roboto font several times. The biggest of these was inside Android Lollipop in 2014, where Google made Roboto simpler and smarter, taking inspiration from other popular san serif fonts like Trebuchet MS.

Many apps – like Instagram, for example – also let you change the default fonts, so you can customize your posts and/or content. Here is how to change instagram default fontfor example – just note that it requires third-party software.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has worked as a technical journalist for over 10 years. He is the publisher and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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