Making the Web More Beautiful, Fast, and Open with Typography
Google launched Google Fonts in 2010–making fonts free and available to everyone–to benefit the general good of the web. Today, as of this blog writing, Google Fonts is a library of 1,432 open-source font families, including 253 variable font families and APIs for convenient use via CSS. And, the list continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Google’s commitment to making the web more beautiful, fast, and open provides designers and developers the opportunity to make digital text more accessible and readable. In February 2022, Google joined The Readability Consortium to improve literacy and readability through technology. Dr. Hilary Palmén represents Google in the consortium. She states that “Google joined The Readability Consortium to help people to easily reach their potential for fluent reading in any writing system or language, all around the world.”
Google’s Fonts and Material Design teams leaders Tobias Kunish, Sehee Lee, and Michael Gilbert discuss typography, variable fonts, iconography, and the research Google is doing to improve readability. Tobias shares that “on the Google Fonts team, we believe that everyone should be able to access information and express themselves no matter their language or ability. Text is an integral part of any digital experience…New font technologies, like variable fonts, create experiences that feel more personal to your users and how they can be optimized for increased readability.”
Michael Gilbert discusses Google’s research into readability. As lead researcher for the Material Design System, he presents how Google researches variable fonts and how changes to various font axes (grade, weight, optical size, and more) impact “the accessibility and the readability of digital text.” He also discusses Google’s role in the readability consortium and how they are teaming up to understand which fonts are more readable and what settings help people read better. He reports that what research already shows is “how variable readability is at a personal level.”
Watch the video to hear the full discussion and see the resources below for more information.
Google Fonts Knowledge is a library of educational content designed to enable designers and developers of all skill levels to choose and use type with purpose. The Google Fonts Knowledge library consists of lessons spread out over three modules (Introducing Type, Choosing Type, and Using Type) and an extensive glossary of definitions. New content is added regularly.
The Google Fonts team created the library in collaboration with typographic experts from around the world. (Google Fonts Knowledge is open source thanks to a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.) Read more from the project’s main typography expert and collaborator, Elliot Jay Stocks.
Google Fonts showcases individual type designers and foundries and provides a library of valuable information that typographers and designers can use. Google is a library of open-source font families and APIs for convenient use via CSS and Android.
Variable fonts are a recent evolution in typography. Variable Fonts is a collaboration between Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, and Google and was added to the OpenType® specification in 2016. This format lets you customize a typeface in the way the typeface designer provides. All styles are stored in just one or two font files instead of separate files for every style. Read more about the introduction of Variable Fonts from Google collaborator and guest author, Elliot Jay Stocks.