Ice Cream Sandwich Release Date: Android Director Describes Roboto

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By Vincent Funaro , Christian Post Reporter
November 10, 2011|10:11 am

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich discards the old Droid typeface and employs Roboto, a new graphics foundation recently described in detail by Android’s Matias Duarte.

The director informed Google+ readers in a recent post on why the company decided to drop the Droid typeface and go with Roboto.

“Droid is a great font family which served Android well over the years, but it was designed and optimized for screens that were much lower is pixel density that today’s HD displays,” said Duarte.

To be legible at smaller sizes and avoid turning into grey mush, the letterforms had to be quite dramatic, according to Duarte’s post.

“Droid struggled to achieve both the openness and information density we wanted in Ice Cream Sandwich,” Duarte added.

Android wanted Ice Cream Sandwich to enchant the user by being more attractive and eye-catching.

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The new typeface is modern, crisp and structured to match the systems new emphasis on open layouts, but it also makes Android more user-friendly and appealing to the average user.

Android also wanted Ice Cream Sandwich to function well on all of its devices.

“We wanted to take maximum advantage of ultra high density screens like that of Galaxy Nexus, yet still be crisp and legible on lower resolution displays like that of Nexus S,” Duarte wrote.

Duarte explained how the software creators realized they needed a strong geometric backbone to hold up ICS’s new “Magazine UI” layouts.

Android discarded boxes, bevels, dividers and other structural crutches to employ humanistic fonts in the operating system.

“Roboto’s straight sided capitals and distinctive racetrack-shaped round letters turned out to be perfect for our needs in a system font,” Duarte said.

By tweaking letters, Android was able to get the fonts to display just the way it wanted.

“In particular, we opened up the ‘e’ and ‘g’ while keeping the ‘a’, ‘c’ and ‘s’ characters closed,” he wrote.

The main goal of Android was to make Roboto appear “just as good at all sizes and resolutions.”

 

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