User Experience Asked on January 5, 2022
I’m currently designing an app using Figma and having had no prior experience am learning as I go.
I appreciate both Android and iOS have their own design guidelines which I’ll be looking at, but I was hoping somebody could provide advice on font.
My question is – is it typical for an app to use a different system specific font for each platform? i.e. – using Roboto for your Android app and San Fransisco for your iOS app?
Or is it more typical for apps to use a custom or paid for font such as Helvetica? In the case of using a custom font or paid font I guess it negates the need to use two separate fonts for each platform as providing continuity across platforms.
I would say there are a few things to consider.
System fonts are probably the easiest from a performance and implementation standpoint (system fonts are always the fastest). If you are considering branding or the look&feel of the app using custom font may transfer better the specific emotions you are aiming for. Also, that's a free solution.
With custom fonts you should keep in mind how many weights you use since too many of them may affect the app performance. There are also variable fonts that allow you to bypass that particular problem, but for some technologies they may not be available. Custom fonts can also be very pricy; sometimes there is even no one-time payment and the client needs to be charged annually. There might even be some tiers depending on how many downloads the app has. That said there asre many free custom fonts (https://fonts.google.com/).
With custom fonts, you should also consider your app's localization. System fonts are usually well supported for different languages. Custom fonts may not.
As an extra topic, there are some very specific UI cases that may need using a specific type of font. For example, I recommend reading about uniwidth fonts, even if you will never use the knowledge of what problems they solve is super important. ?
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Answered by Marek Szmyt on January 5, 2022
There is no custom. It's a design decision. Sometimes a performance decision.
Some feel that, using built-in system fonts is better because the user will see the fonts displayed that he is most familiar with--those that are used within the mobile device itself.
However, that's a problem when one wants to present a unique design, in which case one might want to use a different font because it blends with what one is trying to present.
Another issue is performance. In order to use a different font, a web page must download the font file which might be quite large. This can cause shifting of the page as, at first, a system font is shown until the new font is ready.
So, like most such things, it's what you want and not what rules there are.
Answered by Rob on January 5, 2022
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