Avoid Roboto for body copy

Published June 25, 2021

I love the Roboto font. It’s clean and pretty. But I noticed something: There are some sites that simply feel less serious or less trustworthy when I read them, even when I know it’s 100% legit. Take this story from US News as an example. Real news, real site. And yet my subconscious tells me it’s second-rate.

Why? I started looking at the sites that made me feel that way, and every one of them used Roboto as its body-text font.

It’s not because it’s a sans-serif type; sites using Arial, Helvetica, and other sans-serif typefaces don’t give me that reaction. I wish I knew more about fonts to know what it was — maybe the roundness of the character tips? I’m sure there’s an explanation.

Here’s the same story in Roboto:

And a generic serif font:

 

I have no idea if you see what I see, but for whatever reason, the Roboto text looks more … childish? Untrustworthy? I know it’s a popular font these days, and there’s no question that it’s clear and readable. But maybe there needs to be more to a font than readability.

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