Three Tech Behemoths—Apple, Google, and Microsoft—recognize the crucial role typography plays in the user experience, which is why each has invested in designing a homemade font for its operating system. Apple has San Francisco, originally built for the Apple Watch and now the company’s default typeface. Google designed Roboto for all things Android. And Microsoft writes its UI text in Segoe. At first blush, the fonts look remarkably similar, but experts beg to differ.
Segoe | Microsoft
“Segoe has the most cooperative shapes for the reader. The terminals (or curves) in shapes like the g or the 3 or the s point toward their neighbors and make a very easy connection. That’s helpful in relieving the eye.” —Frere-Jones
“The personality of a typeface is often most obviously asserted in the a. Segoe’s a takes the ready stance of a luxury sedan—tense but also well mannered.” —Darden
San Francisco | Apple
“San Francisco and Roboto share a very regular, consistent sense of proportion among their capital letters.” —Frere-Jones
“San Francisco and Roboto are eerily similar because they both owe much of their style to Helvetica and the reductive modernist urge it so famously embodies. Their use of relatively closed apertures (the areas partly or entirely enclosed by a letter form) and terminals clearly echoes Helvetica.” —Darden