One can easily know the importance of a particular font when big companies or brands start using it. One example is San Francisco Font, which people noticed when Apple started using it in its interface.
Before this font, they were using Helvetica Neue, but they switched to San Francisco for all the obvious reasons we will discuss below.
Let’s talk about san francisco font which is a neo-grotesque typeface created and designed by apple. It was one of the best typefaces of apple that has the similarities with the old Google font. Moreover, we will talk about the reasons why apple had to choose this new font.
It is a sans-serif font that Apple founded in November 2014 and started using on Apple’s website typeface, replacing Helvetica Neue. It is also said that this font emerged after being uplifted by Helvetica with little changes to make it more worthwhile. Since 2014, different variants have been released, including SF Condensed, SF Mono, SF Expanded, SF compact, and more.
Apple stopped producing in-house fonts after the 80s and 90s. However, in 2014 they decided to come up with their own font i.e, SF and it turned out pretty well. In the start, this font was used in limited typeface, but with time, the usage expanded. It replaces not only Helvetica but also Lucida Grande.
Since the release of the first apple phone, they have been using Helvetica, but suddenly, in 2015, they decided to switch to San Francisco but why? Why did Apple choose to turn down Helvetica, and what specialty SF contains that made Apple take this decision?
Below are a few obvious points that will make sense.
The most significant reason for this change is Helvetica not being the best font for small-size text. In the past, when Apple decided to use Helvetica for Mac OS X, some designers came forward and opposed this decision. However, it took a while for Apple to alter its decision.
The legibility in the small-size text is so poor that Helvetica has even made some texts blurry. After facing this scenario, they decided to present a font similar to Helvetica but also appropriate for small sizes. It is how San Francisco came into being.
Many years ago, when Helvetica was introduced, there was no trend of a digital device; that’s why the designer didn’t keep this factor in mind. With time, the trend of using these devices exceeds, so Apple noticed the need for a font that is best for these digital devices. It is another main reason why they invented this font and started using it.
San Francisco has a long way to go because it is a modern font that perfectly fits on a different interface type.
Readability is the main point that enhances the importance of the font, and if it is not legible, the designer fails big time. The best thing about this font is that it is readable and understandable, even on small screens and on loud backgrounds. The Apple font needed high legibility so that text on the screens became prominent.
Today, numerous designers are using this font mainly because of this particular reason.
The friendly nature of San Francisco is another main reason why Apple decided to ditch Helvetica. Many designers have also claimed that SF is one of the most friendly typefaces and is better for the Apple interface than Helvetica.
When it comes to versatility, SF is unarguably the most versatile font you will come across. Since 2014, more than 50 variations have been released that fit all the requirements of your website design and other projects. Each screen requires a different font style so you can choose any variant among so many choices.
You can also make the pairing of different variants that would look great on screens. Moreover, each variant has different weights and styles so you will never have to go for any other typeface.
There were certain issues linked to the Helvetica font that caused the need to use another font to make the Apple website typeface well perceived. The main motive was to redesign the Helvetica font to be useful for digital screens. Helvetica contains more heavy punctuation marks and a lot of spacing between numbers.
Moreover, it has an agreeable bunch of widths and heights. It failed big time in the digital world as it got a lot of criticism from various designers. Especially for small texts, it showed poor performance, and many times people failed to read what was written on the screens. It is the main reason for the font’s downfall.
Moreover, Helvetica is an old font that was created in 1957 so it surely lacks a lot of features necessary to be used in today’s design. That’s why San Francisco originated by taking inspiration from Helvetica font but with many improvements.
Since this font was founded, it has replaced many other typefaces of Apple, not only on hardware but software products as well. Helvetica Neue and Lucida Grande (san-serif font) are the main fonts that Apple has taken off and used SF instead. In the start, it was used on Mac and IOS typefaces.
Later it was featured on different Apple products replacing Myriad Pro (a san-serif font). It was also employed on the Magic keyword presented by Apple. People also witnessed it on the 2016 and 2015 MacBooks. Earlier, VAG Rounded was used. Apple restricted the use of this font by any other designer.
They are free to use only a few variants in their design, including SF Mono, SF Compact, SF pro, and SF Arabic.
Let’s have a look at a few most popular variants of this font that are commonly used. The list includes:
SF Pro is an advanced version of SF font with different styles and additional weights. The SF Pro text version contains 9 weights. When it was released, it had only 6 weights. The SF Pro rounded version also has 9 weights while the SF Pro display has the same numbers.
In 2016, the SF Pro derived variant came into being. It is mainly used in stocks, Apple news, Apple Cash, maps, etc.
It is also extracted from the SP Pro variant and was released in 2020. It is mainly used in photos, Apple news and numerous clips. It is somehow different from the condensed version.
As the name defines, it is an expanded version released in 2021 and mostly operated in photos and Maps.
It is a regular type and emerged in 2019 mainly to use in different Apple photos.
It has been used in numerous applications including Console, Terminal, etc.
When choosing the font, legibility and understandability are the main factors that are the priority for every designer. The font that fails to make the text readable falls a big time. Helvetica font ruled the world for many years but the modern world requires modern solutions and modern fonts that contain all the essential features.
The main difference between Helvetica and SF is legibility. Sf makes the small-size text readable that’s why it has overtaken Helvetica’s place. Not only Apple but many designers started using it after fierce popularity. Moreover, San Francisco is a flawless font for the modern world and is the most suited to use on digital screens.
These are the main reasons that define why Apple found the need to replace the Helvetica font with their newly launched San Francisco font and why it is currently everyone’s favorite font to use in different designs.