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At my company, we are doing some rebranding and are having some trouble deciding on a font. We want to use a sans-serif, open web font, so we don't have to worry about licensing issues, and would like to use one font with many different variations to make things easier for everyone.

We are down to Roboto and Ubuntu, more leaning towards Ubuntu. Although we do love the readability of Ubuntu, we are not thrilled at how round the font is. During the conversation, we came to the conclusion that we needed something between the two.

I know this is kind of a strange request, but do any of you have ideas for what we could use that has the readability of Ubuntu but distinguished shoulders of Roboto.

If you have never seen these fonts here are some links

http://font.ubuntu.com/ - Ubuntu

https://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Roboto - Roboto

and for clarity here are our requirements

  • Open web font (free to use)
  • Sans Serif
  • As many variations and weights as possible

Again, I know this is kind of an abstract question, but after looking through an insane amount of fonts today everything is starting to look the same.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions.

Thanks so much in advance to anyone who tries to help me out.

  • I instantly though of Prosto Sans, but it isn't free. – Cai Jun 3 '16 at 21:49
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here are our requirements

  • Open web font (free to use)
  • Sans Serif
  • As many variations and weights as possible

Open Sans and Lato are similar fonts both fit that bill (though there are certainly others). They are both very readable fonts, having high x-heights and open counters like Ubuntu, but without the Dax-like joins that makes Ubuntu seem very rounded. Incidentally, this site is currently using Open sans.

However, something that worries me slightly is that you say

During the conversation, we came to the conclusion that we needed something between the two.

Is that really what your brand needs, or is that a conflict-avoidant decision? Roboto and Ubuntu are very different designs, the main thing they have in common is that they are both sans fonts coming in many weights and intended for user interfaces. My suspicion is that in your meeting you have a genuine disagreement which needs to be brought out in the open about what associations you're trying to build with your brand, and what criteria you're going to be judging them on. Other than the typographic details, what are the strengths and weaknesses of Roboto and Ubuntu in terms of how they contribute to the feel of your brand? I would suggest you do this before you have any more discussions about which fonts to pick - otherwise you'll end up picking a font because it is bland and does not contradict the brand that either of your stakeholder groups are trying to build.

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Making fonts is expensive, so there aren't very many quality open-source fonts with a number of weights.

Given your requirements, besides Open Sans and Lato, Source Sans and Fira Sans are very good choices too.

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