6 Jul, 2016

A New Look for Google Fonts

There was a lovely little treat for the design team this month (on the 14th June to be precise) as Google announced a new and very much improved Google Fonts! 
They’ve said goodbye to the depressingly dull grey, white and blue colour scheme, farewell to the dated tabs and drop down menus and cheerio to a design that was well past its best. The new look Google Fonts has ditched it all, for a redesign that is not only noticeable, but impressive too.

And it’s more than just skin deep!

The new card design used to show off Google’s colection of 804 free web fonts makes much better use of the screen space available across both desktop and mobile devices, in a way the old version never could.

Minimalism is key to the new look, and it has been used to streamline the way users interact with the platform. Instead of having all the functionality on offer immediately, now features like viewing your font across a word, sentence or paragraph, only appears when the mouse hovers over the font card. This reduces the clutter on screen and helps keep things simple for the user.

Other nifty little features include the new sliders for selecting different font sizes, the tick boxes for choosing font categories and the ability to change the background colour of Google Fonts to either blue, yellow or black from the default white.

The final feature getting Reddit users and our office alike pretty excited is the new popular pairings section and the statistics on usage for each font. The countries dial indicates where a particular font is most widely used, while the data underneath reveals how frequently the Google Fonts API served a particular font in the last week.

While this data is interesting, it also has several key applications, allowing designers to make even more informed decisions about which fonts to use and where.


It’s not perfect just yet though.

As the importance of fast page speed increases and search engines (and especially Google) continue to emphasise good usability as an important ranking factor, our development team had hoped the new Google Font’s would’ve improved how they display each font’s potential impact on these load times.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead the old dial has been replaced with a simple traffic light system describing each font as either fast, moderate or slow. While this is better than nothing, ideally our development team would have liked to see the total file size required for a collection of fonts instead.

All in all we think the new look Google Fonts is a great success and the redesign has brought the look and feel of the platform, firmly in line with some of the other online tools and services Google have on offer.

The only downside is the marketing team now have their fingers crossed for a similar change to Google AdWords and sadly, we think it’ll be a long wait.