Comparing Font Choices on 9 Mobile Apps — Custom vs System Fonts

Right now Android loves Roboto and iOS loves San Francisco. What fonts do apps love?

Let the match up begin.

System Fonts 0. Custom Fonts 0.

AirBnB

The AirBnB iOS and Android apps use identical fonts: LL Circular. This font is a non-serif font, which brings uniformity to both the iOS and Android experiences.

System Fonts 0 Custom Fonts 1

Facebook

Facebook uses San Francisco system font on the iOS app and Roboto system font for the Android app.

System Fonts 1 Custom Fonts 1

Hotel Tonight

Hotels Tonight uses the half and half way out. On iOS Gotham Book is used, whereas the Android version defers to Roboto.

System Fonts 1.5 Custom Fonts 1.5

FlipBoard

Flipboard involved immersive reading and actually provides a variety of fonts. The font vary by the content provider. However, for native article summaries the font is uniform on both iOS and Android. Fakt, Fakt Condensed for headlines. Georgia for body text.

System Fonts 1.5 Custom Fonts 2.5

Medium

Just like Flipboard, Medium provides an immersive reading experience on your mobile devices. To achieve a uniform look, both iOS and Android apps use a consistent set of custom fonts. Kievet Pro for headlines and Charter for body text.

System Fonts 1.5 Custom Fonts 3.5

Quora

Quora is another app where users spend a lot of time reading text. For their experience, Quora defers to using the native system fonts on the mobile apps.

System Fonts 2.5 Custom Fonts 3.5

Slack

Slack builds a consistent message reading experience across the various platforms by using Lato as their go to font.

System Fonts 2.5 Custom Fonts 4.5

Spotify

Spotify is mostly for listening however, as a user you do a fair amount of reading on it as well. Spotify uses LL Circular just like AirBnB for their mobile apps.

System Fonts 2.5 Custom Fonts 5.5

Yelp

Last one in our current matchup, Yelp pulls one in favor of OS native system fonts on each OS.

System Fonts 3.5 Custom Fonts 5.5 (winner!)

Conclusion

In our current matchup of some of the leading mobile apps, it seems custom fonts win out over defaulting to the native system fonts. However, system fonts are increasingly becoming popular as they bring a familiar look and feel to the reading experience and are optimized for a variety of form factors by the OS.

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