By Christian Robertson, Android Visual Designer

Along with the Material Design guidelines we released a new version of the Roboto type family. A lot of things have changed as we tuned the font to work across more screen sizes and conditions, from watches to desktops, televisions to cars. It still keeps much of its character that made it successful for both phones and tablets, but almost every glyph has been tweaked and updated in some way.

We see Roboto as an evolving type family and plan to continue to change and update it as the system evolves. It used to be that a type family was designed once and then used without change for many years. Sometimes an updated version was released with a new name, sometimes by appending a "Neue" or "New". The old model for releasing metal typefaces doesn't make sense for an operating system that is constantly improving. As the system evolves over time, the type should evolve along with it.

The easiest way to identify the new version is to look for the R and K. They were some of the rowdier glyphs from version one and have been completely redrawn. Also check for the dots on the letter i or in the punctuation. We have rounded them out to make the types a little more friendly when you look at them closely. We also rounded out the sides of the upper case characters like O and C which makes the font feel less condensed even though it still has a high character count per line.

Some of the most significant changes are in the rhythm and spacing, especially for the caps. This isn't apparent as you look at individual glyphs, but makes for a better texture on the screen. Some of the more subtle fixes were to balance the weights between the caps and lowercase characters (the caps are slightly heavier in this version) and better correction for the distortions that occur in the obliqued italic characters.

Ultimately the purpose of a typeface is to serve the content and help people to understand it. We think that the new updates to Roboto along with the new Material Design guidelines will help it do more of just that.

Posted by Louis Gray, Googler