4

They look exactly the same.

I looked around in Google's FAQ, but couldn't find anything about it.

Is there supposed to be a difference?

  • UPDATE: It looks to me like Noto Sans UI has gone away. I don't see it on the Google website. I do see a Noto Sans Display font, which is slightly narrower (horizontally) than Noto Sans itself; I suspect it is optimized for screens (rather than paper), but I don't really know. – Jon Coombs Apr 11 '18 at 20:07
5

Some simple google search gave me the Guidelines for using Noto, and in there you find:

For an Arabic website that needs to use an UI font for UI elements, such as buttons and tabs, that have more strict vertical space.

The design of Noto UI fonts are adjusted to be more vertically compact, a refinement made for user interface typography.

  • I had the same question. The linked page is helpful but not totally clear to me. I THINK what it's saying is that Noto Sans is best for websites and UI in general, but that Noto Sans UI is best for very vertically-compact UIs. I am designing a desktop app in English which needs to be localizable into Chinese etc., so to make sure I leave enough vertical space, I expect that Noto Sans or Noto Sans CJK is a better choice for me than Noto Sans UI. – Jon Coombs Apr 11 '18 at 19:28
1

The FAQ on Github has more information (currently missing from the website):

The UI fonts were initially prepared for use in Android’s UI. They have tighter vertical metrics, and some glyphs that would be clipped are redrawn to fit within the constrained space. They can be used anywhere that has limited vertical space. There are no UI verions of scripts that do not need such adjustment, and the non-UI versions should be preferred for use in body text.

So, use the UI version in places where it would look strange if the text were to extend beyond the boundaries of the UI element.

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